Help for digestive issues—big and small
The way your body processes food is vital to your health and impacts how you feel every day. Our gastroenterologists, also called GI doctors, provide the care you need for mild to severe digestive issues. They are specialists in understanding how gastrointestinal organs move material through the stomach and intestines, digest food, absorb nutrients, and remove waste—and what to do when the system isn’t working.
GI doctors treat everything from occasional gas or stomach pain, to diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver. They handle colon polyps, cancer, acid reflux (heartburn), peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (IBD), nutritional problems, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and many other issues.
One of the primary ways they protect your health is through colonoscopies, which can detect cancer early and prevent it through polyp removal. Vancouver Clinic’s high-quality colonoscopy process consistently exceeds American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) standards for adenoma (pre-cancer) detection and removal rates. We take the time to make sure your exam is thorough and that you are treated with the highest quality of care.
Our Gastroenterology Department provides a full range of services, including:
- Capsule endoscopy
- Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR)
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
- Esophageal manomentry
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Upper endoscopy (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy/EGD)
- 24 pH/impedance testing
Can you help people with chronic heartburn?
Yes. Heartburn symptoms and severity vary quite a bit among different people. If your heartburn is mild, or occurs only occasionally, then a series of lifestyle changes may be all you need to manage it. For example, not eating late at night or avoiding trigger foods may help. Talk to your primary care provider about options that may work for you. If your heartburn is persistent, or if making small lifestyle changes doesn’t help, then we encourage you to see one of our specialists right away.
Does stress cause ulcers?
An ulcer occurs because of an imbalance between the stomach’s digestive fluids and the duodenum, which neutralizes gastric juices. There is no single cause. Some ulcers are the result of bacterial infections. While people link ulcers with stress, it may be that people under stress make certain lifestyle choices that contribute to ulcers. For instance, drinking alcohol in excess, smoking tobacco, or taking certain painkillers (NSAIDs) can all lead to excess stomach acid production, thereby contributing to an ulcer.
How do I know if I have an ulcer?
The three most common signs of an ulcer include shooting abdominal pain after meals, increased or chronic indigestion, and nausea.
When should I get my first colonoscopy?
Most people should start getting screened for colon cancer at age 50. However, if you have a family history of colon cancer, your doctor might suggest that you start getting screened earlier. African Americans are at a higher risk and should be screened starting at age 45.
What is it like to get a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies are incredibly important because they allow doctors to find polyps early and remove them before they become cancerous. The most uncomfortable part is drinking the prep that cleans out your bowels because it means you need to go to the bathroom a lot. The procedure itself is simple and painless. It takes about half an hour, and many patients drift off to sleep under light sedation.