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Gastroenterology — Conditions We Treat

The following conditions are some of the most common conditions treated by specialists in this area. These specialists offer expert care for many other related medical problems. If you need care for a condition not listed here, please call (888) 352-RUSH (7874) to find a doctor who can help you.

  • Abdominal pain, also called stomach pain or belly pain, is pain below the chest and above the groin. It is a symptom and not a condition.
  • Achalasia is a rare disorder of the esophagus that drastically limits your ability to move food and liquids through your esophagus to your stomach.
  • Most anal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that grow on the skin lining the inside of the anus. Anal cancer is rare and, if caught early, usually curable.
  • An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anus, or the lower part of the rectum, where stool passes out of the body.
  • Barrett’s esophagus is a change in the lining of the muscular tube that transports your food from the mouth to the stomach. In people who have Barrett’s, the tissue lining the esophagus becomes more like the tissue lining the small intestine.
  • Bile is a substance the  liver makes to help digest fat. Bile ducts carry it from the liver to the gallbladder and then, during digestion, to the small intestine. Bile duct cancer is rare, but the experienced doctors at Rush have expertise in treating it.
  • Blood in stool is a common symptom of hemorrhoids, anal fissures and many other conditions, including colorectal cancer. It can appear bright red, or it can turn stool black and tarry.
  • For people who have celiac disease, eating gluten causes the immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine. (Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.) The resulting damage can make it hard for the body to get enough nutrients from food.  
  • Colorectal cancer develops in the colon or rectum, two sections of the large intestine. Most colorectal cancers begin as polyps, or small lumps, that slowly turn into cancer over time.
  • Constipation is often defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three times a week. Other symptoms include hard stools, difficulty or straining when passing stools and pain during a bowel movement.
  • Adult and pediatric specialists at Rush treat conditions causing chronic cough, which lasts for weeks, affects quality of life and has many causes.
  • Crohn’s is a common type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which the immune system attacks the intestines or other parts of the digestive tract.
  • Diarrhea is when you pass loose, watery stools at least three times a day.
  • Diverticulosis is when you have pouches that bulge out from your colon. Diverticulitis is when the pouches get infected or inflamed.
  • Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing food, liquid or saliva. Many different nerves and muscles are involved in the process of chewing food transferring it from the mouth to the stomach, and any problem that affects this process can result in dysphagia.
  • Esophageal cancer is cancer of the esophagus, the tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach. Adenocarcinoma, the most common type of esophageal cancer in the United States, can result from gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus.
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis is an inherited condition that will lead to colon cancer if untreated. It is marked by abnormal benign growths, or polyps, in the colon (the large intestine) or rectum.  
  • Fecal incontinence, also called bowel incontinence or anal incontinence, is the inability to control bowel movements.
  • Fistulas are abnormal connections that form between an organ, vessel or intestine and another part of the body. While they sometimes close on their own, they often require treatment.
  • With food allergies, the body's immune system reacts to food as if it were a harmful substance, releasing chemicals that can cause hives, shortness of breath, tongue swelling and other symptoms.
  • Food sensitivities usually result from the digestive system’s reaction to enzymes or proteins in food. They are sometimes mistaken for food allergies.
  • The gallbladder stores bile, a substance the liver makes to help digest fat. The bile duct carries it from the liver to the gallbladder and then, during digestion, to the small intestine. Gallbladder cancer is rare, but the experienced doctors at Rush have expertise in treating it.
  • Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining.
  • When heartburn causes stomach acid to leak into the esophagus, it can damage the esophagus and lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • The average person passes gas at least 14 times each day, either through the mouth (burping) or through the anus (flatulence). Some gas comes from the air swallowed during eating or drinking; some gas is a byproduct of the process by which bacteria breaks down food in the large intestine.
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor

    Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is a tumor of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Not all GISTs are malignant (cancerous): Some GISTs are benign (noncancerous). GISTs that are cancerous are treated differently than other gastrointestinal cancers, so it is important for specialists to determine whether a tumor is a GIST.
  • Hemorrhoids are swollen veins near the anus or lower rectum.
  • Infiltrative Cardiomyopathies

    Infiltrative cardiomyopathies are acquired and inherited diseases characterized by the deposition of abnormal biological substances within the heart that can lead to cardiac dysfunction, arrhythmias or heart failure. Cardiomyopathies can cause the heart muscle to become larger or more rigid, which can make it harder for the heart to pump blood properly and maintain a normal rhythm. These diseases can result in symptoms of heart failure (breathlessness, lower extremity swelling, exercise intolerance, fatigue), as well as symptoms related to electrical disturbances (lightheadedness, palpitations, syncope), such as ventricular/atrial arrhythmias.comes.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the name for a group of gastrointestinal symptoms — such as abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea — that may have no clear cause.
  • Specialists at Rush's Voice, Airway and Swallowing Program have expertise treating laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), which is related to gastroesophagal reflux (GERD) and can cause such symptoms as persistent cough, hoarseness and difficulty swallowing.
  • Microscopic Colitis

    Microscopic colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There are two types of microscopic colitis: lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis. Both inflame the large intestine, usually causing watery diarrhea.
  • Nutritional Disorders

    Nutritional disorders are conditions caused by eating too many or two few of certain nutrients or by the inability of the body to absorb some nutrients. These conditions range from obesity and heart disease to rickets (lack of vitamin D) and goiter (lack of iodine).
  • The pancreas is an organ that helps the body digest food and use it as energy. The two main types of pancreatic cancer are exocrine pancreatic cancer, which is the most common, and endocrine pancreatic cancer.
  • Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Pelvic pain is pain that occurs in the lowest part of the abdomen, below the belly button. It is a symptom and not a disease.
  • Peptic ulcers are sores in the lining of your stomach or small intestine.
  • Pouchitis

    Pouchitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). When surgeons operate on someone with ulcerative colitis to remove the damaged part of the colon, they create a new pouch in the intestine. When the lining of this pouch becomes inflamed, it is called pouchitis.
  • Small Intestine Cancer

    Small intestine cancer is cancer that begins in the small intestine, which connects your stomach to your large intestine. It is rare, but people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease have a higher risk of developing it.
  • When ingested, food travels from the mouth to the esophagus to the stomach, a small pouch where juices break food down before it enters the small intestine. Cancer that develops in the stomach usually starts in its inner lining.
  • Ulcerative colitis is a common type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation and sores in the lining of the large intestine.