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Posts for: September, 2018

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
September 28, 2018
Category: GI Care

Unfortunately, many of us eat the foods we crave before thinking about how it affects our digestive health. Your digestive health is directly impacted by the lifestyle you live and the foods you eat. Exercising, drinking water, and adding fiber all contribute to better digestive health. Here are five digestive problems that are caused by a poor diet.

1. GERD- GERD is a digestive disorder in which stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipe lining. Symptoms include heartburn, hoarseness, and trouble swallowing. Some foods and beverages are known to cause reflux. If you're at risk for GERD, avoid fatty foods, acidic foods, spicy foods, chocolate, and caffeinated beverages. Being overweight and obesity are also causes of GERD. 

2. Cancer- Diet can also directly affect your risk of stomach and bowel cancer. Some foods, such as processed and salt-preserved foods, and red meat can increase the risk of developing stomach and bowel cancer. While others, such as vegetables and fruits, are especially potent cancer fighters. Choosing whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas instead of refined grains, and eating poultry, fish, or beans may also help lower your risk of stomach and bowel cancer.

3. Gallstones- Slimming down (if you're overweight) and changes to your diet may help prevent gallstones. Gallstones are hardened deposits of bile inside the gallbladder. Because cholesterol plays a role in the development of gallstones, you should avoid eating too many foods that are high in saturated fat. Eating too many foods that are high in cholesterol and fat and not enough of a high-fiber diet can increase your risk of gallstones.

4. Ulcerative Colitis- Eating a high-fat diet increases the risk of developing ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a digestive disease that results in inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include fatigue, rectal bleeding, anemia, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and feeling an urgent need to take a bowel movement. It's a serious disease that can cause dangerous complications if you don't get the right treatment.

5. Diverticulosis- Diverticulosis is a condition in which protruding pockets develop in the digestive tract. These pouches form when high pressure inside the large intestine pushes against weak spots in the intestinal wall. A high-fiber diet will reduce the risk of developing diverticular disease. Symptoms of diverticulitis include abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloody stools, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Diverticulitis can become serious, requiring hospital admission.

We really are what we eat! Swap those poor eating habits over for better ones. A healthy diet provides important minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to keep the body healthy. You can start making proactive changes to your diet today that can benefit your digestive health now, and throughout your entire life.


By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
September 17, 2018
Category: GI Care
Tags: Heartburn  

Heartburn--it's that uncomfortable, irritating pain in the center of your chest after you eat. Also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, heartburn affects people of all ages. When heartburn persists, your gastroenterologists in Anchorage and Eagle River, AK can Heartburnhelp. At Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, Dr. Ronald Boisen, Dr. Daryl McClendon and Dr. Jeffrey Molloy understand heartburn and how best to prevent it and treat it.

Why heartburn happens

Maybe your Grandpa called it "backup," and he was right. GERD symptoms happen when stomach contents, including acid, back up into the food pipe, or esophagus.

Why does this occur? A weak esophageal sphincter, the gateway between the food pipe and the stomach, often is to blame as are:

  • A hiatal hernia, when part of the stomach intrudes into the opening in the breathing muscle, or diaphragm
  • Spicy, chocolaty, and greasy food choices which irritate the lining of the stomach and make it more active
  • Obesity
  • Clothes that are too tight at the waistline
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Stress
  • Certain medications

What can you do?

Over the counter antacid medications often control heartburn symptoms. However, if symptoms persist beyond two weeks, say physicians at the Cleveland Clinic, see your gastroenterologist in Anchorage or Eagle River.

He may wish to inspect the lining of your esophagus and stomach with an outpatient procedure called an endoscopy. This lighted instrument helps the doctor uncover conditions such as Barrett's Esophagus, ulcers, and other issues which could be causing your heartburn symptoms.

A common care plan

Many heartburn patients respond well to simple lifestyle modifications such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Wearing clothes which fit properly at the waist
  • Stopping all tobacco
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Stopping food and beverages three hours before bedtime
  • Raising the head of the bed a few inches
  • Sleeping on the left side to alleviate pressure on the abdomen
  • Reducing stress through exercise
  • Taking prescribed proton pump inhibitors or H2 antagonists to reduce acid production in the stomach

Learn more

The American College of Gastroenterology says that at least 60 million Americans experience heartburn. If you're one of them, don't suffer. Contact Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease for an evaluation and help in managing your symptoms. We have two locations to serve you--one in Anchorage and one in Eagle River, AK. Use this number for an appointment at either office: (907) 569-1433. We look forward to seeing you!


By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
September 13, 2018
Category: GI Care
Tags: Gallstones  

Gallstones are a very common problem. You're at risk of developing gallstones if you're overweight or obese, female, or 40 or over. Gallstones are hardened deposits of bile inside the gallbladder. Many people with gallstones are unaware that they have them, as they produce no or little symptoms. For some people, however, gallstones can cause problems. Here are four signs and symptoms of a gallstone. 

1. Abdominal Pain

Symptoms of a gallstone may include severe abdominal pain. This pain goes and comes back repeatedly. The pain often occurs after eating and can last a few hours before it resolves. Chronic, ongoing pain that persists beyond a few hours may also occur, and may indicate a severe gallbladder problem.

2. Referred Pain

Gallstone pain can cause referred pain to the upper back and right shoulder. The pain usually comes on suddenly and may last for several hours. Prescribed painkillers are used to relieve pain associated with gallstones. You may also be given advice about eating a healthy diet to help control the pain.

3. Jaundice

Jaundice is a symptom of gallstones. Jaundice is a yellowish appearance of the whites of the eyes and skin due to high bilirubin levels. If a stone moves out of your gallbladder and one of your bile ducts and blocks the bile flow, jaundice occurs. Sometimes the gallstone passes from the bile duct on its own. If it doesn't, you may need to have gallbladder surgery.

4. Vomiting

A gallstone can cause nausea and vomiting, which may relieve some of the abdominal pressure and discomfort. Pain that occurs with appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, and a fever may suggest the presence of infection or inflammation of the gallbladder. Vomiting and diarrhea also occur with food poisoning and the flu, but the pain tends to come and go rather than be constant.

If you're experiencing the symptoms of a gallstone, you should notify your gastroenterologist right away. When a gallstone blocks your bile ducts, it can cause excruciating pain, which means you need emergency care right away.