Diagnosis of a digestive tract disorder is crucial to accurate and effective treatment. No matter what digestive disorder you have, you will be asked about your digestive symptoms and medical history when you visit a gastroenterologist. In some cases, physical exams are also performed.
However, to be certain, in most cases, a gastroenterologist needs specific tests and procedures for accurate diagnosis.
Let’s talk about what types of diagnostic procedures are performed in gastroenterology and where you can go in Ohio for advanced gastro care.
Common Diagnostic Procedures Performed in Gastroenterology
Here are a few most common diagnostic procedures your gastroenterologist may perform.
As the name indicates, colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows your gastroenterologist to view your colon. A colonoscopy helps find abnormal growths, ulcers, bleeding, and inflamed tissues in the colon.
During a colonoscopy, a colonoscope – a thin, long, and flexible tube with a light on it – is inserted into your rectum and moved up into your colon. This allows your gastroenterologist to see the lining of the colon and remove the colon tissues for further testing. A colonoscopy is an effective diagnostic and screening tool and can also be used to treat many digestive tract problems.
As a diagnostic procedure, flexible sigmoidoscopy examines the lining of your rectum and the bottom part of your colon, which is also named sigmoid or descending colon. Flexible sigmoidoscopy identifies the cause of your abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, ulcer, inflammation, and changes in bowel habits. Your gastroenterologist may also use sigmoidoscopy to see the early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum, such as polyps.
During a sigmoidoscopy, your gastroenterologist inserts a sigmoidoscope – a short, thin, flexible, and lighted tube – in your rectum, which slowly goes into your colon. Then, the air is blown into your colon through the scope to inflate it for a better view. The scope transmits the images of the inside of your colon onto a computer screen, allowing your gastroenterologist to examine the lining of your colon.
Your gastroenterologist may also use an instrument with a sigmoidoscope that helps remove a tissue sample for further study.
Anorectal manometry helps your gastroenterologist evaluate bowel function in patients with fecal incontinence (stool leakage) and constipation. Anorectal manometry determines the strength of the muscles in your anus and rectum and measures the sensations of stooling in the rectum.
During the procedure, your gastroenterologist inserts a small, thin, and flexible tube with a balloon at one end into your rectum. A machine measuring the pressure is also connected to this tube/catheter. The balloon is inflated to evaluate the normal reflex pathways while you squeeze, relax, and push at various intervals.
Upper Endoscopy (EGD)
Upper endoscopy, also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) allows your gastroenterologist to examine the inside of your upper GIT (gastrointestinal tract) – esophagus, stomach, and duodenum – with the help of an endoscope. EGD help make your doctor a diagnosis and evaluate your symptoms like nausea, indigestion, reflux, vomiting, abdominal pain, bleeding, and difficulty swallowing.
During the procedure, the gastroenterologist inserts an endoscope down your throat while you are asleep under the effect of sedatives. The endoscope provides images of the internal lining of your upper GIT tract that helps gastroenterologists see inflammation, bleeding, and other symptoms that usually don’t appear on X-rays. For a clearer view, air may be blown into your stomach with the help of an endoscope.
A tissue sample can also be taken with the help of an instrument attached to the endoscope.
Capsule endoscopy is used to examine the parts of your digestive tract, such as the small intestine, that aren’t reachable with an endoscope. During the procedure, a small capsule containing a tiny camera is ingested that takes several pictures of the inside of your digestive tract to help your doctor view your tract.
Diagnostic Procedures at North Shore Gastroenterology
If you have symptoms of a digestive tract problem and seek expert care, look no further than our board-certified gastroenterologists at North Shore Gastroenterology. Our trusted and skilled gastroenterologists perform various diagnostic lab tests, imaging tests, and procedures to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.
We look forward to helping you!