Most digestive health problems can be handled by your primary care physician, but if you need a higher level of care your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist. The highly trained gastroenterology experts in the Sutter Health network are equipped to pinpoint the specific cause of your digestive tract issues, and put you on the path to better health.
Evaluation and Diagnostic Services
Whether you need a routine screening such as a stool blood test or a more advanced procedure, most of our diagnostic tests are performed on an outpatient basis. We use minimally invasive endoscopic procedures, advanced imaging techniques and innovative technology, such as the SmartPill, to visualize your digestive tract. This type of technology allows doctors to diagnose your condition without surgical intervention.
Other diagnostic methods include:
- Barium enema
- Double balloon endoscopy
- Upper GI and small bowel series
Motility disorders result when any chronic, abnormal muscular activity such as muscular spasms or irregular contractions start causing pain, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, vomiting or abdominal bloating. Since these disorders are functional, not structural, they usually can't be identified by X-ray, blood tests, or endoscopy.
To diagnose and understand your individual digestive issues, we provide a wide range of motility tests. Your gastroenterologist may partner with a neurogastroenterologist, who specializes in the interactions between the brain and gut, to diagnose and manage your motility disorder.
Gastroenterologists in the Sutter Health network offer treatment for motility disorders such as achalasia and other swallowing disorders, chronic constipation, and any other condition involving the abnormal movement of food, liquid and waste through your digestive system. We offer tests such as:
- Anorectal manometry
- Antroduodenal (gastrojejunal) manometry
- Colon motility and transit studies
- Electrogastrogram (EGG)
- Esophageal manometry
- Esophageal pH impedance
- Gastric barostat study
- Gastric emptying study
- Lactulose hydrogen breath testing
- Pyloric manometry
Treatments may involve a variety of drug therapies, interventional endoscopy or surgical options. Advanced treatments may include:
- Fecal Incontinence Therapy — Injections of Solesta® gel help build tissue in the anus, making it more capable of holding waste.
- Gastric Electrical Stimulators — These devices provide mild electrical stimulation to the stomach nerves to help relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with gastroparesis.
- Anorectal Biofeedback — This therapy uses computer feedback and anal sphincter exercises to retrain your muscles to relax during evacuation and to contract at appropriate times.
Sutter hospitals throughout Northern California have been named top performers by the Integrated Healthcare Association for high colon cancer screening rates that lead to early cancer detection and better patient outcomes. Hospitals and doctors across the network are ranked by U.S. News & World Report as some of the highest performing in the nation for gastroenterology services. The American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society, a professional organization of physicians and researchers, lists Sutter Health affiliates in its registry of laboratories performing high-quality motility procedures.