Gastroenterology specialists in Caldwell, Idaho

Gastroenterology is a medical specialty that involves the treatment of the digestive — or gastrointestinal — tract. Gastroenterologists treat diseases of the digestive system, a number of organs that begin with the mouth and end at the rectum. Some gastrointestinal disorders include irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux. Our digestive health doctors at West Valley Medical Center provide the comprehensive diagnosis and treatment you need to improve your quality of life.

If you are experiencing persistent stomach pain or other gastrointestinal symptoms, please call (208) 455-3981 to make an appointment with our physicians.

Your digestive health

Everyone faces digestive health issues on occasion. Problems such as gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea and constipation can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. These symptoms are typically not serious and often go away on their own. However, when common digestive ailments persist and begin to affect your everyday life, they could be an indicator of deeper digestive health problems. Our doctors in Caldwell, Idaho can help. The Center for Digestive Health at West Valley Medical Center is staffed with providers who are highly trained in diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal (GI) issues.

If you are experiencing prolonged, uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea, severe abdominal pain or a high fever that doesn't improve with medication, please seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible.

GI conditions we treat

Here are some of the common GI conditions and diseases that our exemplary gastroenterologists can diagnose and treat:

  • Celiac disease — an autoimmune disorder that causes a reaction when eating gluten
  • Diverticulitis — when small pouches (diverticula) in the intestines become inflamed or infected
  • Gallbladder disorders — including gallstones, gallbladder disease and cholecystitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — when stomach acid travels up the esophagus, causing coughing, wheezing, burping or chest pain
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — a group of conditions that cause chronic inflammation of the digestive tract
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) — chronic symptoms include diarrhea, bloating, cramping and indigestion
  • Peptic ulcers — open sores developed on the lining of the stomach, esophagus and small intestine, causing stomach pain

Heartburn, acid reflux and GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux — also known as acid reflux — occurs when the stomach contents back up into the esophagus or mouth. Reflux is a normal process and most episodes are brief and do not cause lasting symptoms or complications. Heartburn is one symptom of acid reflux that causes a burning sensation in the chest that typically fades quickly. It can, however, lead to more complicated conditions if left untreated. Heartburn may lead to acid reflux, a hiatal hernia or GERD, and GERD may affect the vocal cords and lungs and cause permanent damage to the esophagus.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is more severe and frequent with different symptoms. People with GERD have symptoms such as coughing, trouble swallowing, persistent burping and chest pain, which appear multiple times a week.

Often heartburn can be alleviated by eating low acidic foods, taking over-the-counter medications or eating at least a couple of hours before sleeping. GERD, on the other hand, may require prescription medication or reflux surgery to eliminate symptoms.

Heartburn symptoms

You can determine whether you have heartburn if you occasionally have the following symptoms:

  • Burning in the chest area, neck and sometimes the jaw
  • Chest pain, especially after eating, bending over or lying down
  • Hot, sour, acidic or salty-tasting fluid at the back of the throat

GERD symptoms

The symptoms of GERD are more widespread and occur more often. They include:

  • Chronic dry cough
  • Earaches
  • Feeling like there is a lump in your throat
  • Frequent eructation (burping)
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Laryngitis or a hoarse voice
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Sudden increase in saliva
  • Weight loss
  • Worsened asthma

GERD and acid reflux treatment

Our physicians use tests such as esophageal manometry or ambulatory 24-hour pH-Z monitoring to diagnose acid reflux. When dietary and lifestyle changes, nonprescription and prescription medications do not control acid reflux, surgical treatment is available:

  • Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication — the most common procedure that involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the lower end of the esophagus
  • Transoral incision-less fundoplication — re-creates an anti-reflux valve and tightens the lower esophageal sphincter

Both of these procedures are minimally invasive surgery (MIS). The benefits of MIS include less pain, lower complication rates, faster recovery and reduced scarring.

GI treatments we provide

Digestive treatments may include lifestyle changes, medication and, in some cases, surgical procedures. However, the first step in restoring your digestive health is to let our digestive health specialists assess your symptoms.

Colon cancer prevention

Are you older than 45 years old? Are you younger than 45, but have a family history of polyps or colon cancer? Then it may be time for a colonoscopy — the only screening test that can detect colon cancer early. When diagnosed early, colon cancer is 90 percent preventable.

At West Valley we make colonoscopy screenings convenient for you. Our physicians and staff will do everything to respect your privacy and provide personalized attention while you are with us. Your colonoscopy should take less than 30 minutes, but you can plan to be in our facility for about two hours.

You will be given mild sedation or anesthesia for your comfort. Typically, you can return to normal activity and work the next day.

Here are a few colon cancer facts you should know:

  • Most people diagnosed with colon cancer have no family history of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Colon cancer occurs in women just as often as it does in men.
  • Each year, nearly 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer with more than 52,000 deaths, according to the National Cancer Institute.
  • Most insurance plans (including Medicare) cover screening colonoscopies.
Don't wait — schedule a colonoscopy at West Valley today by calling (208) 453-4206.