As many as 10-15 percent of adult Americans suffer some form of gastrointestinal disorder, from mild heartburn or indigestion to more serious problems like ulcers, gallstones, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Because a multitude of conditions in the digestive tract share symptoms, they’re sometimes difficult to pinpoint to a specific cause. With Cochise Oncology’s comprehensive digestive diagnostics capabilities, you can get to the bottom of your digestive condition for faster, more effective treatment.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has become an umbrella term to encompass an array of digestive maladies, including bloating, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, indigestion, and constipation or diarrhea. Even mild versions of these can impact your quality of life significantly. Whether you’re suffering with acid related concerns like heartburn or GERD, ulcers, and indigestion, or something worse like gallstones that may require surgery, a quick and thorough diagnosis can get you on your way to treatment and feeling like yourself again.
A typical diagnostic journey begins with a thorough medical history and physical examination to determine your symptoms, lifestyle, dietary sensitivities, and the presentation of your particular ailment. This will help narrow down which testing may be further required.
These are the least invasive and can determine where your imbalances lie. These will include blood samples to test for things like anemia and other digestive chemical levels. A fecal occult blood test to determine the presence of blood in the stool may be helpful, as will a stool culture to determine bacterial makeup of your digestive system. If abnormal levels exist in either test, it can help determine which type of GI disorder you may be experiencing.
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Imaging tests go a step further to give your Cochise provider a view of the internal workings of your digestive tract.
A colorectal transit study shows the progress of food through the colon. It’s a simple test where the patient swallows capsules containing markers which are visible on an X-Ray. A high fiber diet is necessary for the duration of the test, and X-Rays are taken several times in the 3-7 days following the capsule ingestion.
Computed tomography scan is more commonly known as a CT or CAT scan. Scans are taken to make detailed images of the digestive system which are more detailed than X-Rays. The organs, fat, and other tissues are visible to aid in diagnosis.
Lower GI series, which is also known as a barium enema. This examines the rectum, large intestine, and the lower small intestine to show narrowing (strictures), obstructions, or other concerns with the elimination process.
MRI uses a combination of large magnets and radiofrequencies fed through a computer for extremely detailed images of the organs and tissues in the digestive system. It’s a painless test with no radiation exposure. Because of the magnets, however, patients must not have metal objects like pacemakers, metal clips or rods in the body, or be wearing any jewelry. A more specific MRI called Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) may be performed to view the bile ducts for blockages.
Oropharyngeal motility is a fancy term for a swallowing study. Small amounts of barium liquid are consumed to test the efficiency of swallowing and any potential problems that may be related.
Ultrasound employs high-frequency sound waves aimed at blood vessels, tissues, and organs to create a picture of the digestive tract. This test assesses circulation through various vessels and organs to determine if there are strictures or blockages.
Upper GI series examines organs in the upper digestive system, the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Barium illuminates the area on X-Rays.
These generally involve moving cameras through the various areas of the GI tract and they include an endoscopy (upper GI analysis), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to examine the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas, and colonoscopy to examine the length of the large intestine. These scans typically provide a visual field and access to biopsy any abnormalities that may be necessary.
For digestive diagnostic needs, Cochise Oncology has the technology and compassion to complete an array of tests with as little discomfort as possible, so you can begin to heal.
Are you ready to learn more about digestive diagnostics? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page. We look forward to meeting you!