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Gastroenterology

Fast assessment and treatment for digestive system concerns.

Gastroenterology is a specialised area of medicine that diagnoses and treats problems related to your digestive system. A doctor who specialises in this field is known as a Consultant Gastroenterologist.

The digestive system is amazingly complex, made up of a great number of parts, processes and functions. Each of these play a vital role in helping break down food into smaller parts to be absorbed into the body. The digestive system is also responsible for removing the waste products of food by expelling them as faeces.

If something causes a problem anywhere within your digestive system – whether disease, damage or dysfunction – it can have a significant impact on your health and may cause concerning symptoms such as abdominal pain, heartburn or rectal bleeding.

The Consultant Gastroenterologists at BMI The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester provide expert assessment, diagnosis and treatment for a very wide variety of digestive conditions and symptoms. They would be delighted to support you in finding the best treatment for you.

Your digestive tract (also referred to as the gastrointestinal or GI tract), runs from your mouth to your anus. It is made up of three different sections:

  • Upper GI – mouth, oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine;
  • Lower GI (colorectal) – the latter part of the small intestine, large intestine (or colon), rectum and anus, and
  • HBP (Hepato Pancreato Biliary) – your liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

Some of the symptoms that may indicate a problem within the digestive system are:

  • Abdominal pain;
  • Bloating;
  • Indigestion;
  • Heartburn;
  • Nausea and/or vomiting;
  • Blood in vomit;
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Constipation;
  • Altered bowel habits;
  • Rectal bleeding – normally this can’t be seen (this is known as occult blood);
  • Acid reflux – stomach acid passes up the throat and causes heartburn, and
  • Jaundice (yellow discolouration of skin).

Because of the complexity of the digestive system, many of the conditions that affect it can have overlapping symptoms. Common conditions include:

Many of these conditions are best treated when discovered at the earliest possible stage, making rapid assessment and diagnosis important.

At BMI The Alexandra Hospital, we can arrange comprehensive investigation and treatment for you quickly, supporting the success of your treatment.

When you first meet with you Consultant Gastroenterologist in Manchester at BMI The Alexandra Hospital, they will take a detailed account of your medical history and ask about your symptoms. They will want to know:
  • Which symptoms you have;
  • When these symptoms first appeared;
  • Whether your symptoms have been getting worse;
  • Whether any foods, drinks or activities aggravate your symptoms, and
  • If you are on any medication.

A physical examination may also be carried out.

Many other conditions will require additional investigation to make a diagnosis. This will often happen through an endoscopy. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at one end. The camera transmits a live feed to an external video screen, so that your Consultant can investigate the inside of your stomach.

Depending on your symptoms, you may be referred to have a gastroscopy, a colonoscopy or an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). If you require any of these, the procedure will quickly be arranged for you at BMI The Alexandra Hospital. 

A gastroscopy: performed to examine the first part of your GI tract. The endoscope is introduced into your body through your mouth and down your throat, then into your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of your small intestine).

A colonoscopy: this examines the lower part of the GI tract. In this instance, the endoscope is inserted into your rectum and slowly moved through your large intestine and along into your small intestine.

Both investigations allow your Consultant to carefully examine the relevant part of your GI tract. They will look for any abnormalities, such as swelling, bumps, lumps or narrowings, or any other areas of possible concern.

An ERCP is a way of examining your bile ducts, gall bladder and pancreas. It is mainly used to treat conditions that are causing blockages within the bile ducts. This is commonly caused by a gallstone, which can often be removed through a small incision made at the lower end of your duct. Occasionally, the problem may be caused by a tumour. In this case, a thin tube (stent) can be placed within your duct to relieve the obstruction and keep the duct open.

A biopsy can be taken for further analysis if required. This involves carefully removing a small sample of your tissue and sending it for analysis under a microscope.

Endoscopic procedures can be uncomfortable. In preparation for a gastroscopy, a spray is used to reduce coughing and gagging. Many patients also choose to have a sedative injection. For a colonoscopy, an injection of a sedative and pain-killing medication will often be administered, but others may prefer to have “gas and air” (nitrous oxide) instead. Your Gastroenterologist will explain these options prior to the procedure so that you can choose the right one for you.

A comprehensive range of additional tests, including blood tests, liver function tests, MRI scans, CT scans and ultrasounds, are all readily available at BMI The Alexandra Hospital. They can be quickly and easily arranged for you if needed.

As the largest private hospital in the country outside of London, people are referred to us from their GP, another Consultant (either on-site or from another part of the country). or their private medical insurance provider. Others choose to self-refer, because they’re concerned about their symptoms and want to get clarity as quickly as possible.

We treat private medical insurance and self-pay patients.

While many of our patients live in Manchester, a good number take advantage of our location and excellent road access by visiting from further afield.

When you choose to visit a Consultant Gastroenterologist at BMI The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester, you will benefit from:

  • Fast access to a leading expert – Many GI symptoms can be worrying. You’ll appreciate being able to get help as soon as possible. We can arrange an appointment for you without delay, so that your symptoms can be investigated, diagnosed and treated at the earliest stage.
  • Personalised care – Any investigations and treatment for the digestive system need to be carefully tailored to your specific symptoms. Your Consultant will oversee every aspect of your personalised care.
  • Appointments to suit you – With appointments available throughout the week, it is easy to book an appointment with an experienced Consultant Gastroenterologist at a time that suits your schedule. We can also offer remote consultations by telephone or video call if required (and when clinically appropriate).
  • A multidisciplinary approach – Your Consultant works very closely with specialists in other areas such as General Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthetics and Oncology. This multidisciplinary team ensures you will always see the most appropriate specialist for your specific requirements.
  • Recommended by our patients – In an independent survey, 97.3% of our patients said they were likely or highly likely to recommend us to family and friends.

For expert care, please contact us to book your Gastroenterology appointment by calling us directly on +44 1413 005 009 or booking an appointment with us online.

We look forward to welcoming you to BMI The Alexandra Hospital soon.

Specialists Offering Gastroenterology

Dr Richard Jones

Consultant Gastroenterologist

MBChB, FRCP, PhD

BMI The Alexandra Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Zahid Mahmood

Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist

MBBS, MD, FRCP, FRCPI, FEBG, MCPS, DTCD

BMI The Alexandra Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Richard Hammonds

Consultant Gastroenterologist

MRCP(UK), MD

BMI The Alexandra Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Atta Abbasi

Consultant Gastroenterologist

MBBS, PhD, MRCP, FRCP

BMI The Alexandra Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Robert Willert

Consultant Gastroenterologist

BSc (Hons), MBChB (Hons), PhD, FRCP (Lon)

BMI The Alexandra Hospital

View profile Book online

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