Overview of Conditions

Physicians at Fallsgrove Endoscopy Center evaluate and treat various GI and hepatology conditions.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the contents of the stomach are refluxed into the esophagus, causing troublesome symptoms. Heartburn, belching, trouble swallowing, and a chronic cough are some of the many symptoms associated with GERD. This condition can be further evaluated with an upper endoscopy.

Dysphagia (trouble swallowing)

Dysphagia (trouble swallowing) occurs when there is difficulty propelling food from the mouth through the esophagus and into the stomach. There are a number of causes of dysphagia such as trouble with pharyngeal and esophageal muscle coordination and function, inflammation of the esophagus, strictures, fibrous webs and rings, external compression of the esophagus and masses of the esophagus. This condition requires an upper endoscopy for further evaluation.

Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus)

Esophagitis refers to inflammation of the esophagus. This can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritants in the esophagus (such as medications, bile, and acid) as well as conditions like eosinophilic esophagitis (an allergic condition of the esophagus). This condition can be further evaluated with an upper endoscopy.

Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach herniates through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. Hiatal hernias vary in size, severity and symptoms. Some people report discomfort in the center of the abdomen underneath the ribs, some report heartburn and reflux symptoms, while others have no symptoms at all. Hiatal hernias can be diagnosed with an upper endoscopy, and only rarely require surgical treatment.

Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)

Gastritis refers to inflammation of the stomach. This can be caused by a variety of irritants including acid, bile, chemicals, and infections. Gastritis causes the stomach to appear red and can lead to erosions and ulcers. Gastritis is a very common diagnosis made by upper endoscopy.

Helicobacter pylori (bacteria that causes ulcers)

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a common bacteria that affects roughly 50% of the world’s population. It is known to cause gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), ulcers, and can lead to complications such as gastric cancer if left untreated. The vast majority of patients are asymptomatic. H. pylori can be diagnosed by upper endoscopy if biopsies of the stomach are taken.

Peptic ulcer disease

Peptic ulcer disease refers to a defect in the lining of the stomach that extends beyond the first muscular layer (the muscularis mucosa). Ulcers can cause pain, gastrointestinal bleeding and can actually penetrate through the entire stomach wall if left unchecked. Helicobacter pylori and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin – to name a few) are the most common causes of ulcers. An ulcer can be diagnosed with an upper endoscopy. If the ulcer is bleeding, an upper endoscopy can also be used to control bleeding.


Dyspepsia is a term that refers to a variety of symptoms of the upper digestive tract. Typically, the symptoms associated with dyspepsia are fullness in the upper abdomen (especially after eating), burning and epigastric pain. An upper endoscopy is used to further evaluate patients with dyspepsia.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is an immune-mediated inflammatory response to gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) that affects the small intestine. There are a number of signs and symptoms associated with Celiac disease including diarrhea (though some can have constipation), anemia, weight loss, abdominal pain and bloating. Celiac disease is associated with a variety of autoimmune diseases. The diagnosis of Celiac disease is confirmed by biopsies taken during an upper endoscopy in the duodenum (which is the first part of the small intestine).

Abdominal bloating and gas

Abdominal bloating and gas are generally related to increased air swallowing, overproduction of gas by intestinal bacteria and decreased absorption of gases in the intestines. Intestinal gas can be uncomfortable and embarrassing with symptoms of belching, flatulence, and bloating. Some foods can cause more gas than others, and specific diets can help reduce gas production. An upper endoscopy can be useful in ruling out diseases that commonly cause these symptoms, such as Celiac disease.

Gastrointestinal bleeding

Gastrointestinal bleeding can stem from a variety of sources throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcers, abnormal blood vessels in the lining of the stomach and intestines, large polyps, diverticulosis, and masses of the GI tract can all be associated with bleeding. Upper endoscopy and colonoscopy can be used to diagnose and treat sources of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Angioectasia (arteriovenous malformations of the gastrointestinal tract)

Angioectasia are abnormal blood vessels on the inner surface of the gastrointestinal tract that tend to bleed very easily. They are associated with a variety of medical conditions. Angioectasia can be diagnosed and treated by upper endoscopy and colonoscopy.

Colorectal polyps

Colorectal polyps are growths that arise from the lining of the colon. There are a number of types of polyps. Polyps are considered benign, but some types of polyps have the potential to turn into cancer over time. A colonoscopy is used to remove polyps to prevent them from growing into cancers.


Diarrhea is a common condition that is characterized by loose or watery stools that tend to be urgent. Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, food allergies, medications, metabolic abnormalities, inflammatory diseases of the colon, and malabsorption, as well as by IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). It is important to have an evaluation by a gastroenterologist if diarrhea lasts more than a week or if you have signs or symptoms of dehydration. Upper endoscopy and colonoscopy are sometimes used to take biopsies in the small and large intestine in the evaluation of diarrhea.


Constipation is characterized by infrequent and sometimes difficult to pass bowel movements. Abdominal bloating, discomfort and straining to have a bowel movement are common symptoms. There are a number of causes of constipation including metabolic abnormalities, inflammation and narrowing of the gastrointestinal tract, medications, inadequate dietary fiber or water intake, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and dysfunction of the muscles that are used to propel stool through and out of the colon. A colonoscopy can be useful to rule out any structural abnormalities that may predispose a patient to constipation.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is characterized by abdominal pain that is relieved with bowel movements. It can be associated with both diarrhea and constipation, but is caused by inflammation or other organic causes. A colonoscopy is often used to rule out an organic cause of a patient’s symptoms.

Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a chronic diseases that can affect any portion of the GI tract from the mouth all the way to the anus. It is caused by an overactive immune system, though the exact trigger is unknown. Patients with Crohn’s disease tend to experience diarrhea and abdominal pain among other symptoms. Colonoscopy plays a key role in diagnosis and surveillance in Crohn’s disease.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a chronic disease that can affect a small portion of the rectum to the entire lining of the colon. It is caused by an overactive immune system, though the exact trigger is unknown. Patients with Ulcerative Colitis tend to experience bloody diarrhea and a sense of urgency. Colonoscopy plays a key role in diagnosis and surveillance in Ulcerative Colitis.

Microscopic colitis

Microscopic Colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the colon. It causes watery diarrhea. It is further subdivided into lymphocytic and collagenous colitis based on microscopic appearance. There are associations between certain medications as well as autoimmune diseases and microscopic colitis. Colonoscopy with biopsy is used to diagnose microscopic colitis. The colon appears entirely normal during the colonoscopy, but inflammation is noted under the microscope by the pathologist.


Diverticulosis refers to small sac-like protrusions (diverticula) that hang off of the wall of the colon. The majority of patients with diverticulosis are asymptomatic. However, diverticular disease can result in abdominal pain, inflammation (diverticulitis), and bleeding. Diverticulosis is a common finding during routine colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is also used to identify and treat diverticular bleeding.


Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that occur inside (internal) and outside (external) of the anal canal. They can cause swelling, itching, bleeding and pain if a blood clot forms inside. They are generally the result of excessive straining during bowel movements and can be treated with topical medications and fiber supplementation, but they may need intervention (rubber band ligation, infrared coagulation or hemorrhoid excision). Hemorrhoids are a common condition found during routine colonoscopy.

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