hero image
Satish Rao, MD - Augusta University. Augusta, GA, US

Satish Rao, MD

Digestive Health Expert | Augusta University


Dr. Satish Rao, a seasoned gastroenterologist, is an expert in digestive health, particularly the brain-gut connection.






loading image loading image loading image




Rao helped launch the Augusta University Digestive Health Center. He is one of a rare breed of academicians who has excelled as an outstanding researcher, distinguished educator and as a Master Clinician.

Rao’s research interests focus on the pathophysiology and treatment of IBS, food intolerance particularly fructose intolerance, constipation and fecal incontinence and visceral pain, particularly esophageal chest pain. He has pioneered several new techniques of evaluating esophageal, gastric, colonic, and anorectal function, in particular the brain-gut axis, has received several patents and pioneered the technique of biofeedback therapy for dyssynergic defecation.

He is currently investigating the neurobiologic mechanisms of biofeedback therapy and pioneering new treatments for fructose intolerance.

Areas of Expertise (10)

Bowel movements



Fructose intolerance

Brain-gut connection

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Ibd)

Digestive Health Disorders

Biofeedback Therapy


Anorectal Disorders

Accomplishments (5)

America's Top Doctors (professional)


Dr. Satish Rao has been included in America’s Top Doctors,® a national patient reference guide published by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. for his expertise - both clinical and investigative - in gastroenterology for more than 15 years.

Distinguished Clinician Award (professional)

American Gastroenterology Association award for excellence and dedication to the clinical profession of gastroenterology

Masters Award for Outstanding Clinical Research (professional)

American Gastroenterology Association award for excellence in clinical research efforts.

American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Auxiliary Research Award (professional)

The highest research award from ACG, and in 2007 the ACG Novartis Motility research award for the best research paper. In 2009, he was awarded the International Foundation for Functional GI disorders Senior Clinical Investigator Award.

Regents Award for Faculty Excellence (professional)

In 2010, he received the most distinguished honor from University of Iowa, University of Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence.

Affiliations (1)

  • American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society (ANMS)

Media Appearances (16)

Can a personalized antibiotics, prebiotics, and probiotics combo help treat IBS?

Medical News Today  online


Patients treated with a precision approach to post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reported improved symptoms in a small cohort of 13 participants with IBS in a pilot trial. The researchers conducting that trial analyzed the gut microbiomes individuals' "collections" of gut bacteria of people with the condition, and treated the overgrowth of certain bacteria with antibiotics, while also addressing the lack of certain bacterial strains with specific probiotics and prebiotics, in order to promote a balanced gut environment. They found that over a third of those treated in this personalized way experienced complete remission of their symptoms 12 weeks after starting treatment. Researchers presented their non-peer-reviewed results at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases conference held in Barcelona, Spain from 27-30 April. How can we personalize a treatment for IBS? Researchers had previously developed testing for stool samples to detect which strains of bacteria were present in the microbiome of participants. They used this to test the 13 participants and prescribed a specific regime of one of two antibiotics to treat pathogenic bacteria that existed at levels that were too high, as well as probiotics to replace beneficial strains that were at levels that were too low.

view more

Colon Cancer Versus Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): What Are the Symptoms?

Everyday Health  online


Colon cancer and IBS are common health problems that share some symptoms, such as excessive gas, constipation, and abdominal pain. Because there is often overlap in symptoms, it can be hard to know whether you’re dealing with colon cancer or IBS. The good news is that you’re not alone. Gastroenterologists have specialized training in the digestive system and can create a plan for managing your digestive symptoms. What Is Colon Cancer? Colon cancer is the short term for colorectal cancer. It happens when cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control. Your colon and rectum are part of your digestive system. The colon is the first and longest part of your large intestine. The role of your colon is to absorb water and nutrients from foods. The leftover material becomes stool (poop). The rectum is the lower part of your large intestine where your body stores stool. Sometimes abnormal growths called polyps develop in the colon or rectum. Some polyps turn into cancer over time. Other polyps never turn into cancer. The best way to prevent colon cancer is to remove polyps before they ever have a chance to turn into cancer. That’s why it’s important to have colon cancer screening tests such as a stool-based test or colonoscopy. The American Cancer Society estimates that 106,590 new cases of colon cancer and 46,220 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2024. “In people with IBS, the gut receptors become sensitized — so sensitive that they feel things that most normal people don't feel,” says Satish Rao, MD, PhD, the J. Harold Harrison, MD, Distinguished University Chair in Gastroenterology at Augusta University in Georgia. “Signals from the gut are constantly being sent to the brain, but the signaling is distorted such that patients with IBS have much more intense [digestive] symptoms.” This gut hypersensitivity is a sign of IBS.

view more

Backed Up? Here's Exactly How To Make Yourself Poop

Yahoo! News  online


Raise your hand if your schedule has been a bit off lately. Maybe you’re working from the office more. Or you've stopped going to the gym regularly. Or you have too much going on in the summer. Or ... your poop is off. Seriously, think about it. Your bowels crave a regular routine. They work like clockwork when your days follow a consistent pattern, your diet is predictable and they know what to expect. But throw a wrench in that routine, add the stress of these uncertain times, and…well, there’s suddenly a kink in the plumbing. But here’s the other thing: What you probably think of when it comes to constipation—the inability to poop—is only part of the story. “The definition of constipation is something that has confused physicians and researchers for a long time,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Satish Rao, MD., PhD., a professor of medicine at Augusta University in Georgia. “Only in the last two decades have we had proper science to help us understand that constipation is a multifactorial heterogeneous disorder—in other words, no two patients have the exact same symptoms or causes.”

view more

Colin's Constipation Contemplation And Cogitation

NPR - National Public Radio  radio


Dr. Satish Rao, professor of medicine at Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, talks about constipation in the 19th part of a new experiment called Radio for the Deaf. This program interprets radio shows in American Sign Language and produces new videos twice a month. In January, Augusta University’s Dr. Rao joined Radio for the Deaf to talk about constipation.

view more

Doctors Reveal the 9 Best Health Hacks For 2018

Men's Health magazine  online


3. Train yourself to poop at the same time each day to prevent constipation. Having consistency with your pooping is important for regulating your bowel function, which can help reduce constipation. You might think training yourself to poop is like teaching a cat to fetch, but it’s actually possible—especially if you make pooping a priority right after waking up, says Satish Rao, M.D., director of the Digestive Health Center at Augusta University.

view more

How to Recover from a Food Coma

Lifehacker.com  online


We talked with Dr. Satish Rao, Director, Neurogastroenterology & GI Motility at Augusta University, to find out. “It’s interesting,” he begins. “‘Food coma’ is very much an American term. It’s not used elsewhere in the world.” Oh the chagrin, my fellow Americans. Oh the chagrin. Dr. Rao says there are three factors contributing to this singular physiological experience. “First, you have stolen blood from the rest of the body and diverted it to the gut, to facilitate the metabolism of the food.” He compares it to when you exercise, and blood in your body is diverted to your muscles, heart, and lungs to better oxygenate your blood and feed the muscles. “Literally, the reverse happens when you have overfilled your stomach,” Dr. Rao says. Blood from other parts of the body, including your brain, goes to your gut to help support the activity there.

view more

‘How Often Should I Really Be Pooping?’ Your number-one question about going number two.

Women's Health magazine  online


Everybody poops, according to Women’s Health magazine writer Tracey Middleton. But the real question is: How frequently should you be going? It can cause anxiety if you and your roommate are on different ends of the spectrum. But experts, including Satish Rao at Augusta University’s Digestive Health Center, say to relax, because a wide range of pooping frequencies is totally normal.

view more

Sloths Die from Bowel Movement : Can Humans Die From It Too?



Bowel movement is a sloth’s enemy. They almost die from every time they have to poop. The world’s slowest mammal is always viewed as living a sweet life. Sloths hang out in trees all day, sleeping, eating and moving really slow. What a sweet, contented life!

view more

Why Coffee Makes You Poop

Men's Health  


At the surface, it’s pretty simple: Coffee increases contractions in your gut, which activate that gotta-go urge as stool travels to your rectum, says Satish Rao, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the digestive health center at Georgia Regents University. Two decades ago, Dr. Rao and his teams recruited 12 lucky people to wear anal probes with sensors that measured pressure activity throughout different parts of their colons and rectums. Over the course of 10 hours, the subjects drank the same amounts of caffeinated coffee, decaf coffee, and hot water, and ate a 1,000-calorie burger meal...

view more

MCG doctor honored with educator, mentor award from American College of Gastroenterology

WJBF  tv


Talk about a huge honor for a distinguished career! The 15,000 member American College of Gastroenterology has presented its inaugural Distinguised Mentorship and Teaching Award to the Medical College of Georgia’s Dr. Satish Rao. Rao is the founding director of the Digestive Health Center at MCG and Augusta University Health.

view more

Everyone poops weirdly on vacation

The Washington Post  print


It’s that time of year when patients in my gastroenterology clinic tell me about their exciting summer plans — and the dreaded scenarios that accompany them. After a long hiatus from travel, they can imagine finally sinking their toes into the cool sand at the ocean shoreline or trekking up a picture-perfect trail to a gorgeous view. But they can also imagine their stomach suddenly gurgling during these activities, giving them the urgent signal that it’s time to go, and with no bathroom in sight.

view more

What Really Happens to Your Body When You’re Constipated

Livestrong.com  online


There's no mistaking constipation pain. That crampy, heavy feeling that comes when your pipes are plugged up can be seriously unpleasant. But abdominal pain isn't always the only side effect of constipation.

view more

Vibrating pill could help sufferers of chronic constipation

MSN  online


Relief from chronic constipation could soon come from an easy-to-swallow vibrating capsule. The gadget, called Vibrant and about the size of a fish-oil supplement, sends out pulses that, the designers claim, stimulate natural movements in the gut. While Vibrant is still under development by its Israeli manufacturer, the latest data from its largest trial so far, involving more than 300 patients, suggests it can double the number of weekly bowel movements in constipation sufferers.

view more

Expert Panel Proposes Definition for Occasional Constipation

theHeart.org  online


A panel of gastroenterologists from five countries has proposed a working definition for "occasional constipation" that recognizes the wide variation in symptoms and patient perceptions of a problem they say is often overlooked by clinicians and researchers. Definitions of constipation mainly focus on chronic constipation, and often use a stool frequency threshold, such as fewer than 3 bowel movements per week. However, this fails to recognize the wide variation in the "normal" frequency of bowel movements, they point out. There is "an emerging recognition" that occasional constipation is another subtype that falls outside current classifications, write Satish S.C. Rao, MD, PhD, Digestive Health Center, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, and colleagues.

view more

New treatment approved for chronic constipation

The Augusta Press  online


The Food and Drug Administration has approved marketing for a first of its kind device to treat chronic idiopathic constipation and a doctor at Augusta University Health assisted with the clinical trial. The Vibrant System is not a drug. It is an orally administered, vibrating capsule and pod that controls the capsule. Dr. Satish Rao said between 20 and 40 million American suffer with chronic constipation that does not respond to available laxative treatments.

view more

Shaking it up: MCG advances research for vibrating capsule to treat chronic constipation

Augusta Chronicle  print


A vibrating capsule that patients swallow is shaking up – literally – how physicians treat chronic constipation. A Medical College of Georgia researcher is one of the first doctors in the world to treat patients with Vibrant, a capsule that jiggles a patient’s colon to help waste move through the bowels. “In simple terms, it’s not very different than the vibration we have from a cellphone. It’s a very similar technology,” said Dr. Satish S.C. Rao, director of neurogastroenterology/motility and the Digestive Health Clinical Research Center at the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta University Health.

view more

Answers (2)

What's the best way to stay regular and not get constipated when on vacation or a trip? 

View Answer >

There are plenty of food and drinks that help keep you hydrated. Guzzling bubbly drinks may not be the best. They may help you stay hydrated, but they may make you feel gassy and bloated if you become constipated. 

Why does constipation hit when leave for a trip or go on vacation? 

View Answer >

In my experience it's pretty common - affecting one in three people. Having a bowel movement anywhere from two to three times a week or three times a day is normal. If you are going less often, or your stools are lumpy and painful to pass, then you're probably constipated.  

Articles (3)

Anorectal disorders


2016 This report defines criteria and reviews the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and management of the following common anorectal disorders: fecal incontinence (FI), functional anorectal pain, and functional defecation disorders. FI is defined as the recurrent ...

view more

Treatment of fecal incontinence: state of the science summary for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases workshop

The American Journal of Gastroenterology

2015 This is the second of a two-part summary of a National Institutes of Health conference on fecal incontinence (FI) that summarizes current treatments and identifies research priorities. Conservative medical management consisting of patient education, ...

view more

An update on anorectal disorders for gastroenterologists


2014 Gastroenterologists frequently encounter pelvic floor disorders, which affect 10-15% of the population. The anorectum is a complex organ that collaborates with the pelvic floor muscles to preserve fecal continence and enable defecation. A careful clinical ...

view more