Call Us Today: 610-374-4401

Small Intestine Conditions

Celiac Sprue Disease

Also known as gluten sensitive enteropathy, this a condition that causes damage to the small intestine when foods containing gluten are eaten. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system acts inappropriately and forms antibodies to gluten which attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. This injury prevents proper absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Symptoms of celiac disease include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss. Malabsorption can result in weak bones, anemia, and malnutrition. The disease is treated by eliminating all gluten containing foods (wheat, rye, barley and oats) from the diet.

Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and even malnutrition.

Small Bowel Obstruction

A blockage of the small intestine. It prevents food, fluid and gas from passing normally through the digestive tract. Symptoms of small bowel obstruction include cramping abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, abdominal bloating and distension, and inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement. Possible causes of bowel obstruction include scar tissue from previous surgery (adhesions), hernias, tumors, radiation therapy, and Crohn's disease. Initial treatment typically includes hospitalization, intravenous fluids, and medications to relieve pain and nausea. A thin plastic tube may be passed through the nose into the stomach (NG tube) to remove fluid and gas trapped above the obstruction. If these measures are not effective surgery may be necessary to relieve the obstruction.

Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome

This condition is associated with an increased number and/or type of bacteria in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Affected patients may have one or more symptoms including bloating, abdominal discomfort, watery diarrhea and weight loss. Damage to the small intestine may occur and interfere with absorption of nutrients and vitamins. Small bowel bacterial overgrowth may result from structural abnormalities such as diverticula (outpouchings), or strictures (narrowing), abnormal motility, or motor function from diseases such as diabetes, scleroderma, Crohn's Disease, or from prior gastrointestinal surgery. Treatment includes eliminating any condition which may predispose the patient to bacterial overgrowth and antibiotics to reduce the number of bacteria.

Duodenal Ulcer

These ulcers are open sores on the lining of the duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine). Patients with an ulcer often complain of a burning or gnawing pain in the upper abdomen, especially after eating. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, or bleeding from vomiting, or passing black or bloody stools. Duodenal ulcers most commonly occur in patients taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or in people infected with a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Duodenal ulcers may be complicated by bleeding, perforation (a hole through the wall of the intestine), or stricture formation (a narrowing). Duodenal ulcers are easily treated by medications which reduce acid production.