Gastrointestinal Health

Be Aware of Your Gastrointestinal Health

Your gastrointestinal (GI) health has a significant impact on your overall health and wellness. Gastroenterology is an area of medicine that specializes in the digestive system and its disorders or illnesses. Your digestive system is comprised of the gastrointestinal tract (or “GI tract” or “digestive tract”), as well as the liver, pancreas and gallbladder. The gastrointestinal tract is a system of hollow organs that are joined together as a long and twisting tube that food and liquids travel through when swallowed, digested, absorbed and defecated as feces. The organs that make up your GI tract include, your mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. 

Gastroenterologists are specialists who mainly diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. They perform endoscopic procedures, using specialized technology and equipment to view the GI tract and make a diagnosis. 

Gastroenterology at St. Margaret's Health:

St. Margaret’s Health has three specialty clinic locations and four gastroenterologists who see patients at these locations in Princeton, Peru and Ottawa. Our gastroenterologists also perform special procedures at our Esophageal and Colon Cancer Prevention Center in our Spring Valley hospital location, as well as in the Special Procedures Department at our Peru hospital campus. Our gastroenterologists include Geetha Dodda, MD, Edward Doran, MD, Ram Goel, MD, Akash Goel, MD.  Additionally, Gregory J. Arnold, MD of the St. Margaret’s Spring Valley Pain Clinic performs the Radiofrequency Denervation for pain management.

We Perform:

  • Anoscopy
  • APC Argon Plasma Coagulator
  • Capsule Endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Endoscopy
  • Esophageal Dilation
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
  • Hemorrhoid Banding
  • Liver Biopsy
  • FibroScan
  • RFA Radio Frequency
  • Reflux Testing
  • Esophageal Manometry

We Diagnose and Treat:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cancer
  • Celiac Diseases
  • Crohn’s Disease / Ulcerative Colitis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Diseases
  • Heartburn
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hepatitis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Ulcer Diseases

Common Gastrointestinal Diseases and Disorders:

  • Acid Reflux
  • Bacterial Overgrowth
  • Barretts Esophagus
  • Celiac Disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Colon Cancer and Screening
  • Constipation
  • Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Gallstones
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • NASH/Fatty Liver
  • Obesity
  • Pancreatitis

The Barrx™ Medical HALO System Procedure

The St. Margaret’s Esophageal and Colon Cancer Prevention Center at St. Margaret’s Health – Spring Valley hospital campus uses the latest technology to perform gastrointestinal procedures developed to prevent cancer from forming. The Barrx™ Medical HALO system is an innovative piece of technology used as an outpatient procedure that provides advanced ablation technology for treating damaged and pre-cancerous esophagus tissue.

St. Margaret's Health - Spring Valley is currently the only facility in a 60-mile radius that offers this procedure.

Barrett’s esophagus is normally caused by gastro esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and the acid reflux produced by it. While treatment for Barrett’s used to involve a “watch and wait” approach, St. Margaret’s now uses the Barrx™ Medical HALO system to proactively remove the damaged areas caused by the disease without injury to the underlying tissue. 


A colonoscopy is an exam of the colon (also called the large intestine or bowel) using a slim, flexible, lighted tub called a colonoscope. A colonoscopy is the most direct and complete way to see the entire lining of the colon. It is a safe, minimally-invasive procedure that allows physicians to view the inside of the colon without the need of surgery or incisions.

Ask your physician about the importance of colorectal screenings. Colonoscopy remains the BEST option for detecting colon cancer, as well as detecting pre-cancerous lesions before they turn into cancer. 

What to Expect:

You will be instructed to follow a clear liquid diet the day before your procedure and avoid solid foods for 24 hours. Your bowel needs to be empty before your procedure so the scope will pass through your colon more easily and allow your physician to be able to see the colors and its lining more clearly. 

  • Sedatives are provided before the procedure to help you relax.
  • You will be asked to lie on your left side and raise one or both knees toward your chest. Your lower body will be covered with a sheet.
  • The colonoscope is lubricated and gently inserted into your anus. It is then passed through the rectum and into the colon. 
  • Air is put into the colon to help expand it.
  • When the procedure is finished, the scope is slowly removed.

The procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes. If you are an outpatient, normally your stay will be two to three hours. This will include check-in, procedure and recovery. 

Colonoscopies are very safe procedures; however, you should contact a physician immediately if:

  • You are not able to eat or drink, or are urinating less or not at all
  • Your abdomen becomes tender and hard
  • Your signs and symptoms are getting worse
  • Your vomit has blood in it
  • You have severe pain in your abdomen
  • You has a large amount of rectal bleeding (a small amount of blood from the rectum is not serious, especially if hemorrhoids are present)
  • You feel dizzy to stand up, short of breath or faint

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (Called an EGD)

An EGD is an examination of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract with a special piece of equipment called an endoscope. The upper GI tract includes the throat, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestines (duodenum). The endoscope also has an open channel that allows for instruments ti be passed in order to take tissue samples, cauterize bleeding or remove polyps. An EGD is a minimally-invasive procedure that allows physicians to view the inside of your upper GI tract without the need for surgery or incisions. 

What to Expect:

You should arrange to have someone be with you on the day of your procedure. If you are discharged after your EGD, you will not be able to drive due to the medications you are given during the procedure. You may eat meals or drink liquids as usual until midnight before the procedure. Try to avoid eating foods with residue or fiber, which are not easy to digest. These include fruits, vegetables, cereal, nuts, peas, beans, fried foods and bread.

  • A local anesthetic is given to help avoid gagging and a sedative administered to help you relax. This may be a spray or a medication to gargle with.
  • It is important for you to try to relax and take slow, deep breaths through your nose. Every effort will be made to maintain your comfort and safety.
  • Most patients sleep through the procedure.
  • Your blood pressure, pulse and the oxygen level in your blood will be monitored. The procedure usually takes about 15 minutes to complete. 


At the end of the examination, the physician will withdraw the endoscope and you will be taken to a recovery room to wait for the effect of the medications to wear off. This may take up to one hour. You will then be discharged to go home. Your physician may give you preliminary results before discharge. If any biopsy was done, these results will not be available for several days.

Are You at Risk for Colon or Esophageal Cancer?

Colon Cancer Risk Factors:

  • History of bowel disease
  • Family history of bowel disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Having had polyps
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Over the age of 45

Esophageal Cancer Risk Factors:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Barrett’s Esophagus
  • Tobacco and Alcohol Use
  • Workplace Exposures
  • Injury to the Esophagus
  • Obesity

To Learn More or Request an Appointment, Call Today:
(815) 664-1517

AGC Logo

Associated Gastroenterology Consultants – Princeton

530 Park Avenue East
Suite 207
Princeton, IL 61356
Phone: (815) 875-8666


Associated Gastroenterology Consultants – Peru

1310 Maple Drive
Peru, IL 61354 
Phone: (815) 223-1666


Associated Gastroenterology Consultants – Ottawa

1304 Gemini Circle
Suite 1
Ottawa, IL 61350 
Phone: (815) 433-9666

Our Team

Photo of Geetha Dodda MD

Geetha Dodda

MD Gastroenterology
Location 530 Park Avenue Suite 207 Princeton Illinois 61356 Secondary Location 1304 Gemini Circle Suite 1 Ottawa Illinois 61350 Other 1310 Maple Drive Peru Illinois 61354
Photo of Edward Doran

Edward Doran

MD Gastroenterology
Location 530 Park Avenue Suite 207 Princeton Illinois 61356 Secondary Location 1304 Gemini Circle Suite 1 Ottawa Illinois 61350 Other 1310 Maple Drive Peru Illinois 61354
Photo of Julie Flanagan

Julie Flanagan

APN, MSN Gastroenterology
Location 1310 Maple Drive Peru Illinois 61354
Photo of Jenny Gaworski

Jenny Gaworski

FNP-BC Gastroenterology
Location 1304 Gemini Circle Suite 1 Ottawa Illinois 61350
Photo of Akash Goel

Akash Goel

MD Gastroenterology
Location 530 Park Ave E. Suite 207 Princeton Illinois 61356 Secondary Location 1304 Gemini Circle Suite 1 Ottawa Illinois 61350 Location 1310 Maple Drive Peru Illinois 61354
Photo of Ram Goel

Ram Goel

MD Gastroenterology
Location 530 Park Avenue E. Suite 207 Princton Illinois 61356 Secondary Location 1304 Gemini Circle Suite 1 Ottawa Illiois 61350 Other 1310 Maple Drive Peru Illinois 61354
Photo of Stephanie Mickley

Stephanie Mickley

FNP Gastroenterology
Location 530 Park Avenue Suite 207 Princeton Illinois 61356

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SMH Peru And Spring Valley Will Be Closing All Current Operations As Of Friday, June 16, 2023 At 11:59 P.M.

This includes the Hospital, Clinics and other facilities at both locations.

All portals will be inaccessible after this time.

Patients needing emergency care should call 911.

To obtain a copy of your Medical Records please visit our Medical Records Request webpage and download and submit a request in writing.

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