Patient Information

Gastrointestinal diseases affect close to 100 million Americans each year.  These disorders range in cause from genetic, nutritional, and lifestyle.  Typically gastrointestinal diseases are considered to be related to the digestive system.

The Digestive System

The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract—a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus—and other organs that help the body break down and absorb food.

Organs that make up the digestive tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine—also called the colon—rectum, and anus.  The liver and the pancreas, produce digestive juices that reach the intestine through small tubes called ducts. The gallbladder stores the liver’s digestive juices until they are needed in the intestine.

Gastrointestinal and Liver Disorders

Some of diseases and disorders that affect the gastrointestinal and digestive system include:

  • Appendicitis:  is swelling (inflammation) of the appendix. The appendix is a small pouch attached to the beginning of your large intestine.
  • Barrett’s Esophagus:  a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) is damaged by stomach acid and changed to a lining similar to that of the stomach.
  • Celiac Disease:  a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy.
  • Crohn’s Disease:  also known as regional enteritis, is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus, causing a wide variety of symptoms
  • Gastritis:  occurs when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed or swollen. Gastritis can last for only a short time (acute gastritis), or linger for months to years (chronic gastritis).
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) / Heartburn:  a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).
  • Helicobacter Pylori:  is a Gram- negative, microaerophilic bacterium found in the stomach.  H. pylori bacteria can cause digestive illnesses, including gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.
  • Ulcerative Colitis:  is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
  • Pancreatitis:  is inflammation of the pancreas which requires immediate medical attention.
  • Liver Disease:  is an umbrella term referring to damage to or disease of the liver.
  • Hepatitis C:  is a viral disease leading to swelling an inflammation of the liver.

 

Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders

At UAB, we are able to use the most current diagnostic and treatment procedures when treating gastroenterological and liver related ailments.

We also utilize the services of the expert physicians in the UAB Liver Center, the Pancreatiobiliary Center, and the EUS program to accurately diagnose and treat these disorders.