Esophageal Disorders Program
The team at Gastroenterology Associates understands the concerns and apprehension patients experience in regards to being diagnosed with esophageal disease. We will take the extra steps necessary to make sure the patient is on board as a team member in the diagnosis and treatment of esophageal disease. Our center utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach to your healthcare, which means that patients benefit from the combined expertise of physicians who have the knowledge, perspective and experience to address all aspects of your complete gastroenterological care when treating esophageal disease.
We offer the most advanced diagnostic techniques and treatments, and are affiliated with the best AAAHC accredited Ambulatory Health Care Centers in the Los Angeles area, all of which, give our patients the discreet personalized care they deserve.
We believe our patients deserve the best. An AAAHC certificate of accreditation signifies the highest level of accreditation. AAAHC, an independent, not-for-profit organization that has closely examined our affiliated facilities and procedure practices.
Our Gastroenterologists never rush an appointment, and take the extra time to thoroughly discuss your esophageal disease and any other medical concerns. They will sit with you and personally review the results of any testing performed. Our doctors want to make sure you completely understand the results, and, if necessary, any medical recommendations for further medical care or follow-up. The doctors are available via email to patients as well if any immediate concern or heath situation arises.
Below is some information on esophageal disease:
Esophagus is the tube that transfers food from mouth to stomach.
There are a wide range of esophageal disorders: Rings, Webs, Achalasia, Scleroderma, Diffuse Esophageal Spasm, Esophagitis, Barrett’s Esophagus, Plumer –Vinson Syndrome, Zenker diverticulum, Esophageal cancer, GERD, Hiatal Hernia…
Here is a small review of above conditions:
Any inflammation in esophagus is called esophagitis. Patients can complain of dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), odynophagia (painful swallowing). It is divided to several categories based on the causative agent.
Candida esophagitis is the type that is caused by Candida, which is a type of fungus. This will usually occur in patients who have a decreased immune system response that is not strong, which is known as immunocompromised.
Another type of esophagitis is called eosinophilic esophagitis, also known as allergic esophagitis. This type is often misdiagnosed due to its inconspicuous nature. The rate of misdiagnosis for this type is high and generally requires multiple esophageal biopsies to confirm the diagnosis.
There is a type of esophagitis called pill-induced esophagitis that is a result of taking medications, such as iron sulfate, vitamin C, potassium chloride, among others. It is simply managed by taking medications with a full glass of water and remaining upright for 30 minutes after taking the medication.
Diverticulum is an out pouching of the lumen due to weakness in the wall in that location. It can cause a problem because the food can stay there and cause bad breath and difficulty in swallowing. The patient may feel the need to clear their throat and may cause regurgitation of undigested food.
Rings are thin, smooth prominence of esophageal tissue that causes tightness in the food pathway in the esophagus. The rings can be located in any part of esophagus and patients generally complain of dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. There is a condition that has a combination of esophageal rings and iron deficiency anemia. This condition is called Plummer-Vinson syndrome and usually occurs in middle-aged women.
When a patient has a symptomatic ring, it is advised to treat the affected area with dilation. It is a simple procedure and can be done during an upper endoscopy.
The changing in the tissue structure at the lower part of esophagus is called Barrett’s esophagus and usually happens in the junction of the esophagus to the stomach, due to acid reflux. The tissue structure of the esophagus is not as resistant as the stomach tissue is to acid. Patients who have acid reflux may have stomach acid that comes up to the esophagus and damages the tissue. This change of tissue is the reason that Barrett’s esophagus is known as a pre-cancerous condition. Therefore, it is very important to take care of the condition as soon as possible. Diagnosis and management is done by upper endoscopy.
Acid reflux or heartburn is one of the most common complaints for gastroenterological patients. Patients usually feel a burning sensation in their chest or upper abdomen. These complaints are more severe with spicy foods, citrus foods and greasy foods. Vomiting is not always a symptom, but nausea can be associated with acid reflux. Hoarseness, cough, metallic-like taste and sore throat are other symptoms that may occur. Pain is usually in upper middle abdomen or in the sub-sternal area.
Lifestyle modifications are one of the basic treatments for GERD. Avoid eating food late at night, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and spicy food. It is recommended to elevate the head of bed for 6-8 inches.
Usually an anti-acid medication will be prescribed for patients with GERD symptoms. It has to be taken in the morning 30 minutes before breakfast. There are many different kind of anti-acid medication that your physician can recommend for you.
It presents with progressive difficulty swallowing both solid foods and liquids. Patients can regurgitate the food a few hours after eating. There is no relationship between achalasia and alcohol or tobacco consumption, which is generally the opposite of esophageal cancer. A diagnosis is made by radiologic imaging, although endoscopy can be diagnostic and therapeutic.
We offer the most advanced diagnostic techniques and treatments for a wide variety of gastroenterological conditions. We also offer a full range of diagnostic procedures, as well as medical, surgical and minimally invasive treatment options to meet the individual needs of patients with gastroenterological conditions of any kind. Contact us if you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that have not yet been addressed by our physicians.