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GI Specialists of Georgia Discusses Colonoscopies & More

As a leading gastroenterology practice in Northwest Atlanta, GI Specialists of Georgia have board-certified physicians to treat many gastroenterology diseases and disorders. Patients come to us with various digestive system problems, ranging from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to cirrhosis of the liver and colon cancer. Many of our patients require a colonoscopy (colon cancer screening) at one of our Douglasville or Atlanta-area offices. Whether you’re prepping for a colonoscopy or have another type of health concern, you probably have questions for our colon and liver doctors. To educate our patients, we have gathered helpful information about various health topics below. Should you not find any details about a specific health concern you may be experiencing, please reach out to us to schedule a consultation with one of our gastroenterologists.


If your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to various tissues and organs, you may have a condition called anemia. Commonly associated with symptoms of fatigue, weakness, and lightheadedness, anemia can be temporary or long-term, and there are several types of anemia. Treatment may include taking iron or vitamin supplements or eating a healthy, balanced diet.
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Ascites occurs when fluid collects inside your abdominal or peritoneal cavity. This condition may be caused by liver cirrhosis or heart disease. Symptoms include abdominal pain, shortness of breath, swelling, and chronic infections. Treatment will vary but may include dietary restrictions, diuretic medications, and ultimately surgery. Some patients with ascites benefit from liver transplants.
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Barrett’s Esophagus

When the mucosal lining of the esophagus is replaced by stomach-like or intestinal-like mucosal lining, it results in a condition referred to as Barrett’s esophagus (BE). Named after the doctor who first diagnosed the condition, BE may be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Treatment usually involves lifestyle changes, including dietary changes and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products. Medications and sleeping changes may also help alleviate the symptoms.
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Cirrhosis of the liver occurs after your liver has been inflamed or swollen for years, sometimes caused by alcoholism or viral hepatitis. Swollen liver symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, poor appetite, muscle aches, itching, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Cirrhosis is an irreversible condition, so treatment focuses on preventing further complications.
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Colon Cancer/Colonoscopies

Colon cancer is a chief concern for adults over the age of 45. Colon cancer screenings or colonoscopies save lives through early detection. Symptoms associated with colon cancer pain typically include nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, changes in bowel movements (diarrhea or constipation), unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, jaundice, anemia, and more. Treatments for colon cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to eradicate the cancer.
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When an individual has difficulty having a bowel movement, it results in a condition called constipation. While occasional constipation is normal, especially when making changes in your diet or medications, chronic constipation that lasts several weeks or longer may be indicative of a more severe issue. Symptoms also include painful bowel movements or feeling as though you can’t completely empty your rectum. Treatment for constipation will vary but may begin with diet and lifestyle changes.
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Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)

If swallowing food or liquids has become painful or impossible, you could have a serious condition called dysphagia. While dysphagia may occur at any age, it’s more prevalent in older adults. Causes for dysphagia include esophageal tumors, scar tissue, food allergies, motility issues, and radiation therapy, which often causes inflammation and scarring to your esophagus. Treatment may consist of learning new swallowing techniques or using exercises to coordinate your swallowing muscles.
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Esophageal Cancer

If you’ve noticed an inflammation or chronic irritation inside your throat, you could have a condition called esophageal cancer. Symptoms of esophageal cancer include difficulty swallowing, heartburn, hoarseness, indigestion, chest pain, and unintentional weight loss. Causes of esophageal cancer include smoking, obesity, chronic alcohol, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Barrett’s esophagus. Depending on the stage of cancer, treatment may consist of surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
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Gas and Bloating

Feeling bloated because of gas or flatulence is occasionally normal, as we all have gas present in the intestinal tract from time to time. Certain foods and carbonated beverages can trigger belching, bloating, flatulence, and abdominal pain or discomfort. However, some patients experiencing this condition may be lactose intolerant or they could be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Dietary changes and medications may be recommended. Other patients may benefit from abdominal-tensing exercises.
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Gastritis is a painful condition involving the inflammation of your stomach’s lining. Also called dyspepsia, gastritis may be acute or chronic. This condition is usually caused by bacteria, medications, anemia, bile reflux, infections, autoimmune disorders, or excessive alcohol use. Symptoms of gastritis may include nausea, vomiting, indigestion, belching, bloating, and upper abdominal pain. Treatment for gastritis may include taking antacids or antibiotics and avoiding nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
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Many patients with digestive system problems discover they have a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition is caused by stomach acid flowing back into your esophagus and irritating its lining. Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, chest pain, chronic cough, laryngitis, asthma, a sour liquid sensation, or the regurgitation of food. You can treat it by making dietary and lifestyle changes, taking over-the-counter antacids or a prescription medication, or surgery.
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Hemorrhoids are swollen venous tissues in the anorectal area. Hemorrhoids may be internal or external and are often characterized by rectal bleeding, swelling, pain, and itching. Common causes for hemorrhoids include chronic constipation or diarrhea, pregnancy, heavy lifting, or prolonged periods of sitting on the toilet. Treatment for external hemorrhoids may include topical analgesics, such as lidocaine ointments, or topical steroids, such as hydrocortisone. Rubber band ligation may be recommended to treat internal hemorrhoids.
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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks your liver, causing further complications, including swollen liver, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is usually transmitted through contaminated blood supplies or the sharing of needles. A person with Hepatitis C may not have any symptoms for years until the damage to their liver is done. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. Our liver doctors can tailor treatment for each patient’s specific type of Hepatitis C.
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Pancreatitis is an acute or chronic condition involving the inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms of pancreatitis include severe upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and unintentional weight loss. Gallstones are one of the leading causes of pancreatitis, but it can also be triggered by high levels of triglycerides or calcium in your blood, pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis, and specific genetic mutations. Treatment may include the removal of gallstones or the removal of the gallbladder entirely.
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Rectal Bleeding

In trace amounts, rectal bleeding is not life-threatening or a cause for concern. However, chronic rectal bleeding could be indicative of colitis, colon polyps, diverticulosis, or colon cancer. Common causes for rectal bleeding also include hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Treatment for rectal bleeding may include creams or suppositories to prevent inflammation and bleeding, sitz baths, or certain exercises at the gym, including leg presses and weightlifting.
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