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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.

In the JAG accredited Endoscopy unit at BMI The Saxon Clinic in Milton Keynes, our experienced Consultant Gastroenterologists can provide you with comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. They will then talk with you about treatment options to help relieve your symptoms, either through medication, minor surgery, or an operation. If treatment is needed, this will be arranged for you at the earliest date.

If you would appreciate expert help for any concerning symptoms, a private consultation can help bring you clarity about the way forward. Why not contact us to arrange your visit today?  

Your digestive system is responsible for breaking the food you eat down into small enough parts for the body to absorb. It is also responsible for removing the waste products of food that cannot be used by the body. It does this by expelling them as faeces.

The digestive tract (also known as the gastrointestinal / GI tract) is a long hollow tube stretching from mouth to anus. It is commonly described in three different sections:

  • 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

If a problem occurs in any part of the digestive system, whether due to disease, damage, or illness, it can affect your overall health and may cause symptoms, some of which can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, or distressing to experience.

Symptoms that may be caused by 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, whether they have only recently started or you’ve had them for a longer time, it is sensible to seek medical advice. It may be found that there is nothing to worry about, which can be a relief. Other times, further investigations may be needed.

Many people with these symptoms will often see their GP first. If a diagnosis isn’t apparent, they will often refer to us for more in-depth investigation.

The Gastroenterology team at BMI The Saxon Clinic are specialists in this area and provide comprehensive investigation of any complaint or concern within the GI tract.

The complexity of the digestive system means that many conditions and problems affecting it can often have very similar symptoms. This means that getting the right diagnosis is extremely important, to ensure the correct treatment is given.

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

Early diagnosis of any of these conditions is important as it means you can get the help you need sooner.  

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

  • What symptoms do you have?
  • When did these symptoms first start?
  • Have your symptoms been getting more noticeable/severe?
  • Do any specific foods, drinks or activities make your symptoms worse?
  • Have you received any treatment already?
  • How is your general health? Do you have any underlying health conditions?

They may carry out a physical examination.

For many GI symptoms and conditions, further investigations may be needed to confirm a diagnosis. These may include blood tests, liver function tests, MRI, X-ray, or ultrasound (CT can be provided off-site), but the most common way of investigating the GI tract is with endoscopy.

An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at one end. The camera provides a real time image to an external screen. When moved along the GI tract, your consultant can carefully examine it, checking for any abnormalities, blockages, or narrowed areas.

Depending on your symptoms, your consultant may want to look at the upper part of the GI tract, the lower part, or the bile ducts and gall bladder.

  • A gastroscopy is used to examine the upper part of the GI tract. The endoscope is moved into your mouth and down your throat, into the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine).
  • A colonoscopy is used to examine the lower part of the GI tract. The endoscope is inserted into the rectum, moved through the large intestine and into the small intestine. 
  • An ERCP is used to investigate the bile ducts, gall bladder and pancreas. It can also be used to treat blockages within the bile ducts. These blockages are usually caused by a small stone. By making a small cut at the lower end of the duct, the stone will often be freed. For other blockages, a small stent (a thin tube) may be placed within the duct to help open it up and allow it to drain.

If any of these are required, they will be arranged for you at the earliest opportunity. All these investigations can also be used to take a small sample of tissue (biopsy) if needed, which is then sent away for examination under a microscope.

For gastroscopy, a throat spray can help to reduce discomfort and coughing, although some people choose to have an injection of a sedative.

For a colonoscopy, an injection of a sedative and a pain-killing medication is often used. If you have a sedative, there are certain restrictions (such as not being able to drive yourself home and not being alone in your house for a certain time). For this reason, some people opt to have nitrous oxide ('gas and air') instead. Your gastroenterologist will explain these options to you beforehand so that you can make the choice that’s right for you.

Your consultant will usually be able to talk with you about what the endoscopy showed soon afterwards, once the effects of any sedative have worn off. If a biopsy was taken, they will let you know the results as soon as they are back.

It may be that referral to another specialist is needed (for example, if it is determined that you would benefit from surgery to manage the symptoms caused by Crohn’s disease), this will be arranged for you quickly.

If you have any questions or concerns, your consultant will be very happy to discuss them with you. 

Many people are referred to a Consultant Gastroenterologist at BMI The Saxon Clinic by a GP, (often their personal GP but may also be from an online GP service), another healthcare professional, or their private medical insurance provider. You can also self-refer to avoid delay.

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

When you visit BMI The Saxon Clinic in Milton Keynes, you will benefit from:

  • Rapid access to assessment – When you have symptoms causing you concern, it can be a relief to know that you won’t have to wait for weeks (or even months) to see somebody. We can arrange a private appointment for you quickly, so that your symptoms can be investigated, diagnosed, and treated at an earlier stage.
  • Recommended by our patients – In an independent survey, 95.7% of patients said they were likely or highly likely to recommend us to family and friends.
  • JAG accredited - Our Private Endoscopy Unit is JAG accredited. This means is has been assessed as providing high-quality gastrointestinal endoscopy services.
  • Location - BMI The Saxon Clinic is easy to travel to and our car park is free* for patients and visitors. *Be sure to register your car at Reception when you arrive to validate your free parking. 

Specialists offering Gastroenterology

Miss Faryal Nizami

Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

MBBS, FCPS, FRCOG

BMI The Saxon Clinic

View profile Book online

Mr Niteen Tapuria

Consultant General, Laparoscopic and Hepatobiliary Surgeon

MBBS, MS, MD(RES), FRCS(Ed), FRCS(Intercollegiate UK)

BMI Hendon Hospital 2 more BMI The Saxon Clinic BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Yasseen Al-Nae'Eb

Consultant Gastroenterologist

MBchB, MRCP (UK), MRCP Gastroenterology

BMI The Saxon Clinic 1 more BMI The Manor Hospital

View profile Book online

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