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Gastroenterology

Fast assessment and treatment for digestive system concerns

Gastroenterology is a specialised field of medicine involved with the investigation, diagnosis, and treatment of problems within the digestive system. A doctor who specialises in this field is known as a Consultant Gastroenterologist.

The experienced Consultant Gastroenterologists at BMI The Hampshire Clinic in Basingstoke, Hampshire help people aged 18+ with a wide variety of digestive conditions and symptoms. They would be delighted to help you too. 

Your digestive system is amazingly complex, consisting of many different parts, processes, and functions. Together, these all help break food down into smaller parts so it can be absorbed by the body. It is also responsible for removing the waste products of food (as faeces). 

If any type of problem occurs anywhere with the digestive system – whether through disease, damage, or dysfunction - it can affect your general health and quality of life, and may cause concerning symptoms such as heartburn, abdominal pain, or rectal bleeding.   

Your digestive tract (also referred to as the gastrointestinal/GI tract), runs from mouth to anus and 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 (colon), rectum and anus 
  • HBP (Hepato Pancreato Biliary) – liver, pancreas and gallbladder 

Symptoms that may indicate a problem within the digestive system include: 

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

Due to the complex nature of the digestive system, many of the conditions that affect it will often have overlapping symptoms. This makes an accurate diagnosis essential, to make sure you receive the most appropriate treatment.

Common GI tract conditions 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 raised fleshy raised areas. These may sometimes become cancerous over a number of years if left untreated 
  • Gallstones – formation of small stones in the gall bladder. May block bile ducts 
  • Liver abscess 
  • GERD/GORD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) 
  • Fatty liver disease 
  • Cancer - oesophageal, bowel, liver, bile duct or pancreatic 

Many GI conditions are best treated at the earliest possible stage, making fast assessment and diagnosis important. At BMI The Hampshire Clinic, we can arrange comprehensive investigation for you quickly and get you the help you need sooner. 

When you first meet with you Consultant Gastroenterologist at BMI The Hampshire Clinic, they will take a medical history and will ask you about your symptoms. They will want to know things like: 

  • The symptoms you have 
  • When these symptoms first appeared / first became noticeable 
  • Whether your symptoms have been getting worse 
  • Whether any particular foods, drinks or activities aggravate your symptoms 
  • If you are on any medication 
  • What your general health is like, and whether you have any underlying medical conditions 

A physical examination may also be carried out. 

It may be found that your symptoms do not have a worrying cause and that no treatment will be required. Other conditions may require further investigation to help with diagnosis. This will often be by 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. 

Depending on your symptoms, you may need to have a Gastroscopy, a Colonoscopy, or an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). If any of these are needed, they will be arranged for you at BMI The Hampshire Clinic as soon as possible. They cannot be carried out on the same day, as they require some preparation beforehand (a colonoscopy for example needs the bowel completely emptied and clear). 

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

Both these investigations give your Consultant an excellent opportunity to carefully examine the relevant part of the GI tract for any abnormalities, such as swellings, bumps, lumps or narrowings, or areas of possible concern.  

  • An ERCP is used to examine the bile ducts, gall bladder, and pancreas. It is primarily used to investigate and treat blockages within the bile ducts. These blockages are most commonly caused by a gallstone, which can often be removed by making a small cut at the lower end of the duct. Occasionally, a tumour may be causing the obstruction, in which case a stent can be placed in the duct to relieve the obstruction and keep the duct open.  

During all three of these procedures, a biopsy may be taken for further analysis if required.

Endoscopic procedures are occasionally uncomfortable. For a gastroscopy, a spray will often be used to reduce coughing and gagging. Many patients also choose to have an injection of a sedative to make things more comfortable. For a colonoscopy, an injection of a sedative and a pain-killing medication will often be used, but some people choose not to have sedation. Others will choose to have 'gas and air' (nitrous oxide) for pain relief instead. Your gastroenterologist will explain all available options to you beforehand so that you can choose what will be best for you.   

Other tests that may be needed include blood tests, liver function tests, MRI scan, CT scan, and ultrasound. All of these can be easily arranged for you if needed. 

Once your Consultant has confirmed a diagnosis, they will draw up a personalised treatment plan for you. Some conditions and diagnoses will require referral to another on-site specialist, and this is easily arranged. 

While many of the people who come to us for help live in and around Basingstoke, our proximity to the M3 and M25 motorways means it is very easy to travel to us from further afield.

When you choose to visit a Consultant Gastroenterologist at BMI The Hampshire Clinic, you will benefit from: 

  • Rapid access to a leading expert – Many GI symptoms can be concerning to experience and the last thing you will want it weeks (or months!) waiting to see somebody for help. We can arrange a private appointment for you without delay, with a highly experienced Consultant Gastroenterologist.  
  • 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 where clinically appropriate). 
  • A whole team approach – Your Consultant works closely with specialists in other areas such as General Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthetics and Oncology. This team approach ensures you will always see the most appropriate specialist for your specific requirements. 
  • Recommended by patients – In an independent survey, 98% of patients said they were likely or extremely likely to recommend us to family and friends.
  • Safe for complex procedures – Our on-site ICU allows us to carry out complex surgery in a safe environment. 
  • Location - Located in a picturesque village on the outskirts of Basingstoke, the hospital is close to both the M3 and M4 motorway. Our car park has 100 spaces and is free for patients and visitors. 

Whether you have a pre-existing GI condition that is not being managed by your current treatment plan or have new symptoms that are causing you concern, we can help you. For peace of mind and known expert care, please contact us to book your private Gastroenterology appointment today. 

 

Specialists Offering Gastroenterology

Dr Michael Reynolds

Consultant Physician & Gastroenterologist

BSc MBBS FRCP

BMI The Hampshire Clinic

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Dr Nadeem Afzal

Consultant Paediatrician & Gastroenterologist

MD, MBBS, MRCP, MRCPCH

BMI The Hampshire Clinic

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Mr Benjamin Knight

Consultant Oesophagogastric and Bariatric Surgeon

MbChB FRCS

BMI The Hampshire Clinic

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Dr John Ramage

Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist

MD FRCP

BMI The Hampshire Clinic

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Dr Tahir Akbar

Consultant Gastroenterologist

MRCP (Gastroenterology), MSc (Medical Leadership), MBBS

BMI The Hampshire Clinic

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