UCLA Health Digestive Diseases
- Digestive disorder treatment
- Nutrition program
- Clinical trials and studies
- Colorectal cancer screening
- Endoscopy and colonoscopy
“Take time every day to focus on yourself.”
Chun X. Hsu, MD: Gastroenterologists treat a variety of disorders involving the gastrointestinal tract. These include upper GI tract diseases such as acid reflux, stomach ulcers and celiac disease, as well as lower GI tract disorders such as constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Gastroenterologists also evaluate liver diseases, such as fatty liver and hepatitis, and evaluate and treat biliary and pancreatic disorders, including pancreatitis and pancreatic cysts. We perform a range of GI procedures, including upper GI endoscopy and colonoscopy.
Nimah Ather, MD: There are many everyday things, both dietary and non-dietary, that patients can do to support good gut health. Try to manage stress, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and consistently exercise. Eat a plant-based diet that is high in fiber, without too many processed foods that contain excessive fat or sugar. Take time every day to focus on yourself, realizing that almost everything is OK in moderation.
Kavya M. Reddy, MD: Heartburn is a common problem caused by regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus—the swallowing tube that connects the mouth and the stomach. Heartburn can often be eliminated by avoiding triggers, such as smoking, alcohol, excessive caffeine, meals within three hours of bedtime and carbonated beverages. It’s important to treat heartburn to prevent complications such as inflammation in the esophagus (esophagitis), narrowing in the esophagus (strictures), Barrett’s esophagus, which refers to precancerous changes, and esophageal cancer.
Didi Mwengela, MD: It’s important for patients to start preventive colorectal cancer screenings at the appropriate time. While the age to start screening depends on personal and family history, most patients should start talking to their doctors about this at age 45. Finding and removing precancerous polyps during a colonoscopy can help prevent colon cancer. Your doctor can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing precancerous polyps during a colonoscopy. Colorectal cancer screening can also improve outcomes by identifying cancer at an earlier stage, when it is treatable.
Melissa Munsell, MD: If a patient is anxious about the bowel preparation for a colonoscopy, we discuss different bowel prep medications available and help choose the best fit for them. If they are anxious about the actual procedure, I remind them that colonoscopy is a safe and effective test when performed by a trained gastroenterologist, and that a sedative is used to make sure they’re comfortable throughout the procedure. My patients often tell me that the entire process was easier than they expected. They feel accomplished when they’re finished and at ease because they’ve taken this important step to support their health.