To help determine the cause of your digestive problems, gastroenterologists in the Sutter Health network use minimally-invasive diagnostic procedures and therapies. One such innovative diagnostic tool: the SmartPill, a tiny, disposable capsule you can swallow that measures acidity, pressure and temperature as it travels through your digestive tract. It also tracks how long it takes for food to move through your digestive system. Another similar technology used at Mills-Peninsula, called the capsule endoscopy, contains a miniature video camera that can take thousands of pictures as it proceeds.
Your doctor may recommend using a SmartPill or capsule endoscopy if you have unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain or vomiting. After swallowing the pill at your doctor’s office, you can go about the rest of your day doing most of your normal daily activities. Throughout the day, these technologies transmit data to a recorder worn on a belt clip or lanyard. This allows your doctor to gather important information without using alternate tests that require radiation.
Once the SmartPill or capsule endoscopy has passed with a regular bowel movement in about one to three days, you return to your doctor’s office to have the data downloaded from the recorder. Your doctor will then analyze the results and work with you to create a treatment plan.