Colonoscopy is a test in which your physician passes a thin flexible optical tube through the back passage to have a look at the lining of the colon. Prior to the test, strong laxatives are given to clean the colon and allow optimal visualisation.
The test usually takes 30-45 minutes and depending on the indication, biopsies and polyp removal may be performed during the test. Patients are often consented and informed about the risks and benefits of the test. The procedure is undertaken in a hospital setting and patients can go home on the same day.
Gastroscopy is an endoscopic procedure into the stomach. This test uses a thin flexible tube called an endoscope, to examine the inner lining of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and small bowel (duodenum).
The test requires individuals to follow fasting instructions prior to allow better visualisation of the lining of the gut. Sedatives can be offered to help patients relax during the test. Patients can go home after the test and would not be required to stay in hospital overnight.
Similar to a colonoscope, sigmoidoscopy is a test in which the doctor passes a thin flexible tube through the back passage to have a look at the lining of the large bowel (colon) however this test is limited to the left side of your intestine, shorter in duration and in some centres can be done with limited bowel preparation.
Capsule endoscopy has revolutionised the way we image the bowel. Equivalent to the size of a pill, capsule endoscopy is a wireless based method that captures images of the inside of the bowel, in particular areas of the small intestine which may not be accessible by traditional endoscopes.
If considered the appropriate test, your doctor will assess whether the test will be appropriate for you.
BRAVO pH testing is a novel way of measuring acid reflux activity over a 48 hour period allowing individuals to continue with their normal daily activities during testing.
The BRAVO capsule is fitted endoscopically in the lower oesophagus and wirelessly monitors the acid activity within the gullet. BRAVO has transformed our practice and gives patients the freedom to continue with daily routines uninterrupted.
Stretta is a state of the art minimally invasive endoscopic procedure to treat gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and considered in individuals who may not wish to undergo surgery for their symptoms and find little benefit from medications.
The procedure involves sending radiofrequency energy to the lower oesophagus (gullet), strengthening the muscles surrounding the lower oesophagus. Your Gastroenterologist should be consulted to obtain further information.
Gastromedicalsolutions LLP specialises in the full spectrum of gastrointestinal conditions. From diagnosis to management and treatment.
We offer the latest endoscopic procedures and treatments, alongside the latest evidence based clinical management for your gastrointestinal condition.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the large intestine and occurs 1 in 420 people in the UK. Diarrhoea with blood is the most common presentation and treatments are usually given to treat the flares and keep the condition in remission.
In some individuals, there is a small increased risk of developing colorectal cancer and regular surveillance colonoscopy is recommended. Regular follow up with your Gastroenterologist is recommended to monitor progress.
Crohn’s Disease (CD) affects around 1 in every 650 people. It is a chronic relapsing remitting inflammatory condition of the intestine and often occurs in patches with deep ulceration and scarring. It can affect anywhere from mouth to anus but often involves the small and/or large intestine. Presentation varies but can include tummy pain, weight loss and/or diarrhoea.
Although, there is no cure for this illness, your Gastroenterologist can offer treatments to help control inflammation and heal the lining of your gut to provide symptomatic relief.
Colon cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK and more than 80% are diagnosed in people aged 60 or over (Cancer Research UK).
If detected early, colon cancer can be cured and the UK now has a well-established colon cancer screening programme for the UK. Consult your doctor for further information.
A Diverticulosis is a condition where small pouches develop within the gut and can affect any part of the bowel but usually affects the colon. Diverticula are common in older people and upto 50% have diverticulae by 80 years age. Most people have no symptoms with diverticular disease.
Those who are diagnosed with the condition are usually advised to have a high-fibre diet. Sometimes diverticula can become inflamed and cause tummy (abdominal) pain, bleeding from the back passage, fever and antibiotics may be required. It is advisable to seek early medical advice if these symptoms develop.
Colon polyps are non-cancerous (benign) growths in the intestine. They are common and affect 1 in 5 individuals. They usually do not cause symptoms and identified when patients undergo bowel investigations or via the UK bowel cancer screening programme.
Once identified, polyps are usually removed at endoscopy as some types of polyps can become cancerous (1 in 10) if left untreated over time.
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a germ (bacterium) that resides in the lining of the stomach and/or first part of the small intestine (duodenum). It is common and is present in almost half of the world’s population, in particular the developing world.
In most people H pylori does not cause any problems and/or symptoms but in some individuals it can cause stomach and/or duodenal ulcers. People who present with symptoms of an ulcer are routinely tested for H-pylori and given antibiotics if tested positive
In order to protect its own lining from acid erosion, the stomach produces a mucous layer. In some people, the mucous barrier is breached and this can result in damage to the lining of the stomach, also known as an ulcer.
Medications such as anti-inflammatory tablets, H-pylori infection are common culprits. Symptoms include tummy pain which may occur with meals and may worsen with food intake. It can also be associated with nausea and/or vomiting. It is advisable to see your Gastroenterologist if you develop these symptoms.
Similar to gastric ulcer, some people can develop ulcers in the duodenum. Medications such as anti-inflammatory tablets, H-pylori infection are common culprits.
Symptoms include tummy pain which may occur before meals and may ease with food intake. It can also be associated with nausea and/or vomiting. It is advisable to see your Gastroenterologist if you develop these symptoms.
Anaemia occurs when the red cells lose their oxygen carrying capacity, either due to a low number of red cells or a low haemoglobin. Symptoms related to anaemia include lethargy, dizziness, weakness and/or shortness of breath.
There are several causes to anaemia however the most common cause is iron deficiency. Post-menopausal women and males of any age with iron deficient anaemia should be investigated further to identify the cause and this may involve endoscopy.
Haemorrhoids are swellings that contain blood vessels and are found inside or outside the anal canal (back passage). In some individuals they can cause fresh bright red bleeding on defecation and/or a ‘lump’ sensation around their anus.
Haemorrhoids can often settle with no treatment but in some individuals they may be troublesome and require topical therapy or endoscopic banding +/- surgery in severe cases. Having a balanced healthy diet, high fibre and fluid intake along, avoiding constipation and straining can help prevent haemorrhoids.
GORD is a common condition where there is backward flow of the stomach contents in to the ‘food pipe’ (also known as gullet or oesophagus). This often results in heartburn and associated nausea and/or vomiting.
Certain foods and lifestyle choices can exacerbate symptoms and include alcohol, caffeinated drinks and smoking. In some individuals, symptoms persist despite over the counter antacids and require a specialist opinion, especially if difficulty swallowing, weight loss and/or persistent vomiting occur.
Gallstones are stones that form within your gallbladder. They are more common in women and the risk increases with age. In most cases, gallstones can go unnoticed however they can migrate to the duct that drains bile and cause intense abdominal pain which often occurs with meals (biliary colic).
Some people can develop inflammation of their gallbladder as result of gallstones, also known as cholecystitis which can cause pain, jaundice and fever. In other situations, these stones can block the bile duct and cause jaundice, fever, pain and may also cause inflammation of the pancreas, an organ in close proximity to the gallbladder. If such symptoms do occur, urgent medical attention is advised.
Barrett’s oesophagus is a condition where the cells that line the gullet become abnormal. This often occurs in patients with GORD where the gullet has been exposed to prolonged acid reflux. Although the lining is not cancerous, there is a risk of developing cancer within this region over time.
Patients with Barretts oesophagus are often on antacid medications and may be advised to undergo regular endoscopic surveillance of their Barrett’s oesophagus.
Oesophageal cancer can occur anywhere within the length of the gullet but often occurs at the stomach junction. Individuals with oesophageal cancer can present with symptoms of difficulty swallowing, vomiting, weight loss, anaemia. Its diagnosis is confirmed by performing a gastroscopy (upper GI endoscopy).
Treatments for oesophageal cancer vary depending of the size, location and extent of the cancer and symptoms can also help direct therapy. Options for therapy can include, surgery, endoscopic therapy, chemo and radiotherapy.
Achalasia is a disorder of the oesophagus. It causes abnormal oesophageal contractions and a failure of the lower oesophageal sphincter to relax when eating. This results in food stasis within the oesophagus and often causes nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
Achalasia is uncommon but more likely with increasing age. Medical and surgical treatments are available and it is advisable to seek medical advice.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease which affects 1 in 100 individuals in the UK. Gluten exposure in these individuals results in inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine and poor absorption of dietary nutrients such as iron, vitamins and calcium.
Symptoms can include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weight loss and/or lethargy. A screening blood test can help physicians know whether coeliac disease is likely in an individual however the ‘gold standard’ test is endoscopy (gastroscopy) and obtaining a biopsy from the small bowel to confirm the diagnosis.
IBS is a common long term condition of the gut which results in bouts of diarrhoea and/or constipation and associated bloating and abdominal pain. Common triggers include stress and diet.
Although there is no cure to IBS, medications, dietary modifications and psychological interventions can be considered based on the predominant symptoms.
Rectal bleeding is noticed as bright red blood on toilet paper or as droplets when defecating. It indicates blood loss from lower end of your bowel and typically due to haemorrhoids or a tear in the lining of your anus (fissure).
In some individuals and especially with increasing age (over 50 years), persistent rectal bleeding needs to be investigated to rule out sinister causes such as cancer. Your physician may consider endoscopy and/or treatments depending on the cause of your rectal bleeding.