By Melissa Gautier
Everyone has suffered abdominal pain from time to time, but when symptoms become frequent, intermittent, or last more than a week, it’s time to visit a specialist.
“At that point, your body is trying to tell you something,” says Dr. Kevin Marks, an experienced board-certified gastroenterologist in Katy, Texas. “The digestive tract is a fascinating system requiring intensive understanding,” he explains. Dr. Marks specializes in general gastroenterology and hepatology with clinical areas of interest in colon cancer prevention, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, and weight management. Thoroughly listening to patients’ stories and accompanying symptoms, Dr. Marks utilizes his well-honed detective skills to determine and treat the root cause of their issues.
Seeking Preventive Measures at an Earlier Age
Dr. Marks notes an interesting trend in gastroenterology focusing on a younger population. With the recent news of actor Chadwick Bozeman’s death from colon cancer, young people are more aware of the dangers of this disease that does not discriminate. “We are now seeing younger patients become more vigilant, screening at an earlier age for colon cancer,” Dr. Marks says. “In 2005, colon cancer screenings were suggested for certain subsets of people at age 45. In 2018, The American Cancer Society updated the endorsement to include all groups of people, but it has taken 13 years for this to be embraced by the general public.”
Dr. Marks points to fast, processed foods coupled with obesity as contributing factors in the uptick. Other medical issues such as insulin resistance — a key factor in the development of Type 2 Diabetes — also contributes to the process. “Many people may consider themselves ‘simply overweight,’ but unfortunately, by technical definition they are truly obese with a body mass index of 30 or above.”
Obesity is one of the main factors in the overall picture of future health problems – especially colorectal cancer. “Colonoscopy is the gold standard for early detection of polyps that can lead to cancer,” Dr. Marks says. “Some individuals are at an increased risk, due to either a family or personal history of conditions such as Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis,” he says. “Other lifestyle behaviors such as cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are the major contributors, not only to the development of colon cancer but to a variety of other cancers.”
Endobariatrics, Nutrition, and Weight Loss Maintenance
“Obesity is tied to diet and sedentary lifestyle, as well as smoking and regular alcohol use,” says Dr. Marks. “Good nutrition is connected to healthy weight management.” With a particular interest in the prevention of gastrointestinal cancers and chronic liver disease, Dr. Marks integrates weight management strategies when patients visit him for other issues such as acid reflux disorder and fatty liver. “Future strategies for obesity management will involve treatments that are rendered via the gastroscope, referred to as endobariatrics,” he says. “An example of this, which I already offer, is the intra-gastric balloon, with more options to come.”
Dr. Marks received a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1991, working in the pharmaceutical industry as a clinical research administrator and retail pharmacist prior to entering medical school at age 28. Personally dealing with acid reflux in his past, Dr. Marks focused on learning about the disorder while studying the anatomy and function of the digestive tract. After graduation from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, he completed his internal medicine residency in 2003 and a fellowship in gastroenterology, hepatology, and advanced therapeutic endoscopy in 2006, both at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
An internist-gastroenterologist with the highest level of diagnostic skills, Dr. Marks strives to render the highest level of care to his patients, treating them like family. He has been in private practice since 2006 and is on staff at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital and Houston Methodist West Hospital. He is affiliated with several professional medical associations including Harris County Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), American College of Physicians, and Obesity Medicine Association.
A Southwest Louisiana native, Dr. Marks’ main hobby is music. Active in the university jazz band in college, he currently plays the trumpet for relaxation and also enjoys producing digital recordings. He is the proud father of two sons and focuses on mentoring them as they enter adulthood. He is an active member of the Houston Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., an organization performing numerous community service activities throughout Greater Houston.
- Esophageal Disorders
- Gastric Disorders
- Small Intestine Disorders
- Gallbladder and Biliary Tree Disorders
- Pancreatic Disorders
- Liver Disorders
- Large Intestinal Disorders
- Weight Disorders
- For a full list of conditions and treatments, visit Dr. Marks’ website.
1331 Grand Parkway North, Suite 350
Katy, Texas 77493