One of the most crucial parts of your body is your digestive system, and keeping it running at optimal efficiency is essential towards maintaining your health. Letting your digestive system deteriorate can lead to both embarrassing and serious results, but dealing with digestive disorders on your own might be overwhelming at times.
At the Gastro Center of NJ, we prioritize your digestive health. Our highly trained professional gastroenterologists treat our patients with the most modern approaches and the most advanced medical technologies. We work towards accommodating the unique needs of every patient. We understand the value of health and happiness for your body and mind.
Theodore A. DaCosta, MD
Theodore A. DaCosta, MD is an award-winning gastroenterologist and specialist in Internal Medicine who has worked in his fields of medicine for over 29 years. An expert in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions involving the digestive/gastrointestinal (GI) tract, Dr. Dacosta treats patients experiencing any number of stomach issues, some of which might be severe diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, ulcers, Crohn's disease, ulcers and more.
Understanding Gastroenterology and the
Treating all pains associated with your stomach, food, and digestion.
Gastroenterology is the study and care of organs in the gastrointestinal system, the internal network that digests food in the body. This includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, large intestine (or colon), small intestine, anus. This is also known as your digestive tract.
But there are many things that can go wrong with the gastrointestinal organs. The digestive system is constantly at work turning the food and drink you put into your body into smaller parts. Carbohydrates become simple sugars, proteins become amino acids, and fats become glycerol and fatty acids. These nutrients are broken down, absorbed, and turned into growth and energy.
Simply put, every organ in the digestive system has a role in transporting the nutrients throughout your body and breaking them down. If any part starts to malfunction, you can experience a whole host of side effects, ranging from small issues to serious conditions.
Symptoms Related to Gastroenterology
Any discomfort in your chest, gut, bowels, and more.
If you are experiencing any of the following conditions or symptoms, then you probably have a problem with your gastrointestinal organs. These symptoms and pains include:
- Rectal Bleeding
- Acid reflux
- Irregular or unusual bowel movement
- Esophagael pain
- Excessive heartburn
- Bloody or pale stool
- Extended fatigue
- Vomiting, stomach pain
- Uncontrollable gassiness
- Weight loss
- Severe lack of appetite
- And more..
Is It Time to See a Gastroenterologist?
When must a patient see a stomach specialist instead of their primary care physician?
We understand that a visit to your nearest gastroenterology clinic or endoscopy center isn’t always your first choice when dealing with the symptoms above. In some cases you may think that an issue will simply go away on its own or not get worse. You may also not think to see a gastroenterologist until something even worse occurs.
However, a stomach specialist is best equipped to identify and treat the widest range of symptoms related to your GI tract. Early detection is critical to ensuring that your condition can be treated before it may become irreversible. Time is of the essence in many gastroenterology conditions.
Schedule your appointment now with our NJ Gastroenterologist. He will communicate with your regular physician, ensuring a supportive and continuous plan of care.
Routine Screenings and Outpatient Procedures for Digestive Health
A primary care physician isn’t equipped with the specialist technologies that a gastroenterologist will have, so physicians will refer patients to gastroenterologists when they need routine tests or certain procedures. These include:
A colonoscopy is generally given to those over the age of 45 to test for colorectal cancer. An endoscope is inserted through the patient’s GI tract and used to see the inside of the colon. This can also test for polyps.
This procedure utilizes a small camera that takes images from inside your digestive system. The camera is placed inside a capsule and swallowed.
Hemorrhoid ablation is a safe and non-invasive procedure that involves the use of infrared light to heal hemorrhoids. Infrared light is concentrated on the spot, which reduces the swelling of the wound and allows the skin to return to its natural state.
Upper Endoscopy: An upper endoscopy (or an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD) is a procedure that involves inserting a thin tube (or endoscope) into the esophagus, to study the stomach and other parts of the upper GI tract. We employ this procedure when evaluating conditions involving abdominal pain, heartburn, vomiting, and swallowing.
Anorectal Manometry: An Anorectal Manometry is a study performed to diagnose and treat signs of constipation or irregular bowel movements. By inspecting the muscles in your anus and rectum, physicians can find the underlying causes for fecal incontinence.
Already Diagnosed With Digestive Conditions
If you have already been diagnosed with any chronic digestive conditions, you will be required to regularly visit the gastroenterologist giving you care. If you experience any recurrence or worsening of a current digestive condition, informing your gastroenterologist immediately is highly recommended. Your stomach specialist will also be in communication with your other physicians.
FAQ: Common Questions
No, gastroenterologists only perform endoscopic procedures as part of a patient's treatment plan. Gastroenterologists have to refer to surgeons concerning surgical procedures.
If you want to learn more, visit: Gastroenterology: Gastrojournal
As you get older, your digestive system will begin to have greater and more complex issues. For individuals over the age of 45, or those who have relatives with digestive conditions, a specialist in gastroenterology is highly recommended. If you experience prolonged heartburn, constipation, or abdominal pain, you might have an issue with your GI tract.
Read more: What Is a Gastroenterologist?
Colon cancer is definitely preventable, as long as the polyps are detected and removed before they lead to colon cancer. This is done through a colonoscopy.
Your primary care physician should have all medical records. Ask them to send these to your preferred NJ gastroenterologist.
Sedatives can take an entire day to wear off which is why it's crucial that you have someone to drive you home after the procedure. You will be permitted to eat normally, unless recommended otherwise. Some patients report bloating and gassiness due to the air passing through the colon. These side-effects will also wear off in a day or two.
Further reading: NJ Gastroenterologist: Self-Care After a Colonoscopy
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You can also visit our page: Gastroenterology of New Jersey: Patient Testimonials
"My regular doctor forwarded me to the Gastro Center for some intense pain I was feeling in my digestion. Dr. DaCosta saw me right away and figured out what was going wrong in my system. Not only did he help treat my condition, he also helped me figure out lifestyle changes to stop it from happening again."
"I’ve had sporadic stomach cramps and gassiness for as long as I can remember. For the longest time, I was convinced I had colon cancer. I went to Dr. DaCosta and he screened me immediately. The results came out negative but he was able to help me out in the end. Turns out I was experiencing severe episodic constipation so he recommended a new diet for me. I honestly feel so much better now thanks to him."