Digestive Health

Digestive Health

Comprehensive Care, Ground-Breaking Treatments

A healthy digestive system is essential for the body to function properly. Baptist Health offers gastrointestinal services, including endoscopy, to help doctors diagnose and treat digestive issues. We treat everything from ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome to colorectal and stomach cancers. In addition, we offer the breakthrough Medtronic Barrx Radiofrequency ablation procedure, which treats Barrett’s Esophagus and reduces your risk of esophageal cancer. Baptist Health was also the first in the state to utilize electrohydraulic lithotripsy (EHL) to break up gallstones in the bile duct and ERBEJET 2, which is a new dimension in hydrosurgery that allows for precise, selective tissue separation gently by waterjet. Blood vessels and nerves remain intact up to a certain pressure. The ERBEJET 2 dissects sharply and precisely with minimal trauma to structures such as vessels, nerves and ducts.

Gastroenterology Treatment

Our gastroenterologists provide treatment options for a wide range of digestive disorders, including:

  • Dietary sensitivities such as celiac disease and lactose intolerance
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus
  • Gastrointestinal viruses, infections and general discomfort
  • H. pylori and ulcers
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and diverticular disease
  • Stomach, esophageal and colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer among other issues can easily be detected by getting a referral through a primary care physician and scheduling an appointment with a gastroenterologist. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, colorectal cancer is the number 2 cancer killer in the United States. It is also one of the most preventable. If you are over the age of 45, don’t wait to get your screening. If you have a first degree relative with colon polyps or cancer, you are at a higher risk for colon cancer. Ask your primary care physician about a colonoscopy, check with your insurance, or get a referral through one of our providers today! 

Frequently Asked Questions

A colonoscopy is a procedure used by a physician, typically a gastroenterologist, to examine the colon. During the process, the doctor will look for possible GI disorders such as colon polyps, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, bleeding, and other conditions. This technique allows the physician to take images of anything abnormal and remove lesions during the same examination.

If you’re 45 or older, talk to your primary care provider and check with your insurance provider about getting screened for colon cancer. It is recommended that after age 45 this screening be conducted every 10 years. If polyps are found during your first examination, you should get a screening every 3 years. 

If you have family history of colon cancer or polyps in a first-degree relative, it is recommended that you should have your first colon exam at either age 40 or 10 years younger than the age of your relative’s diagnosis. Exams should be repeated every 5 years after the first exam.

It also does not matter based on gender. Your lifetime risk (defined as life to 85 years old) is approximately 6% male or female, according to the American College of Gastroenterology

A clean colon is essential for the physician to do an accurate examination for polyps or other abnormalities. The most popular Colonoscopy preparation method used involves drinking polyethylene glycol (PEG). It is odorless, tasteless, and is mixed with certain clear liquids. PEG is to be drank along with other clear liquids the day before the scheduled procedure. Doctors will often times prescribe a laxative pill for the patient to take before going to bed the night before. 

Your physician will discuss with you your options and advise the best preparation method for you. 

To schedule a colonoscopy, you should speak to your primary care physician and insurance provider. Start the conversation with your doctor today to get an appointment with one of the Baptist Health gastroenterologists. If you do not have a primary care provider, request an appointment with one of ours!

To learn more about colonoscopies and colorectal cancer prevention, read Colorectal Cancer Q&A by Baptist Health gastroenterologist Dr. Paul Williams.