Gastrointestinal care in Northern Virginia
The gastroenterologists and colorectal specialists at StoneSprings Hospital provide comprehensive care for diseases and conditions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. We use the latest advancements to accurately diagnose and treat your GI ailment.
If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, visit our emergency room. If you are having less severe abdominal pain, contact our Consult-A-Nurse® team, available 24/7, at (855) 226-7344.
Colorectal and digestive tract services
Our colorectal and gastrointestinal services focus on treating conditions and diseases that affect the colon, rectum and digestive system. The colon is the final component of our digestive system and works to remove water, salt and solids from the substances we have consumed. The colon also provides bacteria-assisted fermentation, facilitating unabsorbed material exiting the body through the rectum.
Our physicians are experts in dealing with issues affecting the esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, colon and rectum, including:
- Anal fissures
- Anal fistulae
- Anal condyloma
- Colon/colorectal cancer
- Colon polyps
- Crohn’s disease
- Disease of the bile duct or pancreas
- Fecal incontinence or outlet obstructions
- Gastric reflux disease (or acid reflux disease)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Lower and/or upper gastrointestinal bleeding
- Rectal prolapse
- Tumors of the gastrointestinal tract
- Gastric, duodenal and peptic ulcers
Gastric reflux disease
Gastric reflux disease, often called heartburn, acid reflux or acid indigestion, affects more than 20 percent of Americans. Frequent heartburn can be uncomfortable and lead to pain, a lifetime of medication or a serious health condition, like asthma or esophageal cancer. Heartburn is caused by a back-up of stomach acid or other contents into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation.
You may be experiencing gastric reflux disease if you:
- Sit up to sleep
- Avoid favorite or spicy foods
- Experience trouble breathing
- Feel a fiery, burning sensation in your chest or throat
At StoneSprings Hospital, we take a comprehensive approach to treating gastric reflux disease that includes diagnostic pH monitoring of the acid/alkaline balance and manometry testing of digestive muscle conditions. We also offer treatments with endoscopy, radiofrequency ablation and minimally invasive surgery.
Gastric reflux disease can typically be managed through diet, lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication.
Symptoms of gastric reflux disease
Heartburn generally starts with a burning sensation behind the breastbone that often will radiate toward the neck. Additional symptoms may include:
- Regurgitation of fluid or food into the throat or mouth
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing food
- Chronic sore throat or cough
- Asthma, wheezing or chronic bronchitis
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Difficulty sleeping while lying flat or after eating
- Suddenly waking from sleep to find yourself choking, coughing or unable to breathe adequately
If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, indicated by chronic gastric reflux disease, StoneSprings Hospital offers surgical options to help you get back to your normal way of life. We offer minimally invasive procedures such as nissen fundoplication, a procedure that repairs the esophageal valve or corrects hiatal hernia using robotic surgery.
Our colon and rectal surgical program offers the most comprehensive services for preventing, detecting and treating disorders of the colon, rectum and anus. We offer advanced technology, new therapies and minimally invasive surgical options to deliver topnotch screening and treatment for colon, rectal and anal cancer.
By receiving gastrointestinal care at StoneSprings Hospital, our patients benefit from:
- Laparoscopic colon and rectal surgeries
- Restorative proctocolectomies for the small intestine and anus
- Small tumor ablation
- Large colon polyp resection
- Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR)
- Collaboration with other specialists, including gynecologic surgeons, to perform:
- Rectal prolapse repairs
- Vaginal prolapse repairs
- Pelvic floor reconstruction
Endoscopy is a type of procedure that allows physicians to visualize the internal organs, including the esophagus (throat), stomach and intestines. Endoscopy is performed using an endoscope, which is a long, thin tube with a camera on the tip.
Endoscopies are useful to investigate gastrointestinal problems, such as pain in the stomach or abdomen, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, indigestion, tumors and ulcers. Endoscopy can also be used as a treatment for colorectal conditions, such as removing polyps or taking tissue samples for analysis.
At StoneSprings Hospital, we offer the following endoscopic procedures:
- Colonoscopy: Examines the bowel for polyp or other abnormalities
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): Incorporates detailed X-rays during visual inspection of the bile duct, pancreatic duct and gallbladder; Also used for removal of stones and placement of stents
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy: Explores the esophagus, stomach and small intestine
Endoscopies are performed as outpatient procedures, allowing you to return to your daily life as quickly as possible.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. The best way to detect colon cancer in its earliest stages is through screenings. When detected early, colon cancer is 90 to 95 percent treatable. At StoneSprings Hospital, we perform colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer.Take a free colon cancer health risk assessment
A colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a lighted, flexible scope with a tiny camera that is capable of viewing the entire length of the colon. This allows your doctor to see any signs for concern, and if polyps are detected, the doctor can remove them with a tool inside the scope.
It is suggested that colon cancer screenings begin at 50 years old and continue in regular intervals moving forward. Although, if you have certain risk factors, like family history or inflammatory bowel disease, you should talk to your doctor about how often you should be screened for colon cancer.
A colonoscopy typically takes less than half an hour to perform and is generally considered to be a painless procedure. Medicare and most insurance companies cover colon cancer screenings for individuals 50 years old and older.
Before your colonoscopy
The day before your colonoscopy, you'll need to completely clean out your colon so the doctor will have an unobstructed view of its surface. Doctors use several different types of preparation for cleansing the colon, and your doctor can help you decide which is best for you. It may be slightly uncomfortable, but all of these preparations are generally well-tolerated. Talk with your doctor about all the options and be frank in your discussion about what will work best for you.
We suggest you eat light, easily digestible foods for several days prior to your colonoscopy and drink plenty of clear liquids to stay hydrated. Don’t drink red liquids, which could be confused with blood during your procedure. Your doctor can provide more information on what is best to eat and to avoid prior to your colonoscopy.
It is also important to remind your doctor about any medications you are taking regularly, as you may need to adjust your dosage or temporarily stop taking certain prescriptions.
Arrange a ride home after your colonoscopy, and do not plan on going back to work or driving for the rest of the day.
After your colonoscopy
Sedation should wear off about an hour after your procedure. Feeling bloated or passing gas for a few hours is normal and light walking may help with any discomfort.
As soon as the sedation wears off, your physician will discuss your results with you. If any polyps were removed, they will be sent to the lab for a biopsy for evaluation, and the final results will be available in a few days. If colon cancer is detected, it's good to know that, when detected early, colon cancer is very curable.