Dr. St. Claire is trained to provide care for a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders. He has a great deal of experience performing diagnostic procedures in order to evaluate the condition of the gastrointestinal tract. We always strive to provide our patients with the most advanced treatments available to restore their health and quality of life.
Some of the most prevalent conditions of the digestive system we treat are:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the intestines in which the muscles function abnormally. The cause of IBS is not known, though it is believed that some people have extra-sensitive bowel muscles that contract or stretch too much. The disorder is most common in females and people under age 35.
The main symptoms of IBS include:
Since these symptoms are characteristic of many other disorders, diagnosing IBS is often difficult. Doctors may consider an IBS diagnosis for symptoms that have remained the same over a long period of time. A lower gastrointestinal series, colonoscopy or blood test may be administered to confirm the diagnosis.
There is no cure for IBS, but life changes are often effective in relieving symptoms. Avoiding foods that trigger reactions, managing stress and getting regular exercise can help manage IBS. Medications like laxatives, antispasmodics and antidepressants are also useful.
Blood in the Stool
Bleeding in the digestive tract is a symptom that can be indicative of several different diseases, some of which are life-threatening. Many cases of bleeding are a result of ulcers or hemorrhoids, which can be cured easily, but still require prompt treatment.
The digestive tract includes the esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum and anus, and bleeding can occur in any of these areas. Depending on the location of the bleeding, some people may not even notice it, while others may experience bloody stools or vomit, as well as dizziness, faintness, shortness of breath or cramping. Other symptoms may be present as well depending on the underlying cause.
Diarrhea involves having bowel movements that are watery and loose at least three times in a day. It may also cause a sense of urgency, cramps and stomach upset. Diarrhea can be brought on by bacteria, parasites, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, medication or food intolerances. In most cases, diarrhea is not a long-lasting or serious condition. However, if it lingers for more than three days, is accompanied by a fever or severe abdominal pain or you notice blood in your stool, it is important to visit your doctor for an examination.
Constipation is a common condition that involves infrequent or hard bowel movements that may occur as a result of insufficient fluid consumption or a diet that does not contain enough fiber. Depending on how often you normally have a bowel movement will determine what is considered to be “infrequent” for each individual patient, but is usually defined as fewer than three stools a week. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes or other conditions may be at an increased risk of experiencing constipation.
Although constipation is not usually a serious condition, it can lead to complications such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fecal impaction or rectal prolapse. It is important to seek prompt medical attention for persistent constipation.
Most cases of constipation are temporary and can be resolved through changes in diet and fluid consumption or increasing physical activity. Some patients may require medications, such as over-the-counter laxatives, to help treat constipation and encourage bowel movements. Your doctor will inform you on how to prevent constipation and keep stools from accumulating in the future through healthy bowel habits.
Nausea & Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms that may be caused by a number of conditions. Some of these conditions include acute gastritis, signals from the brain, reaction from medication, obstruction of the bowel or another unrelated illness.
Acute gastritis is the most common cause of nausea and vomiting and is characterized by an inflammation of the stomach. Inflammation can be caused by an infection, stomach flu, food poisoning, peptic ulcer disease or other stomach irritants.
Relieving nausea and vomiting is usually done by treating the underlying cause of the symptoms. Resting the stomach by only consuming clear liquids can help ease the stomach back to a healthy state.
Contact our office to learn more about Digestive Disorders or to make an appointment.