Digestive health centers throughout the Wasatch Front
If you or a loved one find that coping with symptoms of a digestive disease is interfering with a comfortable lifestyle, we're here to help. The gastroenterologists at MountainStar Healthcare are experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide range of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. From acid reflux to colorectal cancer—we create an individualized treatment plan to restore your digestive health.
For more information about our gastroenterology services or for help finding a doctor, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line at (801) 715-4152.
GI conditions we treat
Our specialists treat a variety of GI conditions to ensure you receive the care that is right for you.
Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES, a valve between your esophagus and stomach) does not close all the way or opens too often. When this happens, stomach acid can escape, or “reflux,” into your esophagus. This acid causes heartburn and other symptoms related to acid reflux, like vomiting or the sensation of feeling like food is stuck in your throat.
When acids damage the stomach lining, the stomach lining can become inflamed, also known as the condition gastritis. The inflammation can be caused by a number of things, such as anti-inflammatory medications, tobacco use, alcohol use, trauma, critical illnesses, certain bacteria or autoimmune disorders.
GI bleeding is detected by blood in vomit or stool. GI bleeding can be scary, though the cause of the bleeding may not always be serious. You should always see a GI doctor if bleeding occurs. GI bleeding can be caused by many different problems. Some of the more common causes include cuts in the mouth, infection, hemorrhoids or inflammation in the GI tract.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
A gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is a rare cancer within the GI tract. In many cases, a GIST is caused by an abnormal gene that causes cells in the gut to multiply, growing the tumor. GISTs may run in families with a history of neurofibromatosis type 1 diagnoses.
Gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying, means the stomach takes longer to empty food contents. This is caused by a motility problem, or how the muscles move within the digestive tract. In most cases, gastroparesis is a lifelong condition, however, treatment options can prevent complications and relieve symptoms.
Lactose intolerance, the inability to digest the main sugar in dairy products, can usually be resolved by changing your diet or taking over-the-counter medication. Lactose intolerance should be diagnosed by a gastroenterologist to ensure the symptoms aren’t indicative of a more serious condition.
Peptic ulcers are caused by stomach acid breaking down the mucus lining of the stomach or esophagus. This can be due to anti-inflammatory drugs, acidic foods or alcohol consumption. If left untreated, peptic ulcers can create other medical issues. Patients undergoing treatment for peptic ulcers will need to avoid tobacco and alcohol use to help the body heal effectively.
Diagnosing GI conditions
Your gastroenterologist or gastrologist may suggest any of the following exams to diagnose your GI condition:
Colonoscopy is used to view the inside of your lower digestive tract (colon and rectum). It can help screen for colon cancer and help find the source of abdominal pain, bleeding and changes in bowel habits. The test is usually done in the hospital on an outpatient basis. During the exam, the doctor can remove a small tissue sample (a biopsy) for testing. Small growths, such as polyps, may also be removed during colonoscopy.
Lower GI endoscopy
During a lower GI endoscopy, a thin, flexible tube (called an endoscope) is used to view your lower GI tract. This can be done by performing a colonoscopy to view the colon and rectum or by performing a sigmoidoscopy to examine the rectum and sigmoid colon.
During a sigmoidoscopy, a thin, flexible tube is inserted to view the rectum and lower colon. This test is helpful for finding the source of abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits and rectal bleeding.
Upper GI endoscopy
In an upper GI endoscopy, your doctor uses an endoscope to view the upper GI tract—the esophagus, stomach and the first part of your small intestine.
Upper GI series
An upper GI series consists of an X-ray of your upper digestive tract. This test can be helpful for finding ulcers, tumors and certain diseases.
Surgery for GI conditions
If your doctor has confirmed a GI condition, one possible treatment option is surgery—most commonly after traditional methods, such as medication and lifestyle changes, have been unsuccessful.
When surgery is the recommended treatment, our doctors will work with you one-on-one to discuss the options for surgery, including the benefits and risks of each procedure. Our goal is to ensure you feel comfortable with your treatment and provide continued support, every step of the way.
Robotic surgery for GI conditions
When possible, we offer robotic surgery options to patients. This advanced robotic technology allows for increased precision during the procedure, resulting in many benefits for our gastroenterology patients.
These benefits include:
- Faster recovery
- Less postoperative pain
- Minimal scarring
- Precise removal of cancerous tissue
- Quicker return of:
- A normal diet
- Bowel function
- Urinary and sexual function
- Shorter hospital stay