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Rapid diagnosis and treatment for chronic disorders of the digestive system

Any abnormal symptoms of the digestive system require specialist investigation. With a JAG-accredited Endoscopy unit on-site, The Mount Alvernia Hospital delivers the necessary care in a state-of-the-art environment to bring you an accurate diagnosis and individualised treatment plan, without unnecessary delay.

Although there can be overlap with General Surgery at the diagnostic stage, gastroenterology primarily focuses on medical treatment of conditions related to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract consists of the stomach, intestines, rectum, and anus, and when problems arise in one of these areas, the entire GI tract can be affected. 

As such, symptoms can be very varied. You should consider seeing a consultant gastroenterologist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Signs of anaemia
  • Reflux
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool
  • Changes in bowel habits

These could indicate a number of conditions, such as: 

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Liver disease

With such a wide crossover between symptoms, an accurate diagnosis at the earliest opportunity is vital. Our consultants at The Mount Alvernia Hospital can see you at your convenience for all the necessary diagnostic scans and tests, aiming to bring you rapid relief from your symptoms. 

The primary aim for our consultants in Gastroenterology is to ensure that your symptoms don’t infringe on your quality of life. Your care is personalised at every step throughout the treatment process, with regular follow-ups to suit your needs.

For those with chronic issues, the goal is to get you into remission, where you are exhibiting no symptoms, but there will undoubtedly be flare ups periodically, and the severity of these can differ hugely from patient to patient. With treatment plans being regularly reviewed, our consultants at The Mount Alvernia Hospital will help you manage each flare up as it comes, ensuring you are receiving the most appropriate treatment at each stage.

Gastroenterologists rarely perform surgery, instead focusing on medical treatments and ways of managing your conditions. This is especially important for chronic conditions for which there may be no cure, instead relying on medications and lifestyle changes to better manage and/or reduce your symptoms.

Lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your condition, and many patients are able to function normally by making changes such as:

  • Dietary adjustments (with help from our own dietitian to produce a personalised diet plan) 
  • Regular exercise
  • Staying well hydrated
  • Cutting down on stress where possible
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol

The diagnosis element of Gastroenterology is often the main focus for consultants, primarily as patients tend to feel some relief just from knowing what is causing their symptoms. As such, Mount Alvernia offers extensive diagnostics, including a dedicated Endoscopy unit for more thorough investigations. 

Two endoscopic procedures are used regularly to investigate and assess symptoms of the GI tract:

  • Colonoscopy 
  • Gastroscopy

These both involve the use of an endoscope; a small, thin, flexible tube with a camera and light on the end, introduced into the body to help your surgeon investigate your symptoms. For a Gastroscopy, the tube is passed down the back of your throat to help visualise the gullet and the lining of your stomach. 

A Colonoscopy involves the endoscope being passed through the rectum into the colon to examine the bowel and look for inflammation or other abnormalities. Sometimes, biopsies are taken during the procedure and sent away for further analysis. Your bowel needs to be prepared beforehand, usually with laxatives administered the day before. 

Your initial consultation at Mount Alvernia will begin with your consultant taking a detailed medical history. They may ask you questions such as:

  • What symptoms have you been experiencing?
  • How long have you had these symptoms?
  • Are you in pain? If so, can you describe the pain? Is it a constant or intermittent pain?
  • Have you had similar issues in the past?
  • Does anything exacerbate your symptoms or cause a flare-up?
  • Are you currently taking any medication?

This will most likely be followed by a physical examination, where your consultant will wish to assess the symptoms you’ve mentioned.

For bowel or peri-anal symptoms, your consultant may perform a proctoscopy (to examine the rectum and anus) or sigmoidoscopy (to look at the lower part of the large intestine).

Certain diagnostic scans may be required for further investigation, especially if your consultant wishes to look for a structural cause for your symptoms, such as a tumour. This could include:

  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI

All of these scans are available in our on-site Imaging department. Blood tests may be required as they are useful for diagnosing specific inflammatory diseases, and these can be sent away to our lab for analysis. Specialist tests can be arranged for a later date, such as an endoscopic procedure like a colonoscopy or gastroscopy, which can be performed in our dedicated Endoscopy unit.

Once a full diagnosis has been made, your consultant will meet with you again to discuss your results, giving you a clear and concise outline of your condition as well as your personalised treatment plan. 

By choosing to have your treatment at Mount Alvernia, you’ll be able to take advantage of all these great benefits: 

Assessments ASAP – If your quality of life has been affected by your abdominal symptoms, you’ll want to be seen by a consultant without any delay. By seeing patients rapidly, our consultants can get you started on the right course of treatment as soon as possible.

Patient satisfaction – 98% of patients in 2020 said they would happily recommend The Mount Alvernia Hospital to friends and family in an independent report, and we’re confident that you’ll agree. 98% also said that the quality of care here at Mount Alvernia Hospital was either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. We aim to make your stay with us as comfortable as possible, and these results highlight our continued efforts to ensure this is achieved. 

JAG accreditation – Mount Alvernia’s Endoscopy department has achieved Joint Advisory Group (JAG) accreditation, providing quality assurance for all procedures carried out here, with the latest 4K resolution endoscopes used by our specialists. This national body assesses the endoscopy services delivered to patients from the start of their journey, to surgery and aftercare during recovery. With JAG accreditation as a seal of approval, you can be confident that the highest standard of care will be delivered.

Same day surgery – Most of the procedures performed in Gastroenterology can be done on a day case basis, providing a ‘one stop shop’ for various issues. With patients able to return home on the same day, this efficient service saves you time and cuts down on unnecessary extra journeys. 

A multidisciplinary approach – Our teams at Mount Alvernia work in tandem with each other to provide you with the best possible care from start to finish. Your consultants will work closely with general surgeons, oncologists, gynaecologists and urologists, as well as a dedicated team of radiographers, anaesthetists, and nurses to ensure you have support from medical professionals every step of the way during your treatment.

Convenient appointments – With appointments available at dedicated clinics five days a week, you are sure to find an appointment slot that suits your needs and availability.

If you’ve been experiencing abdominal pain, why not get in touch to book a consultation? Our consultants can organise the necessary diagnostic tests to investigate your symptoms, and outline all treatment options for you promptly, arranging any further scans or surgery if required.

For peace of mind and expert care, please contact Mount Alvernia to book an appointment now. 

Specialists offering Gastroenterology

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Dr Prayman Sattianayagam

Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist

MA(Cantab), MBBChir, MD, FRCP

Mount Alvernia Hospital

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Mr Nima Abbassi-Ghadi

Consultant General & Oesophago-Gastric Surgeon


Mount Alvernia Hospital

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Dr Stephen M E Evans

Consultant Physician & Gastroenterologist


The Runnymede Hospital 2 more The Princess Margaret Hospital Mount Alvernia Hospital

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Prof Aftab Ala

Consultant Gastroenterologist Endoscopist & Hepatologist

MB BS, FRCP, MD, PhD, CCST (Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine)

Mount Alvernia Hospital

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Mr Pritam Singh

Consultant General & Oesophago-Gastric Surgeon


Mount Alvernia Hospital

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Dr Debabrata (Deb) Majumdar

Consultant Gastroenterologist

MBBS(Hons.), MD(Res.), MD (Med.), FRCP

Mount Alvernia Hospital 1 more The Runnymede Hospital

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