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Gastroenterology

Fast assessment and treatment for digestive system concerns

Gastroenterology is the field of medicine involved in investigating, diagnosing, and treating problems of the digestive system. A doctor specialising in this area is a Consultant Gastroenterologist.

The digestive system is responsible for breaking food down into smaller parts so that they can be absorbed into the body and used by it. It is also responsible for removing any waste products that cannot be broken down and used by the body, by expelling them as faeces.

If problems occur in any part of the digestive system, health can be affected and you may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, heartburn, or rectal bleeding.

The highly experienced Consultant Gastroenterologists at BMI The Cavell Hospital in Enfield, North London, provide expert assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for a wide range of digestive system conditions and symptoms. They would be delighted to help you too. 

The digestive tract, also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, stretches from mouth to anus. It is made up of a number of different parts: 

  • Upper GI –the mouth, oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine 
  • Lower GI (Colorectal) - the small intestine, large intestine, anus and rectum 
  • HBP (Hepato Pancreato Biliary) – liver, pancreas and gallbladder 

Symptoms that may indicate a problem within the GI tract include:  

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Bloating 
  • Indigestion 
  • Heartburn 
  • Nausea and/or vomiting 
  • Blood in vomit 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Constipation 
  • Altered bowel habits 
  • Rectal bleeding  
  • Acid reflux / heartburn 
  • Jaundice (yellow discolouration of skin) 

If you have any of these symptoms, it is sensible to consult a doctor for advice. Many people will see their GP for advice first, who will often then refer to us if further investigation is needed.  

The Gastroenterology team at BMI The Cavell Hospital are experts in this area and can provide comprehensive investigation of any complaint or concern. 

The incredible complexity of the digestive system means that many conditions have very similar symptoms. This can sometimes make diagnosis more challenging!  

Some of the common conditions that can affect the digestive system include: 

  • IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) – Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis 
  • Dyspepsia (Indigestion) 
  • Diverticulitis – inflammation of a small pocket (diverticula) in the lining of the intestine 
  • Polyps - small fleshy raised areas. These may become cancerous over time if left untreated 
  • Gallstones – formation of small stones in the gall bladder 
  • Liver abscess 
  • GERD/GORD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) 
  • Fatty liver disease 
  • Cancer - oesophageal, bowel, liver, bile duct or pancreatic 

Prompt diagnosis of any of these conditions will help you to receive any treatment needed at the earliest possible stage. If you have any concerns, why not contact us to book your private appointment today? 

When you first meet your Consultant Gastroenterologist at BMI The Cavell Hospital, they will take a medical history and talk with you in detail about your symptoms. They will want to know things like: 

  • The symptoms you have 
  • When these symptoms first appeared 
  • Whether your symptoms have been getting more noticeable/severe  
  • Whether specific foods, drinks or activities make your symptoms worse 

A physical examination may also be carried out. 

It may be found that your symptoms are not being caused by anything worrying, and no treatment is needed.  

In other cases, further investigation may be required to aid diagnosis. Many conditions and symptoms affecting the GI tract are most easily investigated using a special instrument known as an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at one end. The camera is attached to an external video screen and provides a real time image.  

Depending on where you’re experiencing your symptoms, you may need to have a Gastroscopy, a Colonoscopy or an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to investigate. If any of these are required, they will be arranged for you at the earliest opportunity. 

  • A gastroscopy is used to examine the upper part of the GI tract. The endoscope is moved through the mouth and down the oesophagus, into the stomach and the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). 
  • A colonoscopy looks at the lower part of the GI tract. The endoscope is inserted into the rectum and slowly moved along the large intestine and into the small intestine. 

During either investigation, your Consultant will be carefully examining the inside of the GI tract, checking for any abnormalities or areas of possible concern.  

  • An ERCP* is used to investigate problems in the bile ducts, gall bladder and pancreas, and to treat blockages within the bile ducts. These blockages are usually caused by a small stone, which is removed by making a small cut at the lower end of the duct. Occasionally the problem is caused by a tumour, in which case the obstruction can be relieved by placing a thin tube ('stent') within the duct.  
    (* Please note that ERCPs are carried out at an external venue. This will be arranged for you by your Consultant.) 

Whichever of these investigations you have, a biopsy may be taken for further analysis. This involves carefully removing a small sample of tissue from the area in question. 

Endoscopic procedures are generally well tolerated, but they may be a bit uncomfortable. Some people find a throat spray is helpful to reduce discomfort and coughing during a gastroscopy, while others prefer to also have a sedative injection. For a colonoscopy, an injection of a sedative and a pain-killing medication is often used, although some people choose to have nitrous oxide ('gas and air'). Your gastroenterologist will explain these options to you prior to the procedure. 

Additional tests may include blood tests, liver function tests, MRI scan, CT scan and ultrasound, all of which are available on-site at BMI The Cavell Hospital. 

A Fibroscan can be helpful in measuring scarring (fibrosis) of the liver.  

Hydrogen breath testing can be carried out at our sister site, BMI The Kings Oak Hospital, and is useful for diagnosing several conditions that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. 

Once any tests results are back, your Consultant will meet with you to discuss them with you and to talk through treatment options. If referral to another specialist is needed (for example, if surgery is needed to manage the symptoms of Crohn’s disease), this will be arranged for you. 

If you have any questions or concerns, they will be very happy to talk these through with you in your private appointment. 

Many people are referred to a Consultant Gastroenterologist at BMI The Cavell Hospital by a GP, (either their actual GP or via an online GP service), another healthcare professional or their private medical insurance provider. Others self-refer to avoid delay in getting the expert guidance and treatment they need. 

We treat patients with private medical insurance and those using one of our self-pay options.  

When you visit BMI The Cavell Hospital in London, you will benefit from: 

  • Fast access to expert assessment – Many GI symptoms can be concerning to experience, and you’ll appreciate seeing somebody as quickly as possible for advice and treatment. We can arrange a private appointment for you quickly, so that your symptoms can be investigated, diagnosed, and treated at an earlier stage.  
  • Personalised care – The complexity of the digestive system means that investigations and treatments need to be carefully tailored to your specific symptoms and whatever may be best for you. Your Consultant will oversee every aspect of your care, and you will always see the same Consultant, ensuring excellent continuity of care. 
  • Appointments to suit you – With appointments available throughout the week, including evenings and on Saturdays, it is easy to book an appointment with an experienced Consultant Gastroenterologist at a time that fits your availability.  
  • An experienced team – Your Consultant works closely with specialists in other areas such as General Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthetics and Oncology. This ensures you will always see the most appropriate specialist. 
  • Recommended by our patients – In an independent survey, 98.6% of patients said they were likely or highly likely to recommend us to family and friends.   
  • Location - BMI The Cavell Hospital is in Enfield, North London, and easy to travel to by private or public transport. Our car park has 80 spaces. 

Whether you are experiencing new symptoms that are causing you concern, or you have a pre-existing condition that is not being managed with your current treatment, we would be delighted to help you.  

For peace of mind and known expert care, please contact us to book your private appointment now. We look forward to welcoming you to BMI The Cavell Hospital and helping you to get the support you need as soon as possible. 

Specialists Offering Gastroenterology

Mr David Stoker

Consultant General Surgeon

BSC, MB ChB, FRCS(Ed), FRCS MD

BMI The Cavell Hospital 1 more BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

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Dr Steven Mann

Consultant Physician & Gastroenterologist

MBChB, FRCP

BMI The Cavell Hospital 2 more BMI Hendon Hospital BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

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Dr Paul Maxwell

Consultant Gastroenterologist

BSc, MBBS, MRCP

BMI The Cavell Hospital 1 more BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

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Mr Stephen Warren

Consultant Surgeon

BSc Hons, MB BS, FRCS, FRCS(Gen Surg), MS (Masters Degree in Surgery)

BMI The Cavell Hospital 1 more BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

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Dr Kalpesh Besherdas

Consultant Gastroenterologist & General Physician

MBBS, FRCP(UK)

BMI The Cavell Hospital 2 more BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

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Mr Lee Dvorkin

Consultant General & Colorectal Surgeon

MD FRCS (Gen Surg)

BMI The Cavell Hospital 2 more BMI Hendon Hospital BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

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