Digestive Health Center

UnityPoint Health - Allen Hospital

The Allen Hospital Digestive Health Center values a team approach to the prevention, detection, and treatment of conditions related to the stomach, small intestine, colon, esophagus, and liver.

UnityPoint Clinic primary care providers are a strong resource to assess risk factors and manage overall health. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or contact us at (319) 234-5990. 

What we do:

  • Acid reflux diagnosis and treatment
  • Crohn's & Colitis support
  • Colonoscopies
  • Colorectal disorders / Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Esophageal disorders
  • Gastrointestinal procedures
  • Hepatitis diagnosis and treatment
  • Liver disorders
  • Preventive gastroenterology care
  • Upper gastrointestinal studies including diagnostic capsule endoscopy

Digestive Health Conditions

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.

Sixty percent of deaths from colorectal cancer can be prevented if everyone aged 50 or older had regular screening tests. Colonoscopies are the most accurate tests to detect and remove polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) in a single procedure. Colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps don't usually have symptoms, that is why it is so important to get screened.

Risk Factors
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
  • Some genetic syndromes
Lifestyle Factors
  • Lack of regular physical activity
  • Low fruit/vegetable intake
  • Low fiber/high fat diet
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco use

Related Resources

American Cancer Society

Colon Cancer (Mayo Clinic)

Colorectal Cancer Alliance

Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

The chronic inflammation of all or part of your digestive tract. An abnormal response by your body's immune system.

IBD primarily includes: Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease

Ulcerative Colitis

  • Causes long lasting inflammation in part of your digestive tract
  • Symptoms usually develop over time instead of suddenly
  • Usually affects only innermost lining of large intestine (colon) and rectum
Signs & Symptoms
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Rectal pain
  • Urgent, frequent, small bowel movements
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps/pain
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue

Crohn's Disease

  • Causes inflammation anywhere along the lining of your digestive tract and spreads deep into affected tissue
  • Can have abdominal pain and severe diarrhea
  • Can involve different areas of the digestive tract
Signs & Symptoms
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps/pain
  • Blood in your stool
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • May have ulcers (small sores) in mouth similar to canker sores

Risk Factors

  • Age – usually occurs before the age of 30, but can occur at any age
  • Ethnicity – whites are at a higher risk
  • Family history – higher risk if a close relative has the disease
  • Smoking – can increase severity of symptoms and increase risk of complications
  • Where you live – urban areas or industrialized countries are at higher risk

Related Resources

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (CDC)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Mayo Clinic)

Liver Disease / Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks your liver and leads to inflammation. Hepatitis C is passed through contact with contaminated blood.

Many people do not know they have Hepatitis C until liver damage is detected.

Risk Factors

  • Sharing needles during illegal drug use
  • Receiving piercings/tattoos in unclean environments with unsterile equipment
  • Received blood transfusion/organ transplant before 1992
  • HIV
  • Born to woman with Hepatitis C
  • Sex with an infected person
  • Multiple sex partners

Signs & Symptoms

  • Usually no signs and symptoms during earliest stages
  • When signs and symptoms occur, they are usually mild and flu-like
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • Nausea, poor appetite
    • Muscle/joint pains

Related Resources

American Liver Foundation

Hepatitis C (Mayo Clinic)

Hepatitis C Information for the Public (CDC)

Liver Disease (Mayo Clinic)

Genetics & Cancer

Genetics can play an important role in certain cancers. UnityPoint Health has dedicated genetic professionals to assist you and your family navigating this complex path. We are partnering with the Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center to offer a brief questionnaire to help determine if you could be a candidate for genetic testing.

To take part in the questionnaire, please call (319) 235-3823.

Digestive Health News & Articles