Heartburn

It is the sensation of heat or burning in the pit of the stomach that is produced by the increase in the acid content in the stomach as a result of multiple factors. To establish the origin and severity of heartburn it is necessary to undergo an upper endoscopy to determine the diagnosis as well as the proper treatment for each patient.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

It’s the burning sensation in the chest that results when the acidic contents of the stomach leak backwards into the esophagus. The intensity of the disease varies, depending on the cause. An endoscopy is necessary to determine the cause or diagnosis of the origin of the reflux and direct the treatment properly. The vast majority of reflux cases are resolved with medical treatment.

Gastritis

It is the inflammation or irritation of the lining of the stomach. It presents itself as a burning sensation in the “pit of the stomach” together with inflammation or stiffness, and in some cases nausea and vomit. An endoscopic procedure is necessary to determine the origin of the damage in the stomach, which can result from a variety of conditions including erosions, ulcers, tumors or cancerous lesions, to provide the appropriate treatment and work toward the recovery of the patient.

Colitis

It typically manifests itself as pain similar to that of a cramp, normally surrounding the navel or belly button, together with inflammation or stiffness in the abdomen and constipation or diarrhea.

Diverticulosis

Name given to the presence of deformities in the form of pouches that develop in the walls of the colon or large intestine, commonly as a consequence of chronic constipation. The symptoms generally include pain and inflammation in the lower half of the abdomen, usually accompanied by constipation, and can be confused with colitis symptoms. These deformities can present severe complications, including inflammation, hemorrhage, and even perforation of the intestine walls, which can call for hospital use and surgery.

Gastric ulcers

Describes the presence of wounds or lesions in the surface of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum (initial segment of the small intestine) that present themselves with intense pain or burning sensation in the stomach, which generally decreases after eating. Because these ulcers can be a precursor to a cancerous tumor, it is necessary to undergo an upper GI endoscopy to evaluate the size and degree of the ulcer or multiple ulcers, taking biopsies or tissue samples for examination under the microscope. Ulcers can be resolved with medical treatment.

Barrett’s esophagus

This describes and alteration in the lower third of the esophagus that results as a consequence of acid reflux disease. The damage to the esophagus is observed with an upper GI endoscopy, and biopsies or tissue samples are taken for examination under the microscope. This examination can reveal an alteration to cellular structure called Barrett’s Esophagus, where the tissue belonging to the esophagus now resembles tissue found in the small intestine. This is considered a precursor to potential esophageal cancer. It is important that a patient with Barrett’s esophagus has a long-term follow up and, in some cases, that the tissue is removed via endoscopy.

Esophageal varices

It is the name given to the pretense of dilated veins in the lower half of the esophagus. An increase in the pressure going through the veins can lead to thinning and result in major hemorrhage or bleeding that can endanger the patient’s life. The majority of the cases of esophageal varices are a result of a change in the circulation of blood in the liver. The ideal method to treat varices that are actively bleeding is to apply medical grade rubber bands through endoscopy to compress the veins and stop the bleeding. It is necessary to repeat the application of rubber bands in multiple sessions until the esophageal varices have vanished. This procedure lowers the mortality risk of the patient, as well as the need for blood transfusions.

Gastric varices

Gastric varicose veins refers to the presence of very dilated veins in the superior portion of the stomach that have the potential to result in important bleeding that can place the patient’s life in danger. Generally they are a consequence of liver disease as is hepatic cirrhosis. When these dilated veins do bleed, it is necessary to control the bleeding by means of an endoscopic procedure in order to administer substances that help in controlling the bleeding. In addition to reducing the patient’s risk, this avoids the need for blood transfusions and reduces hospital stays.

Thoracic pain of non-cardiac origin

This is intense chest pain accompanied by a sensation of tightness or pressure, similar to the sensation felt during a heart attack. The primary cause of this group of symptoms is acid reflux, and can only be told apart from a heart attack with an electrocardiogram (ECG). If the ECG displays normal results, the problem can be attributed to the digestive system. In this case, an endoscopic procedure is an important tool to diagnose the specific cause of digestive disease and provide the proper treatment.

Difficulty swallowing

Also known as dysphagia, it describes difficulty or complete inability to swallow food from the esophagus to the stomach. The most frequent cause of this condition is the inflammation of the esophagus due to the return of acid from the stomach. Other causes of dysphagia include stenosis and tumors. Dysphagia is resolved according to its specific origin, and can include medical treatment, esophageal dilation, or placement of stent or prothesis via endoscopy.

Achalasia

It is manifested as the inability to swallow food from the esophagus to the stomach, usually with the presence of nausea and frequent vomiting, weight loss, and malnutrition. The specific cause is not well defined but is attributed to the valve-like muscle at the end of the esophagus, which does not relax to allow the food to be emptied into the stomach. This condition can be resolved through surgery. However, an endoscopic procedure can also provide a solution that may result in less discomfort and reduced hospital stay. In it, a medical-grade balloon is introduced via the endoscope to expand the affected area, completing in one or multiple sessions the complete dilation of the affected muscle.

Digestive Hemorrhage

Digestive hemorrhage is first seen as the presence of blood in vomit or in stools, depending on the site of origin of the bleeding.
The most frequent causes of gastric bleeding include gastric ulcers or varicose veins in the esophagus. Depending on the severity of the bleeding, this might place the patient’s life at risk. An endoscopic procedure done to stop hemorrhage reduces the patient’s risk and helps avoid blood transfusions and reduce length of hospital stay.

Inflammatory colon conditions

Their cause is still unclear. These conditions cause an immune reaction in which the body detects different parts of the digestive tract, depending on the condition, as foreign. The intestine presents an inflammatory reaction seen in the internal walls as swelling, as well as in ulcers with high risk of bleeding. Symptoms include frequent diarrhea, which might include mucous and fresh blood, weight loss, and anemia. If the conditions continue in their progress, they may result in colon cancer.

Colon polyps

A colon polyp resembles a wart that has formed in the interior of the color or large intestine. In most cases, polyps do not bring forth any symptoms. However, as the polyp grows it begins to degenerate into cancerous tissue, and eventually low levels of blood start to be manifested in stool occasionally. It is common to confuse these small signs of bleeding during the initial stages of polyps with some type of anal fissure or hemorrhoid, and patients will frequently try to solve the problem with over-the-counter medications without giving it much importance. In this cases, this allows the lesion to continue its growth, increasing the risk to the patient.

Hemorrhoids

The term hemorrhoids describes the presence of blood vessels or dilated veins in the mucous and skin surrounding the anus. Their presence commonly cause itching, pain, swelling, and bleeding. The majority of the cases occur to people that are chronically constipated.

Stones in bile ducts

Stones formed in the gallbladder can move into the duct that normally transports bile from the liver to the intestine. This condition is normally accompanied by pain that resembles a cramp right under the ribs on the right side, itching spread throughout the body, and the skin begins to turn yellow because of the increased collection of bile in the body.

Pseudocyst in pancreas

It is common for fluid that results from inflammatory response to build up around the pancreas after a case of acute pancreatitis. These collections of fluid are called ‘pseudocysts’ and cause persistent pain in the pit of the stomach, nausea, vomit, and can present jaundice (yellow coloration of the skin and sclera, the white part of the eye). When these collections of fluid grow or become infected, they can generate increase in pain, fever, and loss of appetite.

Infection due to Helicobacter Pylori

English | Español More than just an infection. What exactly is Helicobacter Pylori? H. Pylori is a spiral shaped bacterium, identified first in 1980, that requires a highly acidic environment to live. Its mode of transmission is oral. Infection with H. Pylori is common. It is estimated that two-thirds of the world’s adult population is…