Posts for: March, 2019
Your gastrointestinal health needs diligent care. If you suffer from heartburn (also called acid reflux or GERD), don't ignore the pain, burning sensation, difficulty swallowing, and pressure. Contact Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease in Anchorage or Eagle River. Dr. Boisen, Dr. McClendon, and Dr. Molloy are board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine. They can help you manage this potentially damaging condition.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is the nickname for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, the back-up of stomach contents and acid into the esophagus after a meal. Increasing in frequency with age and obesity, GERD causes considerable discomfort, a burning sensation in the area of the breastbone and mimics heart attack pain in intensity.
While many people choose to just live with heartburn and take over the counter medications for relief, your Anchorage gastroenterologists stress that no one should downplay or ignore reflux symptoms which last more than a week or so. The American College of Gastroenterology agrees, saying that repeated episodes of GERD may lead to:
- Erosions, ulcers and strictures in the esophagus
- Asthma-like symptoms (coughing most notably)
- Persistent chest discomfort
- Barrett's Esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition in which the cells lining the esophagus change to resemble those lining the stomach
- Esophageal and stomach cancer
As such, always mention heartburn symptoms to your primary care physician who may recommend evaluation by the team at Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease.
Drs. Molloy, McClendon and Boisen fully evaluate their patients regarding heartburn symptoms, asking about intensity, frequency and what may precipitate an attack. The gastroenterologist often advises physical examination via upper GI endoscopy (a lighted scope and video imaging) or video capsule endoscopy which sends imaging via a tiny camera which travels through the entire GI tract. These results will tell him the extent of your condition, show him any changes--cancerous or not--and help him tailor a care plan suited to your needs.
Common treatments for heartburn, include:
- Limiting acidic and fatty foods
- Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight
- Wearing loose clothing (particularly at belt level)
- Elevating the head of the bed
- Practicing good posture
- Not eating for three hours before going to bed
- Taking proton pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec, and H2 inhibitors, such as Zantac
Feel better and be healthier
Be well informed on your acid reflux, and allow the experts at Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease help. For a consultation with one of our gastroenterologists, please call for an appointment at either our Anchorage or Eagle River, AK, offices at (907) 569-1333.
Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, is a condition affecting the large intestine or colon. It is associated with a variety of symptoms, including abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known and the condition tends to affect women more often than men. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a gastroenterologist can determine if you truly have the condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan for your symptoms.
A variety of gastrointestinal symptoms is associated with irritable bowel syndrome. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, consult a gastroenterologist who can make a proper diagnosis. A diagnosis of IBS is usually made by ruling out other gastrointestinal problems through blood tests, stool sample tests, x-rays, a colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:
- abdominal pain or cramping
- mucus in stools
- recurring urgent need to have a bowel movement
Although the exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown, there are several treatment options for alleviating some of the discomfort associated with IBS. Dietary habits can have an impact on the frequency and severity of symptoms. Eating smaller meals during the day can ease digestion and lessen symptoms. Including more fiber during the day can also help with symptoms such as constipation. Eliminating foods, such as dairy, that aggravate the symptoms of IBS can also help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort.
Other strategies for treating irritable bowel syndrome include medications, probiotics and managing stress. Increased stress can aggravate IBS symptoms so keeping stress levels low can minimize symptoms. Additionally, probiotics and certain medications can also help improve digestion and alleviate some of the symptoms of IBS, such as gas or diarrhea. A gastroenterologist can help you determine which treatments options are best for your symptoms.
Irritable bowel syndrome can result in a lot of pain and discomfort. Fortunately, there are treatments that can provide relief. See a gastroenterologist for diagnosis and a treatment plan.
A polyp: you may have heard of this condition, but remain unsure on what exactly it is. Most commonly developed in the colon, polyps are small clumps of cells that grow inside various parts of the body. Although some polyps are benign, others can develop into cancer, making it crucial that you receive periodic colonoscopies from your gastroloenterologist. Read on to learn more about colon polyps, and if you are in need of a colonoscopy, make sure to call your local gastroenterologist to make an appointment!
What exactly are colon polyps?
As mentioned above, polyps are small clumps of cells that generally develop in the nasal passage, uterine lining, vocals cords, stomach lining, and most commonly in the colon lining. Projected to develop in fifty percent of the population over time, colon polyps come in two distinct categories:
- Hyperplastic Polyps: Definitively noncancerous, these benign cell clumps are small and grow near the end of the colon
- Adenomatous Polyps: This polyp variety affects more people than its counterpart, and carries the possibility of becoming cancerous, although this development usually takes years to occur.
Although colon polyps generally do not show any immediate symptoms, some warning signs certainly do spring up over time. These signs include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Abnormal stool color
- Shifts in bowel habits
- Abdominal pain
How can I stay healthy?
Given that polyps usually do not exhibit any symptoms until late into their development, the best course of defense against this potentially deadly condition is to receive regular colonoscopies once you reach the age of 50.
A colonoscopy is a minor procedure in which a small, camera-equipped tool is inserted into the anus so that a doctor may examine the colon. If any polyps are discovered, the doctor can then remove them and send a sample to the lab for a biopsy. In the event that the sample tests positive for cancer, your doctor can discuss any further steps that need to be taken.
Concerned? Give us a call!
If you are in need of a colonoscopy, be sure to give your local gastroenterologist a call and receive the treatment that you need!