Multiple treatments available in Brooklyn for many types of abdominal pain
Abdominal pain may present as acute or chronic, and it can be a symptom of a life-threatening condition. Accurate diagnosis is essential to arriving at a strategy of treatments that relieves your discomfort and help to restore the quality of life. Dr. Alexander Shapsis and his team at Atlantic Gastroenterology provide that expertise at two locations in Brooklyn.
Recognizing an emergency could save your life
Gastroenterology is the area of medicine focused on the treatment of the gastrointestinal tract – basically, the path food takes into and out of the body. Atlantic Gastroenterology is well-equipped for testing and treatment of diseases affecting the digestive tract, and we are known for finding answers to long-standing problems.
However, other grave disorders can present as abdominal pain. In these situations, immediate attention at the nearest hospital emergency department is necessary:
- Severe and sudden abdominal pain
- Vomiting or diarrhea with significant blood
- Inability to move bowels (especially with vomiting)
- Pain in the chest, neck, shoulder, or between shoulder blades
- Tender abdomen that feels hard to the touch
- Mental confusion
These can be signs of abdominal aortic aneurysm, a weak spot on a large blood vessel. Without urgent treatment it could rupture, leading to internal bleeding and shock. Acute symptoms may also be related to a ruptured appendix, intestinal blockage, ectopic pregnancy, food poisoning, or heart attack.
Please be safe – your wellbeing is our top priority. Call 911 if the above symptoms occur abruptly. For all other cases of abdominal pain, schedule an appointment at Atlantic Gastroenterology.
Effective treatments in Brooklyn begin with identifying abdominal pain
You have probably seen old movies where the sage family doctor asks, “Where does it hurt?” That is actually the best place to start in isolating the cause of abdominal pain. The specific location of your discomfort – at the belly button, high up or low in the abdomen, on the right or left, or transient – gives the doctor a strong idea of the organ at the source of the problem.
Dr. Shapsis has an unhurried discussion with you about other facets of your pain. When did it start? Is it intermittent or constant? Does eating or a certain food aggravate it? What positions (bending, sitting, standing, lying down) are most uncomfortable? The consultation will also delve into lifestyle and medical history factors that could be relevant.
In addition to palpation (hands-on examination), x-rays, or 3D imaging, the doctor may schedule advanced diagnostics, such as:
- Colonoscopy – Maybe you have had a colonoscopy performed on a preventive screening basis. The test can also be beneficial in pinpointing a lower intestinal cause of belly pain.
- Endoscopic ultrasound – Sound waves create visible images showing abnormalities such as cysts, tumors, fistulas, stones, and other conditions present in the digestive tract, pancreas, and related areas.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy – The device consists of a slender, flexible tube with a camera at the tip. It gives the doctor a view of the inside of the rectum and the last few feet of large intestine, to explore possible causes of your abdominal pain.
- Hydrogen breath test – Hydrogen levels in exhaled air are a good marker of gastrointestinal disease. Balanced bacterial populations throughout the gastrointestinal tract are vital for healthy digestion. When this balance is disrupted, anaerobic bacteria (which generate hydrogen) overpopulate in the colon. This can be an indicator of an underlying digestive deficiency that allows food to move, unabsorbed, to the lower intestine.
- Liver biopsy – Usually performed with a needle placed with ultrasound-assisted precision. The biopsy can reveal a number of liver diseases that may cause abdominal pain.
- Upper endoscopy – A tiny camera on a thin tube lets the doctor examine your upper intestinal tract, without surgery. He may recommend this test to detect inflammation, seeping blood vessels, polyps, or other abnormalities. Biopsies can also be taken in this manner.
- Wireless capsule – It sounds like space-age medicine, and it is! Simply swallow a vitamin-sized camera to generate countless images of the entire length of the digestive tract. It is an especially good method to evaluate the health of small intestines.
This level of advanced diagnosis avoids a trial and error approach where you could take unnecessary medications and remain in discomfort. Once the source of abdominal pain has been accurately assessed, it can be addressed most effectively. Your personalized treatment plan may involve dietary and lifestyle adjustments, pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, or other medications. In some cases (hernia, infected organs, intestinal blockages), surgery could be necessary.
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