Please note that a referral letter is required before an appointment can be confirmed.
About digestive diseases
Digestive diseases are any health problem that occurs in the digestive tract, which is also called the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The digestive tract is made up of the oesophagus (food tube), stomach, large and small intestines, liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder.
Some digestive diseases and conditions are acute, lasting only a short time, while others are chronic (long-lasting). Common problems include heartburn, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance and diverticulitis.
At Mater Private Network, our consultant gastroenterologists and supporting team members are highly experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of digestive disorders. Patients with digestive diseases have access to our endoscopy services in both Cork and Dublin and are cared for by a Mater Private Network team which may include:
- Consultant gastroenterologists
- Nutritionists or dietitians
The first sign of problems in the digestive tract often includes one or more of the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the stomach
- Problems swallowing
- Weight changes
Some of the digestive disorders and conditions we can help with include the following:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): a group of intestinal disorders that cause inflammation of the digestive tract. This causes abdominal pain, cramping and unexplained weight loss. While the condition is treatable, there is no known cure.
- Liver disease: types of liver disease include:
- Hepatitis: inflammation of the liver, usually caused by viruses like hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis can have non-infectious causes too, including heavy drinking, drugs, allergic reactions, or obesity.
- Cirrhosis: long-term damage to the liver from any cause can lead to permanent scarring, called cirrhosis. The liver then becomes unable to function well.
- Liver cancer: the most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, almost always occurs after cirrhosis is present.
- Liver failure: liver failure has many causes including infection, genetic diseases, and excessive alcohol.
- Gallstones: if a gallstone becomes stuck in the bile duct draining the liver, hepatitis and bile duct infection (cholangitis) can result.
- Hemochromatosis: hemochromatosis allows iron to deposit in the liver, damaging it. The iron also deposits throughout the body, causing multiple other health problems.
- Crohn's disease: a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract that leads to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. It is a type of IBD.
- Colitis: inflammation of your colon or large intestine. The most common type of colitis is ulcerative colitis (a type of IBD), which is a lifelong disease that produces inflammation and bleeding ulcers within the inner lining of your large intestine. It generally begins in the rectum and spreads to the colon. It occurs when the immune system overreacts to bacteria and other substances in the digestive tract, but experts don’t know why this happens.
- Diverticular disease and diverticulitis: related digestive conditions that affect the large intestine (bowel). Diverticula are small bulges or pockets that can develop in the lining of the intestine as you get older. Most people with diverticula do not get any symptoms and only know they have them after having a scan for another reason. When diverticula cause symptoms, such as pain in the lower tummy, it's called diverticular disease. If the diverticula become inflamed or infected, causing more severe symptoms, it's called diverticulitis.
Treatments may include changes to your diet, appropriate medicines or surgery. Many surgical procedures can be performed on the digestive tract, with procedures done using endoscopy, laparoscopy, and open surgery.