A colorectal specialist is a doctor who specialized in disorders and diseases of the colon, rectum, and anus. In the past, these doctors were called proctologists but the term has fallen out of use. [Read more…]
Good digestive health is essential for overall health: It helps us absorb nutrients and expel waste from our bodies, leading to better health. If you find your digestive health isn’t as good as it used to be or simply want to keep it in tip-top shape, following these simple lifestyle changes can help improve your digestive health: [Read more…]
Vomiting; constipation; belly pain; blood in the stool; indigestion. Any of these symptoms can send patients running to you for a diagnosis, worried about something serious. Are they experiencing something as benign as an anal fissure or something more worrisome like Crohn’s Disease?
Recognizing the symptoms of digestive disorders and diseases will go a long way in reassuring your patients and providing them with a diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. [Read more…]
Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common intestinal disorder that causes excess gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation. For patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), symptoms can disrupt their everyday lives at inconvenient times. If left untreated, IBS can promote other problems like the formation of hemorrhoids.
For many patients, IBS is merely an annoyance from time to time but for others, disabling. Here is how you can help patients learn how to live with IBS, including ways they can manage the condition: [Read more…]
Gastritis, or the inflammation of the stomach lining, is a condition that can be acute (occurs suddenly and lasts for a short time) or chronic (develops slowly and is long lasting). This condition occurs when the protective layer of mucus in the stomach breaks down, and gastritis can be erosive (the stomach lining wears away, causing ulcers) or non-erosive (inflammation without erosion). [Read more…]
Indigestion, also called dyspepsia, is a term that is used to describe discomfort and pain in the upper abdomen that can include symptoms like:
- Feeling full
- Burning sensation in the stomach
- Growling stomach
Indigestion is a common enough condition that most people ignore it or take over-the-counter medications like antacids to relieve symptoms. Indigestion can be a condition in and of itself or a symptom of a larger problem. [Read more…]
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease of the colon, or large intestine, in which the lining of your colon becomes inflamed and leads to the development of small open sores known as ulcers. The inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis can cause individuals to experience pain and discomfort in their abdominal region, as well as more urgent, frequent emptying of their bowels. At this time, nearly 700,000 Americans suffer from ulcerative colitis, and the disease is a major known risk factor of colon cancer.
This bowel disease is thought to be the cause of an abnormal response triggered by your immune system in your intestines. In the event of ulcerative colitis, your immune system detects a series of foreign invaders such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and becomes activated — leading to chronic inflammation and ulceration. The cause of the condtion is largely unknown at this time, and tends to commonly affect individuals between 15 and 30 years of age.
Many tend to confuse the symptoms of ulcerative colitis with Crohn’s disease; however, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, whereas ulcerative colitis is restricted to just the colon, and affects only the lining of the colon.
Symptoms Of Ulcerative Colitis
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis can occur off and on, and individuals may experience flare-ups after having experienced no side effects or symptoms for an extended period of time. The sporadic side effects sometimes makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose and prescribe treatments for the condition.
Most individuals who suffer from ulcerative colitis will experience drastic weight loss as a result of loss of appetite, as well as fatigue and low energy levels.
Other common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
- More urgent, frequent, and loose bowel movements
- Painful bowel movements
- Intense bouts of diarrhea accompanied by abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
- Intense abdominal cramps
- Joint pain
Diagnosing & Treating Ulcerative Colitis
Talk to your doctor if you suspect that you might be suffering from ulcerative colitis. Your physician will perform a series of tests to determine whether you need treatment, and may require that you undergo blood tests and x-rays, provide stool samples, and have either a colonoscopy or proctosigmoidocopy.
If your doctor finds that you have ulcerative colitis, you may be prescribed drug therapy and be required to alter your diet. In most cases, you may be prescribed one or more medications that can reduce inflammation in your bowels, such as sulfa drugs, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents, and antibiotics.
Consult with your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms related to ulcerative colitis. Undergoing treatment for this condition can significantly reduce your risk for colon cancer.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that most commonly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon; however, Crohn’s disease could affect any part of the GI tract that extends from the mouth to the anus. The disease affects as many as 700,000 Americans, and was named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn, who was the first physician to describe the disease in 1932.
Although they share many of the same symptoms and are both classified as inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are not the same. Whereas Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract, ulcerative colitis is limited to just the colon.
The cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but doctors suspect that the condition is developed when the body’s immune system reacts abnormally to bacteria in the GI tract. Crohn’s disease has also been shown to run in families, so you may be at higher risk if anyone in your family has suffered from the condition. Stress and an unhealthy diet have been found to worsen Crohn’s disease, but are not direct causes of the condition. Crohn’s disease affects men and women equally, and normally occurs in individuals between the ages of 15 and 35.
Symptoms Of Crohn’s disease
Since Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract, signs and symptoms of the condition will vary from patient to patient. In most cases of Crohn’s disease, symptoms usually develop slowly and gradually over time, but can sometimes occur suddenly without warning or previous signs and symptoms. If you have Crohn’s disease, you may go through periods of remission during which you exhibit no signs or symptoms.
Here are the most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease:
- Frequent, excessive bouts of diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Urgent need to experience bowel movements
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Weight loss
- Mouth sores
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Perianal disease
In addition to the signs and symptoms above, you might have Crohn’s disease if you suffer from inflammation of the skin, eyes, joints, liver, or bile ducts. Children who suffer from Crohn’s disease may experience a delay in growth and sexual maturation.
Getting Screened For Crohn’s Disease
If you think you might have Crohn’s disease based on the signs and symptoms listed above, visit your doctor to undergo proper testing. Your doctor may run a series of blood tests, perform a colonoscopy, or perform other procedures to evaluate the health of your GI tract and colon.
See your doctor immediately if you experience any abnormal changes in your bowel movements or if you experience any abdominal pain, bloody stools, ongoing diarrhea, fever, or unexplained weight loss. When left untreated, Crohn’s disease can lead to complications that include bowel obstruction, ulcers, fistulas, malnutrition, anal fissure, and colon cancer.