UAB Medicine

Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Overview

Few conditions cause more common misery than stomach aches, constipation, reflux and hemorrhoids. In America, 60 to 70 million people suffer from digestive diseases, and these account for 13% of all hospitalizations. While many gastrointestinal (GI) conditions pose minor inconveniences, others are serious and deadly diseases. To treat them requires experienced physicians such as those at the UAB Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Gastroenterologists treat conditions related to the digestive system: from the esophagus to the anus, and all of the many yards of intestines in between. Food travels from the mouth down through a system of specialized hollow organs which form a long, twisting tube ending at the anus. The organs include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum. Common conditions treated include difficulty swallowing, heartburn, constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gaseousness/bloating. More serious conditions may include ulcers, pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, liver diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, polyps, and cancer.

Other organs contribute digestive juices to help the body break down food so it can be used for energy. The liver and pancreas utilize tubes called ducts to deliver digestive juices to the small intestine to promote digestion and absorption of an ingested meal. The gallbladder stores bile produced in the liver, and following a meal the gallbladder contracts to deliver bile to the small intestine to promote fat absorption.

Physicians who treat conditions of the liver are called hepatologists; this comes from the Greek root word hepar which means liver. Conditions treated by hepatologists include acute and chronic viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, and a wide-array of other diseases of the liver. Chronic hepatitis C affects approximately 3 million Americans and chronic hepatitis B accounts for persistent infection in more than 170 million people worldwide and is a major cause of liver cancer. For patients with severe liver disease, the UAB Liver Transplant Program ranks among the busiest and best in the nation.

Diseases and Conditions We Treat:

  • Esophageal Disorders
    • Achalasia
    • Barrett’s esophagus
    • Dysphagia
    • Disorders of swallowing
    • Esophageal dysmotility/spasm
    • Esophageal varices
    • Esophagitis
    • Eosinophilic esophagitis
    • GERD
    • Heartburn/hiatal hernia
    • Hiccups
  • Stomach disorders
    • Bloating
    • Cyclic vomiting syndrome
    • Dyspepsia
    • Feeding disorders
    • Gas
    • Gastritis
    • Gastric varices
    • Gastroparesis
    • Helicobacter pylori
    • Malnutrition
    • Upper abdominal pain
    • Ulcers
  • Small intestine disorders
    • Bacterial overgrowth
    • Celiac disease
    • Dysmotility
    • Diarrhea
    • Duodenal ulcers
    • Duodenitis
    • Duodenal diverticula
    • GI bleeding
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Intestinal dysmotility
    • Ileus
    • Intestinal pseudoobstruction
    • Lactose intolerance
    • Malabsorption/maldigestion
    • Meckel’s diverticulum
    • Mesenteric panniculitis
    • Mesenteric ischemia
    • Radiation enteritis
    • Stoma problems
    • Small bowel obstruction
    • Whipple’s disease
  • Disorders of the colon
    • Clostridium difficile
    • Colon polyps
    • Constipation
    • Crohns disease
    • Colitis
    • Dysmotility
    • Diarrhea
    • Diverticulosis/diverticulitis
    • Functional GI disorders
    • Inflammatory bowel Disease
    • Megacolon
    • Polyposis syndromes (FAP, NPCC, Juvenile polyposis, Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome)
    • Proctitis
    • Pouchitis
    • Rectal ulcers
    • Ulcerative colitis
  • Anorectal disorders
    • Anal fissures
    • Anal stenosis
    • Hemorrhoids
    • Proctalgia
    • Pruritis ani
    • Prolapse
    • Rectal bleeding
  • Gallbladder and bile duct disorders
    • Bile duct stones
    • Biliary dyskinesia
    • Bile duct injury
    • Bile duct strictures
    • Cholangitis
    • Caroli’s disease
    • Gallbladder problems
    • Gallstones
    • Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction
  • Pancreatic disorders
    • Acute pancreatitis
    • Autoimmune pancreatitis
    • Chronic pancreatitis
    • IPMN
    • Pancreas divisum
    • Pancreatic stones
    • Pancreatic pseudocysts
  • Liver disorders
    • Alcoholic liver disease
    • Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
    • Amyloidosis
    • Ascites
    • Autoimmune liver disease
    • Caroli’s disease
    • Cholestatic liver diseases
    • Cystic liver diseases
    • Drug-induced liver diseases
    • Fatty liver disease (NAFLD/NASH)
    • FNH
    • Fulminant hepatic failure
    • Granulomatous liver disease
    • Hepatic encephalopathy
    • Portal hypertension problems
    • Primary biliary cirrhosis
    • Primary and secondary sclerosing cholangitis
    • Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
    • TIPS issues
    • Viral hepatitis A,B,C,D, and E
    • Wilson’s disease
  • Tumors of the GI tract
    • Anal cancer/Bowen’s disease/Paget’s disease
    • Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma)
    • Carcinoid tumors
    • Colon cancer
    • Desmoid tumors
    • Duodenal cancer
    • Esophageal tumors-benign and malignant
    • Gallbladder cancer and polyps
    • Gastric (stomach) cancer
    • GIST
    • Hepatocellular tumors/liver tumors
    • Lymphoma of the GI tract
    • Neuroendocrine tumors
    • Pancreatic cancer
    • Polyps
    • Small intestine cancer
    • Rectal cancer

 

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