Gastrointestinal diseases vary from mildly annoying forms of indigestion to life-threatening emergencies with numerous variations in-between. If you’re experiencing symptoms caused by digestive problems, the highly experienced doctors at Flagstaff Surgical Associates in Flagstaff, Arizona, can help. They provide a range of effective treatments for a wide range of gastrointestinal diseases using the least invasive, most up-to-date medical and surgical approaches, including minimally invasive robotic surgery. Call Flagstaff Surgical Associates today to find out more or make an appointment online.

What are gastrointestinal diseases?

Gastrointestinal diseases are conditions that affect your digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Digestion is the process your body performs when you eat. Your food breaks down during digestion into its constituent parts, such as fiber, protein, fat, and carbohydrate, as well as micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. You need these substances to give you energy and ensure healthy functioning of all your organs and tissues.

Breaking down food this way requires a healthy digestive system that can efficiently extract everything valuable from your diet and process what’s left over. Your GI tract consists of your:

  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Large intestine
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Anus

Organs like the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder also play vital roles in the digestive process.

Gastrointestinal diseases can affect any of these parts that make up your digestive system, meaning there are numerous different types of gastrointestinal disorders.

What are the symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases?

Gastrointestinal diseases can cause a variety of different symptoms. One of the most common is abdominal pain or stomach ache. Other symptoms gastrointestinal diseases are likely to cause include:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Incontinence
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Problems swallowing
  • Weight loss or gain

Some gastrointestinal diseases cause only mild symptoms, but others can cause excruciating acute pain or chronic discomfort.

What kinds of gastrointestinal diseases are there?

Common types of gastrointestinal diseases include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Esophagitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Gastritis
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Food intolerances
  • Gallstones
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Malabsorption
  • Cancer

Finding the cause of your symptoms is vital to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment. You might need to have blood tests, provide a stool sample, undergo imaging scans, or have an endoscopy or colonoscopy.

How are gastrointestinal diseases treated?

Treatment of gastrointestinal diseases depends on their cause and can vary hugely. For instance, making lifestyle changes like eating more fiber, getting more exercise, and drinking more water can restore healthy bowel function if you have constipation, whereas, for gallbladder disease, you might require surgery to remove the gallbladder.

Wherever possible, the approach to treating gastrointestinal diseases starts with a conservative treatment program, involving dietary changes, intolerance testing, and medication.

If your condition requires surgery, Flagstaff Surgical Associates excels in carrying out advanced procedures like:

  • Nissen fundoplication for GERD
  • Ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA)
  • Total mesorectal excision (TME)

Many of the surgeries for gastrointestinal diseases at Flagstaff Surgical Associates use the state-of-the-art da Vinci® robot-assisted surgical system.

The da Vinci robot enables your surgeon to perform complex, minimally invasive surgical procedures with greater dexterity, resulting in minimal tissue damage and the utmost degree of precision.

If you have symptoms of gastrointestinal disease, call Flagstaff Surgical Associates today or book an appointment online.