The gastrointestinal (GI) specialists at Rio Grande Regional Hospital treat a wide range of diseases and conditions of the GI tract—the esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, colon and rectum.

From bringing food and fluids into the body to digesting and absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste, the GI tract is one of the most complex organ systems in the human body. Our digestive health specialists treat a wide range of conditions affecting the GI tract.

Digestive health conditions we treat include:

  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Colitis or proctitis
  • Cancer of the esophagus, stomach, colon, bile duct or pancreas
  • Colon polyps
  • Crohn's disease
  • Diseases of the bile ducts, gallbladder or pancreas
  • Esophageal disorders, including Barrett's esophagus and strictures
  • Gastritis
  • Gallstones
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding (upper or lower)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Liver diseases

Gastroenterology Services and Procedures

Our accurate diagnoses and advanced treatment methods help you feel better, stay disease free and get back to your daily routine as quickly as possible. Rio Grande Regional Hospital offers the following GI procedures.

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)

Our GI services include EUS, which combines endoscopy and ultrasound in order to obtain images and information about the digestive tract and the surrounding tissues and organs. In EUS, a small ultrasound transducer is installed on the tip of an endoscope. By inserting the endoscope into the upper or the lower digestive tract, physicians can obtain high quality ultrasound images of the organs inside the body.

EUS provides your doctor with more information than other imaging tests by providing detailed images of your digestive tract. Your doctor can use EUS to diagnose certain conditions that may cause abdominal pain or abnormal weight loss.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

ERCP is a procedure used to diagnose or treat problems in the gallbladder, liver, bile ducts and pancreas. It combines X-ray and the use of an endoscope—a long, flexible, lighted tube. Your doctor guides the scope through your mouth and throat, then down the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine. Your doctor can view the inside of these organs and check for problems. Next, he or she will pass a tube through the scope and inject a dye. This highlights the organs on X-ray.

Colonoscopy and other Colon Cancer Screenings

Colon screenings are vital to ensure your body stays healthy and to uncover any early signs of cancer. A colon screening—known as colonoscopy—is the single most effective early detection system for colon cancer. Experts recommend a colonoscopy (which examines the entire rectum and colon) every 10 years for those who are 45 years of age or older.

During a colonoscopy, a doctor uses a flexible scope with a tiny camera inside to view the entire length of the colon and see any signs of a potential problem. If polyps are discovered, they can be removed immediately with another tiny instrument inside the scope.

Current guidelines suggest starting your colon cancer screenings at 45 years old, so talk to your doctor about when and how often you need a colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy is the gold standard of colorectal cancer screening, but we know that many people are hesitant about the procedure. Depending on your personal history and risk factors, other cancer screening options are available at Rio Grande Regional Hospital, including:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy – An examination of the rectum and lower part of the colon.
  • Digital rectal exam – An exam that checks for irregularities. This test can detect about half of colon cancers and can usually be administered by a New Orleans primary care physician.
  • Fecal occult blood test – A lab test used to look for blood in the stool. You can talk to your primary care doctor about this test.
  • Stool DNA test – A lab test used to look for DNA changes in cells. It can also detect blood in stool. This test can usually be performed by your primary care physician.
  • X-ray of the large intestine or barium enema – Provides a picture of the colon and can assist in identifying polyps.
  • Virtual colonoscopy – Uses computer software and a CT scan to check for colon polyps.