Bowel disorders are any conditions that affect your intestines, specifically how your body digests and absorbs food. This can cause uncomfortable and often unpredictable symptoms, and, left treated, may lead to serious health complications.
If you’re experiencing any persistent stomach problems — bloating, nausea, diarrhea, constipation — don’t suffer any longer. The digestive health experts at Central Maine Healthcare can identify the problem and provide the care and support you need to take control of your digestive health.
Expert Care for Lasting Relief
The GI doctors at Central Maine specialize in treating all types of bowel disorders, including:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Found in both the large and small intestine, IBS can difficult to spot because everyone experiences the symptoms once in a while: stomach pain, gas, bloating in the abdomen, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and vomiting. In more serious cases you might see blood in your stool, fever or weight loss.
But with new national, standard criteria, we can now diagnose IBS faster and more effectively than ever:
- Abdominal pain three days a month, for the past three months;
- Change in the frequency of your bowel movements;
- Change in the consistency of your stool; and
- Symptoms improve after you have a bowel movement.
If those symptoms sound familiar, contact us for an official evaluation. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to track your bathroom habits before you see the doctor, who might also ask you to take a lactose intolerance test. Treatment for IBS usually is a program of medications with a healthy eating plan.
Crohn’s is actually an autoimmune disease, meaning your body attacks its own healthy factors. The exact cause isn’t known, but risk factors include smoking, an unhealthy diet and being of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
Our doctors diagnose Crohn’s disease with a blood test, CT or MRI scans, endoscopy or a combination. Symptoms usually can be tamed with medications and healthy food. If your immune system has damaged any healthy tissue, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the injured area.
Another autoimmune disease, Celiac is triggered by gluten, a protein found in some grains. If you’re diagnosed with Celiac disease, you’ll need to avoid eating wheat, rye and barley, plus oats unless they’re certified to be gluten-free. (Oats don’t contain gluten but they often are processed on the same equipment as other grains and can be contaminated that way.) Think of it as an allergy: if you eat grains containing gluten, you will likely get a physical reaction like you would with any other substance to which your body is sensitive. In this case, you risk injuring the inner lining of your small intestines.
Celiac disease is diagnosed with a blood test and sometimes a biopsy of your small intestine, collected with an endoscope – a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera to allow your doctor to see inside your body and remove tissue, if needed. Treatment is straightforward: you’ll be instructed to follow a strict gluten-free diet.
This disorder is just what the name implies: there is an obstruction of some kind in your intestines. It might be a hernia, or a blockage brought on by an injury. Whatever the cause, your intestines can’t process food or pass stool correctly. Treatment might involve a minimally invasive procedure to remove or bypass the obstruction.