A wide variety of disorders can affect the gastrointestinal system including gastritis, gastroenteritis, gastroparesis, non-ulcer dyspepsia, peptic ulcers, and stomach cancer. Gastritis and gastroenteritis are disorders where different parts of the stomach and small intestine become inflamed. Gastroparesis is a disorder where the stomach does not empty its contents correctly, but there is no blockage. Non-ulcer dyspepsia causing indigestion and other symptoms typically associated with an ulcer, but without an ulcer being present. Peptic ulcers are a break in the surface level of the stomach lining and can be a precursor to stomach cancer.
The terms benign and malignant usually refer to tumors, although the terms can also be applied to ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract. Benign means that the growth does not spread and are considered relatively harmless. Malignant is usually linked to cancerous growths and is defined by out of control cell growth that can invade and infect neighboring tissues.
Ulcers not only cause significant discomfort, but they are also indicators of increased risk for the development of gastric cancer. Patients who suffer from any gastrointestinal distress would be best served by seeking medical attention early. Not only is almost every medical condition more easily treated in its early stages, but early diagnosis and treatment can cut down on the pain and discomfort a person will have to live with while waiting on treatment. Dr. Rossidis and the physicians at Bay Surgical Specialists can perform a variety of diagnostic and treatment surgical procedures to efficiently diagnose and treat a patient’s gastrointestinal distress.
Most doctors will begin treatment conservatively with medication and diet change. However, for patients with more severe conditions, other treatments including endoscopies and surgery can be employed to treat the ulcer. During an endoscopy, a thin and flexible tube with a camera attached to the end is passed through a patient's mouth and esophagus to view the upper gastrointestinal tract. Other surgical tools can be attached to an endoscope allowing a doctor to address conditions like ulcers while the camera provides live feed video to guide his work. Surgery is rarely needed for ulcers, however, it can be performed if the ulcer is bleeding uncontrollably or if the patient is unable to take the proton pump inhibitor medication often used to control stomach acid.
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