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Women's Gastrointestinal Health Center

Specialized Care Unique to Connecticut  |  Services  |  Our Team  |  Contact Us

The Hartford Healthcare Women’s Gastrointestinal (GI) Health Center is dedicated to the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of GI disorders that are unique to or more common in women.

Womens GI Health Center
Meet our team

The Hartford Healthcare Women’s GI Health Center is a gender specific and all-female staffed center that understands that the gastroenterology health of women is unique. Women are more susceptible than men to certain GI problems because of the physiological differences in their digestive tracts. Understanding these differences is critical in approaching care.

Women deal with distinct GI issues related to the following:

  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth

These normal life events that women experience can, unfortunately, cause specific GI issues which are often difficult and even embarrassing to talk about. The Hartford Healthcare Women’s GI Health Center, therefore, seeks to provide a comfortable environment with an all-female staff for patients to come and openly speak about any GI issues and concerns they may be facing.

Video: Keeping Your GI Tract on Track

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Specialized Care Unique to Connecticut

As GI disorders are becoming more prevalent:

  • colon cancer has become the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women
  • irritable bowel syndrome is the second most common cause of being absent from work

Hartford Healthcare recognized the need to develop this gender specific program, as the first of its kind in the state of Connecticut, to encourage more women to feel comfortable addressing their gastroenterological health needs and to know that treatment options exist.

Our center utilizes state of the art equipment and provides the following services:

  • SmartPill technology
  • Esophageal and anorectal manometry
  • Colonoscopy
  • Capsule Endoscopy
  • Biofeedback therapy, performed by one of our very experienced nurses

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Procedures & Treatments

The Hartford HealthCare Women’s GI Health Center provides a comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for a full range of GI disorders, with specific focus on the following:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Procedures & Treatments

Using a multidisciplinary approach, we determine the best course of treatment to provide the best possible care by using the most up to date GI tools, techniques, and therapies.

Irritable bowel syndrome: is known as a spastic colon and is often characterized by a change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea), chronic abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort. Although IBS does not predispose to severe illness, symptoms highly affect a patient’s quality of life.

Our treatment plan will be directed to the predominant bowel pattern present whether it be diarrhea or constipation. Medication therapy, a nutrition plan and a visit with our team psychologist can be recommended.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease: is most commonly known as ‘acid reflux’. GERD occurs when liquid content of the stomach backs up into the esophagus and irritates the esophageal lining. Chronic GERD symptoms can damage your esophagus and, if left untreated, can cause more serious digestive disorders such as esophageal cancer. The management of reflux in pregnancy is also important given its increased frequency due to multiple physiologic and hormonal factors – 80% of pregnant women suffer from reflux in their second and third trimesters.

We provide lifestyle/nutritional recommendations that may provide symptom relief without the need for long-term medications. Medical therapy may be required. We also perform endoscopic surveillance for Barrett’s esophagus and provide ablative therapies such as radiofrequency ablation if needed. Our service also includes pH testing which can be done with 24-hr pH-impedance testing or with a 48-hr endoscopically placed Bravo device.

Pelvic Floor dysfunction: Pelvic floor dysfunction can present as constipation or fecal incontinence. We provide high resolution anorectal manometry which can help identify abnormalities in the mechanism of defecation or an inadequate anal sphincter, which may be amenable to biofeedback therapy or surgical intervention. We also have newer modalities available for the treatment of fecal incontinence including sacral nerve stimulation and injectable preparations like Solesta.

Many of the other procedures we perform include:

  • 24 hour pH-impedance testing
  • 48 hour pH testing with the Bravo pH monitor
  • Anorectal Manometry
  • Breath tests for lactose intolerance and bacterial overgrowth
  • Capsule Endoscopy (Pillcam)
  • Colonoscopy
  • Endoscopy
  • Enteroscopy
  • Esophageal manometry
  • Impedance and Motility Testing
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Solesta injectable for fecal incontinence
  • Upper Endoscopy

SmartPill - The Wireless Motility Capsule (Smart Pill Corporation, Buffalo, NY) is a wireless pH, temperature, and pressure recording capsule. This novel, valuable ambulatory technique of assessing regional (gastric, small bowel, colonic) and whole-gut transit time without radiation offers a standardized method of identifying normal and slow colonic transit and is recommended as useful by the American Neurogastroenterology & Motility Society.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the SmartPill GI Monitoring System, version 2.0, for the evaluation of colonic transit time in patients with suspected chronic constipation (CC), and for evaluating patients with suspected gastroparesis. (Schey R, Cromwell J, Rao S. Medical and Surgical Management of Pelvic Floor Disorders Affecting Defecation. Am J Gastroenterol 2012; 107:1624–1633)

Learn more about the SmartPill

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Meet Our Team

Click on a name to learn more about each team member, including education, specialties, office locations and more.

Gastroenterologists

(no photo)Madhavi Bhoomagoud, MD
Kiran Sachdev, MDKiran Sachdev, MD
Donna CipollaDonna M. Cipolla, MD
Michelle SmedleyMichelle V. Smedley, MD
Maria JohnsonMaria Johnson, MD
Eva Urtasun SotilEileen K. Plotkin, MD
(no photo)Marcy Qureshi, MD
Rosalind Van StolkRosalind U. Van Stolk, MD
Tonya HallTonya Elsa Hall, MD
Eva Urtasun SotilEva Urtasun-Sotil, MD

Surgeons

Christine Bartus, MDChristine Bartus, MD
Maria Mirth, MDMaria Mirth, MD
Christina Czyrko, MDChristina Czyrko, MD
Kristy Thurston, MDKristy Thurston, MD
Kristina H. Johnson, MDKristina H. Johnson, MD
Christina J. Wai, MDChristina J. Wai, MD

Psychologist

Geraldine Lenz, PhD


Physician Assistant

Jillian Lay, PA


Registered Nurses

Andreal Dunn, RN

Mary Schwab, RN

Frances Schwarzhaupt, RN

Joanne Struble, RN


Nutritionist

Mary Noon, RD

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Contact Us

For a referral to a Hartford HealthCare WomensGI doctor call: 860.463.1157

For other inquires you can contact us using our email contact form.


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Gastroenterology / Hepatology

  • Contact Us

    For a referral to a Hartford HealthCare WomensGI doctor call: 860.463.1157

    For other inquires you can contact us using the form below.