Given the complexity of the GI tract and the variety of symptoms possible, your Consultant will want to work out what is causing your specific symptoms as soon as possible.
When you meet with them, they will take a detailed medical history and will ask you about your symptoms. They will want to know:
- What symptoms you have?
- When these symptoms first appeared?
- Whether your symptoms have become progressively worse?
- If anything (food, movement etc.) causes your symptoms to flare up?
- Whether you have any particular concerns about your symptoms (for example, are you worrying that you may have bowel cancer?)
Hernias are usually quite straightforward to diagnose, as your Consultant will be able to see a visible lump where the hernia is.
Surface skin lesions may be referred to our colleagues in Dermatology, although if it is just under the skin, we may be able to look at a simple excision to remove it.
Many GI tract symptoms are best investigated with endoscopy. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at the end. When it is introduced into the body, either at the mouth (for a Gastroscopy) or via the rectum (for a Colonoscopy), it provides excellent views of that part of the GI tract, allowing your Consultant to look for any abnormalities, swellings or areas of concern.
A small sample of tissue (biopsy) may be taken during this procedure, which will then be sent away for further analysis.
You will normally be given some sedation for a Gastroscopy or Colonoscopy. While they aren’t painful, they may be a bit uncomfortable.
In addition to endoscopy and biopsy, other investigations that may be used to aid diagnosis include blood tests, MRI scan, CT scan and Ultrasound. These are all easily arranged for you on-site at The Meriden Hospital if required.
Once the results of any investigations are back, your Consultant will draw up a personalised treatment plan for your condition. Treatment may involve:
Whatever treatment you require, your Consultant will discuss it with you so that you know what to expect, the benefits you should expect to see and any risk or potential complications you should be aware of before making a decision. If you have any questions or concerns, they will be very happy to talk these through with you.