PRIMARY CARE FOR WOMEN: Management and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders


  • Barbara Shaw RN-C, FNP

    Corresponding author
    1. Barbara Shaw received her MSN and preparation as a family nurse practitioner from the Yale University School of Nursing in 1988. Her experience includes 6 years as a primary care and health promotion services provider in community health centers in Boston. Since 1994, she has served as on FNP and a Clinical Coordinator for Erie Family Health Center, a community health center in Chicago.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Barbara Shaw, RN-C, FNP, Erie Family Health Center, 1701 W. Superior, Chicago, IL 60622.


This article outlines the clinical management of common gastrointestinal disorders encountered in the primary care setting. The general assessment of a woman presenting with a gastrointestinal concern is reviewed. Diagnosis and management of acute and chronic diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and anorectal disorders are covered with emphasis on client education. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcer disease is discussed with the latest treatment recommendations for Helicobacter pylori infection outlined. Diagnosis of gallbladder disease and gallstones with alternative treatment options is reviewed. Finally, the diagnosis and management of viral hepatitis is outlined. A case study is given to illustrate the basic principles needed by the nurse-midwifes in the assessment, diagnosis, and management of a woman with a gastrointestinal concern.