If you need care, don’t delay. We’re open, safe and ready to care for you. During this time, it’s especially important to seek care for symptoms that concern you as well as manage chronic conditions.
Care is available in many ways, including video visits for digestive health care. You can talk with your gastroenterologist and receive the same personalized care, expert answers and a treatment plan tailored to you. We’re also offering in-person visits, phone visits and our 24/7 online clinic, virtuwell.com.
Due to a national shortage of testing supplies, in most cases a video visit must be scheduled prior to getting tested for COVID-19. If a doctor determines a COVID-19 test is needed, we’ll help you schedule it at one of our convenient drive-up testing locations. For more information on COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 information page.
Our award-winning doctors and care team are leading the way in digestive health, from working to prevent colon cancer to helping patients comfortably manage digestive conditions.
Knowing matters. We use the latest diagnostic and treatment techniques to get you answers and begin improving your gastrointestinal health.
From the first appointment, we’re here with a personalized treatment plan and a care team focused on you.
The human body is remarkably complex, and our digestive system is one of the most intricate and sensitive systems in our bodies. It can affect, and be affected by, nearly all of our other systems. For instance, do you ever get an upset stomach when you’re worried about something? That’s a result of the close relationship between your digestive and nervous systems.
Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating disorders of the digestive system. That includes conditions involving the esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, liver, small intestine and colon. They perform the regular screenings that keep you healthy, like colonoscopies, as well as treat gastrointestinal (or G.I.) disorders like Crohn’s disease. With so many systems involved in our digestive health, our gastroenterologists are experts at diagnosing and treating a variety of gastrointestinal disorders.
If you find yourself needing the care of a specialist, our award-winning digestive health experts are here to help.
Symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders may differ from person to person. People may experience stomach pain, constipation, blood in their stool, diarrhea or indigestion. Anytime you have a new or unusual symptom it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with one of our primary care doctors. Our primary care doctors are experts at diagnosing hundreds of conditions, and can treat digestive disorders or refer you to one of our specialists if needed.
Our doctors use a variety of methods to diagnose digestive health conditions. It’s common for doctors to ask questions about your symptoms and your family’s health history. We may also conduct a physical exam and order a blood test to gather more information.
Additional tests may be ordered as needed to help determine the cause of your symptoms. Lab tests often involve gathering a stool sample and testing for hidden blood or abnormal bacteria. Imaging tests – like CT scans, ultrasounds and MRIs – take diagnostic pictures of your organs. Endoscopic procedures involve inserting an endoscope, a tube with a small light and camera on the end, to examine the digestive tract. We use a variety of sedation options as needed to help keep you comfortable during the procedure.
Once we make a diagnosis, we’ll be able to explain what’s causing your symptoms and begin working with you on a treatment plan.
Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of the digestive condition. Here are some of the most common treatment options.
Some digestive conditions can be improved by making changes to your diet and nutrition. Your doctor may recommend eating a healthier diet and increasing your exercise to help keep your digestive system on track. They may also advise avoiding certain foods that cause irritation, like spices and dairy. Doctors also commonly suggest taking a vitamin supplement or a probiotic, such as acidophilus, to provide your system with the nutrients and healthy bacteria it needs.
There are a wide range of medications and supplements for digestive conditions. Antibiotics are an effective treatment for bacterial and parasitic infections, while antacids are recommended for heartburn and acid reflux. For nausea and diarrhea there are several options to manage your symptoms. For autoimmune related conditions, anti-inflammatory drugs and immune system suppressors are commonly used.
Another treatment option is biologic therapy, also known as immunotherapy. These medications activate certain parts of the body’s immune system to treat a health condition using our natural defenses. Biologic therapy is an effective treatment for certain digestive conditions, including Crohn’s disease and Hepatitis C.
In some cases, the best treatment option is surgery. Examples of G.I. surgeries include appendix or gallbladder removal, treating hernias and blockages and removing damaged portions of the colon. Many procedures can now be done with minimally invasive techniques, such a laparoscopic surgery, which involves only a small incision and requires less time to heal.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer often don't appear until the cancer is advanced, so regular screenings help find it early, when treatment is most successful. We use tests, including colonoscopy and Fecal Immunochemical Tests (FITs), to screen for and prevent colorectal cancer.
When you have a colonoscopy your doctor looks at the lining of your rectum and colon through a thin, flexible tool called a colonscope. Usually you have this test one time every 10 years. Your clinician will give you specific instructions to prepare your colon for the procedure. Following these instructions exactly is important. If you do not prepare properly, your colonoscopy may need to be rescheduled for a later date.
A FIT test checks stool samples for blood, which is a possible sign of cancer. This test is done at home and then you send a stool sample in the mail to your lab. This test is done once per year. If your test shows blood in your stool, we’ll connect with you and help you schedule a colonoscopy.
We provide patients with customized, high-quality care with a full range of G.I. services. Our digestive health specialists can:
We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.
Not sure what your insurance covers? Call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.
Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started: