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Posts for: July, 2018

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
July 24, 2018
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: GERD  

Many adults have experienced acid reflux at one time or another. Acid reflux occurs when stomach fluids regurgitate back up into the gerdesophagus, which can produce a burning sensation in the throat and chest areas known as heartburn. Acid reflux is more properly known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Treatments are available for individuals with chronic GERD. At Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, Dr. Ronald Boisen, Dr. Daryl McClendon, and Dr. Jeffrey Molloy are your gastroenterologists for the treatment of GERD in Anchorage, AK.

GERD Symptoms

Several symptoms are associated with GERD. Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms and involves a burning sensation in the chest and throat areas caused by stomach fluids reaching the mouth. Lying down can aggravate heartburn and worsen the burning sensation. In addition to heartburn, other symptoms of GERD include:

  • A bitter taste in the mouth
  • Regurgitation
  • Belching
  • Heartburn
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Chest pain

Causes of GERD

GERD can be caused by a number of different factors. Certain conditions increase a person’s likelihood of developing GERD. For instance, in women, GERD often occurs during pregnancy even if a woman never experienced GERD prior to being pregnant. Obesity also increases the risk of developing GERD, as does smoking. Consumption of certain foods and beverages can induce GERD, as well. Such foods and beverages include:

  • Excess alcohol
  • Citrus beverages
  • Coffee
  • Tomato sauce
  • Fatty foods
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate

Treatment of GERD

Over-the-counter antacid products are available for treating mild, occasional instances of GERD. Dietary modifications can also reduce instances of GERD. Chronic and more serious cases of GERD are best treated by a gastroenterologist, as over-the-counter antacids are only effective for a short time. A gastroenterologist can prescribe an appropriate medication for long term GERD relief, such as a prescription antacid or a proton pump inhibitor.

Proton pump inhibitors treat the symptoms of reflux by blocking the final step of the acid production process in the stomach. Proton pump inhibitors are the most effective treatment for individuals experiencing frequent GERD symptoms. Examples of proton pump inhibitor medications include omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeproazole, and pantoprazole. See an experienced gastroenterologist for treatment of GERD in Anchorage.

Effective treatments are available for preventing and alleviating the symptoms of GERD. For treatment of GERD in Anchorage, schedule an appointment with Dr. Boisen, Dr. McClendon, and Dr. Molloy by calling Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease at (907) 569-1333.

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
July 16, 2018
Category: GI Care
Tags: Ulcerative Colitis  

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes severe and even bloody diarrhea that can result in abdominal pain and unexpected weight loss. While people have probably heard about Crohn’s disease more often than they have ulcerative colitis, this condition actually affects as many as 907,000 of the 1.6 million Americans living with IBD.

While ulcerative colitis can happen to anyone, a gastroenterologist most often diagnoses it during a person’s later teen years or by early adulthood. While there is no definitive cause of ulcerative colitis, a family history of this condition can certainly increase your chances of developing this chronic GI problem.

Those with ulcerative colitis experience diarrhea, which can be bloody at times. Some patients may experience rectal pain, occasional constipation, abdominal discomfort, fever, or weight loss. In order to diagnose this gastrointestinal issue, a GI specialist will often need to perform imaging tests such as a CT scan or run an endoscopy to check the health of the gastrointestinal tract and to look for signs of ulcerative colitis.

While there is currently no cure for this condition, there are certainly an array of medications and treatment options available to help you keep your symptoms and flare-ups in check. The type of treatment plan that your GI doctor will create for you will depend on the type and severity of your symptoms.

The main goals of treating ulcerative colitis are to reduce inflammation within the colon while also speeding up the remission process and making sure that your symptoms stay in remission for as long as possible. Of course, it is still possible, even with the right medication, to experience symptoms.

Common medications for treating ulcerative colitis include:

  • Antibiotics: to target any infections within the GI tract
  • Aminosalicylates: to treat mild to moderate inflammation within the colon
  • Corticosteroids: for short-term treatment of moderate to severe symptoms
  • Biologics: to target a specific protein, which leads to inflammation

Sometimes, over-the-counter medications and supplements may be used in conjunction with prescription medications. These may include vitamins and nutritional supplements, pain medications and antidiarrheal. If your ulcerative colitis doesn’t respond to these medications then you’ll want to discuss the benefits with your gastroenterologist of getting surgery to remove parts of the colon or rectum to alleviate severe or persistent symptoms.