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Better care, better outcomes for your gastrointestinal health.

Highly Specialized Teams

Our specialists have expertise across digestive and liver conditions and are recognized leaders in minimally invasive diagnostic tests and treatments to promote recovery.

Integrated Care

As one of the top academic healthcare centers in the nation, UW Medicine is at the forefront of treatment, and our clinicians collaborate across disciplines to develop individualized plans for simple and complex disorders.

GI Health for All

Our mission is to provide digestive care for everyone, and we work across ages and populations to improve health and quality of life with compassion, skill and innovation.

Featured Provider

Meet the provider: John Inadomi, M.D.

Dr. Inadomi went to M.I.T. for biomechanical engineering before pursuing a medical career in gastroenterology care, education and research. His research interests include studying the socio-economic variations in cancer-screening costs.

Some of our common services:

In Barrett's esophagus, the healthy cells that line your food pipe get replaced by abnormal cells, which can increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) increases your chances of developing this condition. Our gastroenterology specialists have the expertise to diagnose and treat this disease and the underlying GERD. They also use minimally invasive techniques to detect and treat early esophageal cancer.

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Viruses, bacteria and parasites can infect the GI tract and cause inflammation of the stomach and small intestine, as well as symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. UW Medicine gastroenterologists specialize in diagnosing and treating simple and complex GI infections using the latest evidence-based approaches.

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Liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma, is the second most deadly cancer worldwide. Surgical, medical and radiation oncologists, along with radiologists at our Center for Advanced Minimally Invasive Liver Oncologic Therapy (CAMILOT), have pioneered minimally invasive approaches for treating this and other cancers affecting the liver. They are also working on new ways to diagnose, treat and even prevent these cancers. Our providers are members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) committee that sets guidelines for treatment of these cancers. Patients receive a personalized evaluation through our Liver Tumor Clinic, and our patients’ peri-operative and long-term outcomes are significantly better than the national average.

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Benign anorectal disorders are common but painful conditions that affect the anal region, such as hemorrhoids, fissures, and abscesses. Our colorectal services team evaluates these conditions so that they can be effectively diagnosed and treated before they have a chance to get worse.

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GERD is a digestive disorder that occurs when gastric acid from your stomach backs up into your food pipe, or esophagus. Many people experience a burning sensation (heartburn) as a result, but GERD may also manifest itself as symptoms in the throat and lung from aspiration. Our gastroenterology surgical specialists have decades of experience diagnosing and treating simple and complex cases of GERD. We offer advanced testing to understand heartburn symptoms, and our esophageal surgeons are expert in providing individualized treatment to patients with complex symptoms or difficult-to-control GERD.

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One technique used to treat GERD is magnetic sphincter augmentation (MSA). Conducted via the LINX Reflux Management System, MSA is a minimally invasive treatment for patients with GERD symptoms that persist despite daily anti-acid medication. The LINX system consists of magnetic titanium beads connected by a wire and placed around the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to strengthen LES closure while allowing food and liquid to pass through. MSA is intended to improve quality of life and reduce symptoms without changing anatomy or function.

Good nutrition is important for your treatment, recovery and health maintenance. Our registered dieticians work closely with you and your care team to help optimize your nutrition in and out of the hospital.

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The gallbladder is a small, sac-like organ that stores and releases bile, which helps break down fat during digestion. Rarely, bile ducts can develop tumors or become injured during gallbladder surgery. Our team specializes in evaluating bile duct conditions such as stones, tumors or injuries and offers minimally invasive treatment options.

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A hernia occurs when part of an organ goes through an opening in the muscle wall around it. There are many types of hernias, and hernia repair is among the most common of surgical procedures—one in four men develops an inguinal hernia in his lifetime. The experts at our Surgical Services & Hernia Center have significant experience in both open and laparoscopic repair, and have easy access to specialists in bariatrics, nutrition, diabetes, plastic surgery and others to improve your outcome.

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There are a variety of disorders of the pancreas including pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. The pancreas plays a key role in digestion, and these disorders can be painful, debilitating and even life-threatening.

Our team of pancreatic disease specialists includes GI physicians, surgeons, dietitians and radiologists, all providing expert care with great outcomes, often using minimally invasive techniques.

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Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most lethal cancer in the United States. Surgical, medical and radiation oncologists, along with gastroenterologists, radiologists, nurses, genetic counselors, dieticians, palliative and spiritual care experts, provide a comprehensive evaluation to devise a personalized treatment plan for our patients. Treatment options include endoscopic procedures by our gastroenterologists, chemotherapy and/or radiation on clinical trials, minimally invasive robotic surgery and immunotherapy. Our pancreas tumor team continually sets new standards of care in early detection, diagnosis and treatment based on the latest research.

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If you have celiac disease, your immune system reacts when you eat foods that contain gluten by attacking the lining of your small intestine. As a result, you can experience nutrient loss and symptoms such as diarrhea or abdominal discomfort. Our digestive health specialists are skilled at diagnosing this disorder and helping you manage it.

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Inflammatory bowel disease refers to two conditions—Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis—that are characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Symptoms often include abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss and fatigue. Our inflammatory bowel disease team evaluates patients and offers a wide range of therapeutic options, including clinical trials for treatments not available elsewhere.

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Crohn's

Colitis

Visit our health library to learn more about digestive conditions and to help you make the best choices for your health and care.

Get informed

Sometimes, disorders of the colon, rectum, anus or pelvic floor require surgery, especially when noninvasive treatments haven't worked. If you need surgery, you can rely on our team of experienced, highly specialized surgeons to provide advanced treatment tailored to your unique needs.

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Intestinal failure occurs—typically either from inflammation (IBD) or trauma—when a person's intestines can't digest food and absorb the nutrients needed to maintain good health. For people with intestinal dysfunction or failure, our Intestinal Care and Transplantation Clinic provides comprehensive care to restore digestive function, including the only intestinal transplant program available in the Pacific Northwest.

To refer a patient for an assessment or for more information, call 206.598.3300.

UW Medicine recognizes that support is an important part of your care beyond treatment.  Support groups and community resources can help you and your loved ones through your medical journey and recovery.

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Our gastroenterologists are skilled at evaluating a wide variety of digestive conditions using safe, effective, minimally invasive screening procedures such as colonoscopy and upper endoscopy. We strive to make our screenings as comfortable as possible by providing detailed information, soothing environments and medications for pain and anxiety.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome is one of the most common functional GI disorders and causes symptoms including abdominal pain or discomfort, cramps, bloating and a change in bowel habits. Indigestion or upper abdominal pain is another common functional Gi disorder. Our gastroenterologists and specialists in functional GI disorders deliver appropriate, individualized treatment for these common problems.

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The pelvic floor is a layer of muscles that spans the bottom of the pelvis. Problems with these muscles can result in incontinence, constipation, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction. Our pelvic health team provides a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor conditions.

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In diverticular disease, small pouches bulge out through weak spots in your colon. Diverticulosis means that you have these pouches, and diverticulitis occurs when they become infected. Our experts are at the forefront of research, diagnosis and management of diverticular disease.

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Because your liver plays a central role in your body's metabolic processes, liver disease can affect your quality of life and even be life-threatening. Our liver care team is nationally recognized for expertise across the spectrum of liver diseases and offers a full range of treatment options.

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This type of hepatitis occurs when your body's immune system attacks your liver cells, causing inflammation and liver damage. Our expert hepatologists use advanced tests and treatments to detect and help control this disease, as well as to reduce or eliminate symptoms.

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With acute liver failure, the liver suddenly loses the ability to function, usually as the result of overdose or poisoning. Chronic liver failure is more common and most often results from hepatitis, alcohol abuse or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Our liver care specialists are highly experienced at treating and managing both conditions.

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Acute

Chronic

Viral hepatitis occurs when you have contracted a virus that can inflame and damage your liver. Our hepatologists are at the forefront of research, diagnosis, treatment and management of all five types of the hepatitis virus. UW Medicine also has a Center of Excellence in Hepatitis C Research, which is one of of only four in the country and has made major contributions to the successful treatment of hepatitis C.

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Cirrhosis is a condition in which your liver is scarred and damaged. It causes impaired function and can lead to liver failure. Our liver care specialists have extensive experience diagnosing this progressive disease, identifying the specific cause and developing strategic treatment plans that can delay, stop or even reverse damage.

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Swallowing disorders can happen if there is a structural problem in the esophagus (food pipe). Swallowing can also become painful or difficult when the muscle contractions in your esophagus become irregular. These disorders are called esophageal motility disorders. 

Our gastroenterologists are expert at diagnosing and managing patients with swallowing disorders related to anatomic problems and other causes. UW Medicine is also a leader in the research, diagnosis, and management of esophageal motility disorders, with a Swallowing Center that is the largest of its type for studying the biomechanics of swallowing.

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Gastrointestinal cancer can affect any portion of the GI tract (digestive system). At UW Medicine, we have decades of experience detecting these cancers through screening and providing comprehensive, innovative and expert treatments. Our research-based therapies, imaging protocols and minimally invasive surgical techniques increase effectiveness and maximize patient comfort. As part of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which is consistently ranked among the top cancer centers in the nation, we offer the best care and outcomes in the region.

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This type of cancer starts in your esophagus, the 10-inch-long tube that carries food and liquid from your mouth to your stomach when you swallow. Like other types of cancer, it can spread to other organs, so early and effective diagnosis and treatment by experienced cancer specialists is important. This is a relatively uncommon cancer and is complicated to treat. UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance are among a small number of places with physicians who specialize in this particular type of cancer.

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Gastric cancer, or stomach cancer, begins in stomach cells. Our gastroenterology team can expertly diagnose your disease and provide the right treatment based on the type of tumor you have. This is a relatively uncommon cancer and is complicated to treat. UW Medicine's Esophageal and Gastric Surgery Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance are among a small number of centers in the country with physicians who specialize in this particular type of cancer. 

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Cancer of the colon and rectum are both referred to as colorectal cancer. Although it is the third most common type of cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death, it is often treatable. Our committed colorectal team provides prevention through screening procedures such as colonoscopy and consultation for patients at high risk for colorectal cancer, including those with a family history of this condition. We also provide a full range of treatments for colorectal cancer.

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Liver transplant can be life saving for people with liver failure. UW Medicine liver transplant surgeons have performed over 2,000 transplants since our program began in 1989. Our patients spend less time on the waitlist and have better survival rates before and after surgery compared to the national average. The liver transplant program offers consultation and lifelong treatment for patients, before and after liver transplantation.

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Weight loss can help improve your quality of life, boost your health and even reverse diabetes in some cases. For over 30 years, our weight loss management team has provided expert care that includes a nonsurgical weight loss program, as well as minimally invasive laparoscopic and open weight-loss procedures.

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If you experience significant changes in your physical or mental functions and fear you have a serious, life-threatening illness or injury that could require emergency medical, surgical or psychiatric attention, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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You can also go to urgent care for non-life-threatening illnesses and conditions.

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Health News You Can Use

Condition Spotlight

Barrett’s esophagus

Overview

In Barrett's esophagus, the healthy cells that line your food pipe get replaced by abnormal cells. The new cells take over when the lining of the esophagus is damaged, often because of prolonged acid reflux. Patients with Barrett's esophagus may have an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

Symptoms

Some patients with Barrett's esophagus have no symptoms. Others have symptoms caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), including heartburn, regurgitation or trouble swallowing. Barrett's esophagus also may look like other health problems, so always consult your healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors and causes

You are at greater risk of getting Barrett’s esophagus if you are over 50 years old, male, white and/or are obese. Your risk also increases if you have experienced certain health problems for a long time, including heartburn or esophagitis. If you have chronic heartburn, talk with your healthcare provider.

Diagnosis

Your doctor may do a test called an endoscopy, where a long, thin tube (endoscope) is gently guided through your mouth and into your esophagus. The endoscope includes a small camera that shows the lining of your esophagus and tools to remove (biopsy) a small tissue sample to check for abnormal cells.

Treatment

Your healthcare provider will suggest a care plan for you based on your age, overall health and how serious your case is. Your treatment will likely include acid blockers to keep acid reflux from further damaging your esophagus. It may also include surgery to remove damaged tissue or dilation to stretch the esophagus.

Complications

A small percentage of people with this condition develop cancer of the esophagus. Because of this cancer risk, patients with Barrett's esophagus are screened for esophageal cancer regularly.

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