Gastro Symptoms & Conditions

Many of the symptoms that relate to gastrointestinal problems are common, everyday issues that can be caused by food poisoning, allergies, or many other sources. Because of this, it is crucial to ensure that your symptoms are properly diagnosed and treated. Dr. Levy has extensive experience and expertise in gastrointestinal diseases and uses advanced diagnostic testing to discover the cause of your suffering and to improve your quality of life.

Customized Patient Care Plans

When you meet with Dr. Levy, he will obtain a thorough medical history, perform an examination, and evaluate your symptoms. You can expect that Dr. Levy will take the time necessary to ensure that you understand your symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment plan — and answer any questions you may have. We recognize that every patient is different, and we pride ourselves on providing customized treatment plans to meet your specific needs.

Dr. Levy has a physician-driven practice, which means that although his practice utilizes a physician assistant for some visits, Dr. Levy directs and supervises all patient care plans. This ensures that all patients receive consistent, high caliber medical care.

Treatment plans may include a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes, temporary medication, pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies. In some cases, Dr. Levy performs an endoscopy (a thin, flexible scope inserted through the mouth), colonoscopy (a flexible, lighted scope inserted through the rectum) or other diagnostic or therapeutic procedure which can sometimes diagnose and treat the cause of symptoms. For certain conditions which may be diagnosed, Dr. Levy works with a network of regional surgical experts to which he refers.

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HEARTBURN RELIEF

We understand that heartburn, chronic cough, and other symptoms of acid reflux are frustrating and uncomfortable. Come see Dr. Levy for expert evaluation and begin your treatment plan today!

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Symptoms

There are numerous symptoms that may be indicative of a gastrointestinal issue. Symptoms include:

  • Acid Reflux (Heartburn)
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas & Bloating
  • Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)
  • Chest Pain (GI-related)
  • Coughing/Hoarseness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Abnormal Weight Loss
  • Change in Bowel Habits
  • Blood in Stool
  • Rectal Bleeding/Itching
  • Hemorrhoids

Conditions

We treat the following gastrointestinal conditions:

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anemia
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Hiatal Hernia
  • Elevated Liver Enzymes
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Gastritis & Duodenitis
  • Helicopylori (H. Pylori)
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hepatitis C

Acid Reflux Disease (Heartburn)

Acid reflux and heartburn are common issues that many people suffer from occasionally. However heartburn occurring two or more times a week, difficulty swallowing or weight loss may be associated with a more severe condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD causes acid in the stomach to flow backward up to the esophagus. This may cause a bitter or sour taste in the mouth, or a burning pain along the abdomen, chest, or throat that feels like food or liquid is stuck in these areas. Other symptoms include nausea, chronic cough, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, chest pain, asthma-like symptoms.

Diagnosis may involve an upper endoscopy (a thin, flexible lighted tube with a camera called an endoscope inserted through the mouth), upper GI series or esophageal manometry. Dr. Levy will customize your treatment plan which may include diet changes and medication.

When lifestyle changes and medication are not effective, Dr. Levy has helped patients find successful long-term surgical relief of their heartburn by referring appropriate patients for both laparoscopic fundoplication and the LINX procedure. The LINX procedure is a relatively new minimally invasive surgery in which magnets are implanted around the esophagus to prevent acid reflux.

Barrett’s Esophagus Evaluation & Treatment

Chronic heartburn, if left untreated, may cause precancerous Barrett’s Esophagus. In this condition, the esophagus lining has changed to resemble the lining of the stomach. Consequently, patients with Barrett’s Esophagus may have less heartburn symptoms. Patients with Barrett’s esophagus have approximately a 30-fold increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

As a reflux expert, Dr. Levy is one of the few physicians in Middle Georgia to offer WATS biopsy and BARRX Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) treatments for this condition. BARRX RFA is an FDA-approved outpatient endoscopic procedure, similar to an upper endoscopy that has a 98% cure rate to remove precancerous Barrett’s Esophagus lining and replace with normal esophagus lining.

Rectal Bleeding Evaluation

Rectal bleeding may be a sign of cancer, but is also caused by numerous non-cancerous conditions. If you experience this type of bleeding, Dr. Levy will perform a history and physical exam and may perform a colonoscopy (a thin flexible, lighted tube with a camera called an endoscope is inserted through the rectum), upper endoscopy (a thin, flexible endoscope inserted through the mouth) and barium enema x-ray. After the specific cause is identified you will start the appropriate treatment plan.

Anemia Evaluation

Chronic Anemia is a term that means a “low blood count” (insufficient red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body). It is a finding caused by an underlying disease or condition. Patients may experience pale or cold skin, fatigue, weakness, dizziness or passing out when standing up, dark or bloody stools, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, irritability, chest or abdominal pain, headache, sore tongue, brittle nails, weight loss and unusual food cravings.

To determine the cause of your anemia, Dr. Levy may order laboratory tests, X-rays, ultrasound, CT scan, endoscopy (a thin, flexible scope inserted through the mouth) or colonoscopy (a flexible, lighted scope inserted through the rectum). After the specific cause of anemia is identified, you will start the appropriate treatment plan. Anemia is usually cured with successful treatment of the underlying disease or condition.

Hemorrhoid Treatment

Hemorrhoids or “piles” are nothing more than enlarged veins in the rectum. Swelling can be caused by straining to move your bowels, sitting too long on the toilet, or from other factors such as pregnancy, obesity or liver disease. Symptoms include bright red blood covering the stool, blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl, itching or irritation around the anus and painful swelling or a hard lump around the anus that results when a blood clot forms.

Dr. Levy will determine the cause of your hemorrhoids and may prescribe diet changes, topical creams or ointments. When topical therapy and lifestyle changes are not enough, Dr. Levy offers Non-Surgical Rubber Band Ligation. A rubber band is put around the base of the hemorrhoid. The band cuts off circulation, and the hemorrhoid withers away within a few days.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, better known as IBS, is a disorder that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or all three of these symptoms on a regular basis. Some patients may also experience abdominal swelling.

Although there is no cure for IBS at this time, there are a variety of different treatments. Dr. Levy customizes IBS treatment plans that may include diet and lifestyle changes and medications to provide relief from constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and bloating.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation in the GI tract. Although it can involve any area of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon. Symptoms may include chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, fatigue and sometimes rectal bleeding.  Loss of appetite and weight loss may also occur. Some patients may develop tears (fissures) in the lining of the anus, which may cause pain and bleeding, especially during bowel movements. Chronic, severe inflammation may also cause fistula to develop. A fistula is a tunnel that leads from one part of the intestine to another, or that connects the intestine to the bladder, vagina, or skin. Fistulas occur most commonly around the anal area. If this complication arises, you may notice drainage of mucus, pus, or stool from this opening.

There is no single test that can confirm the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Dr. Levy relies on a combination of the patient’s history and physical exam, results of laboratory tests, X-rays (small bowel series), colonoscopy (a flexible, lighted scope inserted through the rectum) and recently, small bowel capsule endoscopy. Treatment includes medications that suppress inflammation, and lifestyle changes such as stress reduction and diet changes. Medications prescribed include Aminosalicylates (5-ASA), corticosteroids, immune modifiers, antibiotics and newer biologic therapies. If lifestyle changes and medications aren’t successful, patients may need to have surgery.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic disease of the colon (large intestine). The inflammation usually begins in the rectum and lower colon, but it may also involve the entire colon. When ulcerative colitis affects only the rectum, it is called ulcerative proctitis. The disease causes inflammation and ulceration of the colon lining which makes the colon empty frequently. Symptoms include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss and fatigue.

To diagnose Ulcerative Colitis, Dr. Levy relies on a combination of the patient’s history and physical exam, results of laboratory tests, stool studies and a colonoscopy (a flexible, lighted scope inserted through the rectum). Treatment includes medications that suppress inflammation. Medications prescribed include Aminosalicylates (5-ASA), corticosteroids, immune modifiers, antibiotics and newer biologic therapies. If lifestyle changes and medications aren’t successful, patients may need to have surgery.

During your consultation, Dr. Levy will discuss the best options for you and answer any questions you may have. If you have further questions, we are available to assist you.

PATIENT-CENTERED CARE

We limit the number of patients we see, allowing us to spend more time with each individual to thoroughly investigate all symptoms and devise more accurate diagnoses and customized treatments.

PREMIER CUSTOMER SERVICE

We put our patients first. We are often able to accommodate same day or next day appointments. Our team strives to promptly answer your questions or concerns.

COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT

No need for a day at the hospital! Our private outpatient surgery center offers high caliber endoscopic services in a friendly, efficient and comfortable atmosphere.

STATE-OF-THE-ART TREATMENT

Dr. Levy offers innovative procedures in gastroenterology – including Pill Camera Endoscopy, Barrx Radiofrequency Ablation, WATS Biopsies, LINX Evaluation, and Hemorrhoid Band Litigation.

Dr. Levy is a very knowledgeable and highly skilled physician.

Nikki R.

Dr. Levy improved my quality of life so much! He is friendly, down to earth and takes more time with me than other gastroenterologists that I have dealt with. The care I’ve gotten from him changed my life. Under his care, I went from not being able to eat solid foods for a year to being able to eat normal foods I enjoy. I can tell he cares and I'm not just another patient. I’m so grateful to Dr. Levy!

Susan A.

Dr. Levy is unbelievable! My cardiologist insisted that I see Dr. Levy for my colonoscopy and I’m glad I did. His knowledge gave me a lot of confidence in what I was facing since I have inflammatory bowel disease. His caring and compassionate ways make him different from other physicians I’ve seen. He is kind, gentle, caring, and not pushy. His staff is excellent, and the Endoscopy Center was more efficient and personal than having my procedure at the hospital. I would recommend Dr. Levy to any friend or doctor.

Jane W.

Dr. Levy goes above and beyond to provide excellent care. I was very sick and getting worse, and with his knowledge and persistence he diagnosed a rare vascular condition called median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS). This allowed me to find a specialist and cure my condition. Dr. Levy actually listened to me, did a full work-up, and took the time to research my case. Since seeing Dr. Levy, I haven’t had any issues. I felt comfortable talking with him and I knew he would do whatever it took to help me. I highly recommend going to Dr. Levy!

Carissa G.