Posts for: November, 2020
By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, LLC
November 18, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology Conditions
Did you know that the gut houses about 100 trillion bacteria? Of course, these microbes can affect everything from your intestinal health to your immune system if something throws your gut microbiome out of whack. While the C. difficile bacterium can be present in your gut and not even know it, other times this infection can lead to more serious gut problems.
What are the signs of a C. diff infection?
Again, it is possible to have this infection and not have symptoms; however, some people with C. diff experience:
- Stomach cramping or pain
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Of course, many intestinal diseases and infections can also cause these symptoms so it’s a good idea to see your gastroenterologist if you are dealing with watery diarrhea, vomiting, or fever that lasts more than 48 hours.
What are the risk factors for C. diff?
Certain factors can increase your risk for C. diff. While anyone can develop this infection it’s more common in those over 65 years old, those with weakened immune systems, patients with intestinal diseases (e.g. inflammatory bowel disease), and those who work in hospital settings. If you’ve had C. diff in the past, you’re also more likely to get it again.
How is C. diff contracted?
This infection can spread from person to person or from touching contaminated surfaces or objects. This is why it’s important to properly sanitize all surfaces both at home and at work. Also, practice good hygiene and wash clothes in hot water.
How is C. diff treated?
Antibiotics are the standard way to treat a C. diff infection; however, in more severe cases (when people are experiencing complications such as organ failure) surgery may be necessary to remove parts of the colon. Since this type of infection can come back, you must talk to your gastroenterologist about ways to prevent another infection in the future.
If you are dealing with chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, or other digestive problems, you must see a gastroenterologist who can figure out what’s going on and provide you with the treatment you need to feel better quickly.
By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, LLC
November 03, 2020
Category: Digestive Health
Tags: Chronic Diarrhea
Everyone has an occasional bout of diarrhea. It could be stress or something you ate; however, what if your diarrhea doesn’t go away? If you are experiencing diarrhea consistently for several weeks, then you’re dealing with chronic diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea could be a warning sign of more serious digestive diseases and problems, so it’s important to see a gastroenterologist as soon as possible.
What causes chronic diarrhea?
There are a variety of disorders, diseases, and even everyday habits that could be leading to your chronic diarrhea, which is why it’s a good idea to see a gastroenterologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of the digestive tract. Information that we garner from your initial evaluation (e.g. a family history of irritable bowel syndrome) can help us determine which tests to run.
Along with a physical examination, a gastroenterologist may also perform a blood test and stool sample to look for infections or signs of inflammation. A stool sample may be able to tell us whether your chronic diarrhea is being caused by:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections
Other factors can also lead to chronic diarrhea, including:
- Certain medications (e.g. antacids; laxatives)
- Gluten intolerance and Celiac disease
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Certain chronic or preexisting conditions (e.g. diabetes; thyroid disorders)
Other causes of chronic diarrhea include:
- Immune dysfunction
- Hereditary disorders (e.g. cystic fibrosis)
- Past surgeries of the digestive tract
If a blood test or stool sample doesn’t shed light on what’s going on, then your gastroenterologist may recommend imaging tests or endoscopy or colonoscopy to check for inflammation or bleeding somewhere within the digestive tract.
If nothing is revealed in these diagnostic tests, it is possible that your chronic diarrhea could be caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). While there is no cure for IBS, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make, particularly to your diet, which can reduce symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating.
A gastroenterologist is going to be the specialist you need to get chronic diarrhea, severe bloating, and abdominal pain under control. We know how frustrating chronic diarrhea can be, but we can give you the answers and treatment you’re looking for.