When you meet with your Consultant at The Manor, they will take a detailed medical history and talk with ask you to talk to them about your symptoms. They will want to know:
- What your symptoms are and when they first appeared
- If your symptoms have been getting worse
- Whether any particular things like food, drink or activity, trigger your symptoms or cause them to flare up
- If you have received any treatment already, such as medications prescribed by your GP / pharmacist
Hernias are usually straightforward to diagnose, as a visible lump can often be seen. However, they may need imaging to confirm.
Many conditions affecting the GI tract are best investigated using endoscopy. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at the end. The camera transmits a real time video to an external screen.
A gastroscopy is used to examine the upper part of the GI tract. The endoscope is introduced into the body through the mouth and moved down the oesophagus, then into the stomach and the first part of the small intestine (known as the duodenum).
A colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy is used to examine the lower part of the GI tract. The endoscope is inserted via the rectum and moved along the large bowel.
During either investigation, your Consultant will look for any abnormalities such as a swelling, lump or narrowing in the GI tract. If anything unusual is seen, a biopsy may be done. This involves taking a small sample of tissue, which is then sent away to be analysed under a microscope. If polyps are seen they may be removed immediately or they may need a further specialist procedure to remove.
While neither a Gastroscopy or a Colonoscopy are painful, they may be uncomfortable, and you will normally be offered some sedation to make things more comfortable. If you’d prefer not to have any sedation, gas & air (nitrous oxide) can also be used.
Further investigations may also be carried out, including blood tests, MRI scan, CT scan or ultrasound. These can all be arranged for you by your Consultant when required. Please note that some investigations (such as MRI/CT/endoscopy) will be done off-site.
Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, your Consultant will discuss treatment options with you. Treatments for GI tract conditions fall into one of three categories:
- Watchful waiting / surveillance
- Surgery – may be open or laparoscopic (keyhole)
Treatment will always be tailored to your specific requirements to provide you with the best result possible. If you have any questions or concerns at any time, your Consultant will be very happy to talk these through with you to make sure you are happy with your treatment plan.