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Abdominal Pain: When is it Time to Visit a Gastroenterologist?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 @ 12:26 PM

Woman lying on sofa looking sick in the living room.jpegWe’ve all experienced abdominal pain at some point.  It can be bothersome and frustrating.  But, what if your abdominal pain reaches the point of concern?  If you’ve had ongoing or severe pain, you may find yourself wondering when you should see a physician, and you are right to do so.  While many stomach pains resolve on their own or respond to certain methods of self-medication, there are others that require a more in-depth look.

Not sure which category your discomfort falls into?  Here are some general guidelines to help you determine when it’s time to see your gastroenterologist.

Location of Abdominal Pain Matters

While it is often the severity of pain that prompts an appointment, the location of abdominal pain is an important factor as well.  The abdomen covers a large area and encompasses many important organs.  Paying attention to where your pain originates can be helpful in determining its root cause.

Pain in the upper, middle abdomen – This location is where the esophagus connects with the stomach.  Pain here is commonly associated with heartburn.  Often, it can be relieved with simple antacids.  However, chest pain due to heart problems, heartburn or other conditions such as inflammation/musculoskeletal pain or even panic attacks, may present in the same way.  Therefore, it is best to seek medical care to determine the cause.  It is always better be safe than sorry, by not missing serious conditions, rather than assuming it is something simple.

Pain in the lower abdomen – If you have a general feeling of cramping or discomfort in the lower abdomen, constipation in the likely culprit.  The condition is often passing and may be helped along with increased fluid and fiber intake or laxatives.  However, if the problem persists or recurs often, a gastroenterologist should be consulted.

Additionally, it is important to note that while many patients assume pain in this area could indicate colon cancer, the disease and associated polyps may not cause ANY symptoms. This is why everyone above 50 needs a colonoscopy, even if they are feeling fine, and sometimes earlier if other risk factors are present.

Pain that is localized – Pain that is localized to one side or the other of the abdomen could indicate an underlying problem with an organ.  Pain in the right, lower abdomen, for instance, could come from the appendix, while the gallbladder may cause pain in the upper right area.  In any case, persistent pain in a localized area should be examined by a doctor.

Severity and Endurance of Abdominal Pain

In general, fleeting abdominal pain is not a cause for concern.  In many cases, your body is able to deal with the source of pain and get you back to normal relatively quickly.  However, this is not always the case.  Seek medical attention immediately if your pain is severe or if it associated with any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Bloody stools
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Yellowing skin or eyes
  • Abdominal swelling or tenderness
  • Shortness of breath

While most cases of abdominal pain are relatively harmless, there are always exceptions.  Still, it is important not to Google your symptoms and allow yourself to assume the worst possible condition such as cancer.  This will only give you undue anxiety regarding your health.  If you experience the above symptoms, it is important to promptly seek medical care.  Then, allow your physician and their medical knowledge to assess the nature and seriousness of your condition and treat it accordingly.

In Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas, patients can contact Gastroenterology Associates and request an appointment to discuss any gastroenterology-related concerns, including abdominal pain. 

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Topics: Abdominal Pain

Gastric Balloon vs. Lap Band: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 @ 1:40 PM

Gastric Balloon vs Lap Band If you are searching for a weight loss solution that is effective and also reversible, you may have narrowed your search down to the gastric balloon and the gastric band, otherwise known as the Lap Band. Both meet the criteria of delivering weight loss results with the option of reversibility. However, there are also many differences between these two procedures, and knowing these differences just might help you make the decision that is best for you and your health.

Defining Gastric Balloon and Lap Band

Before we delve into the qualities that separate these two options, it is important first to understand what each offers:

Gastric Band – The gastric band is an adjustable band that is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. This restriction slows the consumption of food, as the part of the stomach above the band fills more quickly and leads to a feeling of fullness.

Gastric Balloon – The gastric balloon is inserted into the stomach through the esophagus and then inflated. By occupying space within the stomach, the balloon restricts the amount of food that can be consumed and leads to feeling full faster.

Gastric Balloon is Less Invasive than Lap Band

The Lap Band is considered to be minimally invasive, using laparoscopic placement through small cuts along the stomach and requiring less down time than alternatives such as gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. However, the gastric balloon is the only non-invasive option among these weight loss procedures. By being endoscopically inserted and inflated through the esophagus, the balloon circumvents the need to make any cuts and drastically reduces the associated recovery time.

Complications from the Gastric Balloon and Lap Band

Any procedure comes with potential complications, but ideally, those risks should be relatively low. However, in recent years, the Lap Band has dropped in popularity, partly due to its high risk of complication, which has been reported to be anywhere from 25 – 50 percent. These complications can range from the relatively harmless such as constipation and GERD to far more severe problems such as blood clots and esophageal dilation.

The associated risks with gastric balloon are far less prevalent and severe. Most patients have no side effects at all, with the most commonly noted complications include vomiting and abdominal pain that subsides within a few days. Additional complications, although rare, may include balloon deflation or pancreatitis.

Weight Loss Success from Gastric Balloon and Lap Band

Both the gastric balloon and Lap Band require that patients commit to a certain lifestyle and dietary changes to achieve and maintain maximum weight loss results. In the case of the Lap Band, there is typically an immediate weight loss that quickly slows to a steadier pace in the following 2-3 years. Still, inadequate weight loss following the surgery is a concern and accounts for 40 percent of all band removals.

Unlike the band, which many patients consider to be a permanent fix, the gastric balloon procedure comes with an upfront disclosure regarding its temporary nature and the patient’s commitment. There will be medically-backed, weight loss support throughout the process, as balloon recipients learn how to best care for their bodies through diet and exercise. Additionally, the balloon comes with the understanding that it will be removed after six months. It is not a quick fix. Rather, it is a way to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle by putting patients on the path to success with early weight loss and medical support.

If you have a BMI between 30 and 40 and are searching for a healthy way to begin your weight loss journey without invasive surgery, the gastric balloon could be the best option for you. Learn more by requesting a consultation through O.N.E. Weigh with any of our skilled gastroenterologists, and begin your journey to health.

Learn More About The Gastric Balloon

 

Topics: Gastric Balloon

The Gastric Balloon Procedure: Is it Right for Me?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 @ 9:19 AM

Is Gastric Balloon Right for MeVery few American adults are pleased with their weight.  It’s what leads us to spend billions every year on dieting and weight loss. We all want to look and feel our best and we know that a healthy weight can protect us from a wide range of troublesome health conditions.  Yet, for many, that ideal weight seems to remain perpetually out of reach.

If you’re finding weight loss difficult, you certainly aren’t alone.  For reasons ranging from stress to medical complications, millions of Americans find themselves in the same situation.  Fortunately medical options such as the gastric balloon are available to help jumpstart your weight loss and achieve the results you’ve been working for.  Best of all, the procedure is quick, effective and does not involve the need for surgery.  Here are the details you need to determine if the gastric balloon is right for you:

How does the Gastric Balloon Work?

First, an endoscopy is done to inspect the inside of your stomach.  This is done under sedation, so you will not be awake! The deflated balloon will be inserted into your stomach through the mouth, and then filled with a sterile saline. The procedure is generally uncomplicated and lasts 20-30 minutes. You will regain awareness quickly and be monitored until your doctor discharges you (usually an hour or so). You will need someone to drive you home. You will be given detailed instructions on your aftercare.

Immediately before and after the procedure you will follow a special diet to allow the body to recover and adjust to the newly placed balloon.  The balloon remains in the stomach for six months. During that time period patients will eat less and lose weight as the balloon has filled a portion of the stomach.  Patients will also learn to adhere to healthier diet and exercise programs increasing the odds of success  even after the balloon is removed.

Who is a Candidate for the Gastric Balloon?

Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30-40, a range considered obese or seriously obese.  Even in the presence of other necessary factors, patients may only qualify if they are within this range.  Additionally, the following should be present:

  • Committed to improving health and well-being – The gastric balloon will certainly help jumpstart weight loss. However, the most successful patients are those who fully commit themselves to living a new, healthier lifestyle and developing the tools needed for long-term success well beyond the balloon’s removal.
  • Willing to participate in a medically supervised program – Because the goal of the gastric balloon procedure is to aid patients in the early, most difficult stages of weight loss and lifestyle change, medical supervision and support is crucial. In order to ensure that patients are obtaining optimal results, our gastric balloon program, O.N.E. Weigh, utilizes a network of community partners who specialize in dietary and/or exercise programs. Throughout the course of the program, patients must commit to ongoing education and support with these partners through monthly meetings.
  • Ready to break through weight loss barriers without surgery – The gastric balloon is not a quick fix, but it also not major surgery. The ideal patient will be one who is thoroughly committed to their health and weight loss journey but wishes to reach these goals through less invasive options and often with the hope of avoiding surgical intervention.

If these factors sound familiar, there’s a good chance that the gastric balloon procedure is the one you’ve been searching for.  To know for sure, schedule a consultation with one of our gastroenterologists.  He or she will answer any questions you may have and offer additional insight surrounding the procedure, our ongoing support system, and long-term results.  When combined with your own commitment, it just may be the end to your weight struggles once and for all. 

 

Learn More About The Gastric Balloon

Topics: Gastric Balloon

Why Your Colonoscopy Shouldn’t be a Source of Stress

Posted by Dr. Neelima Reddy on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 @ 12:54 PM

colonscopy and stressThroughout the course of my medical training and my years as a physician, my perspective has changed in many ways.  I went from simply wanting a solid career to finding the practice of medicine that I was passionate about.  Eventually, I began to make the connection of what I studied in books to how it helps patients. The transition to independent patient management was different and gradual; there was no instructor behind me telling me what to do. Diagnosing and treating patients all by myself was a new feeling. Initially it was a little scary, but I quickly learned that my knowledge and experience was power to help others.

As a gastroenterologist, I would become anxious when I performed a colonoscopy on patients who had a family history of colon cancer or polyps.    I was nervous for them and about what I would find in them. I knew having a family history increased their risk of developing colon polyps and cancer. Oftentimes, the patient was in the same state of anxiousness as well. However, as my experience grew, I saw that the increased risk was minimal. I started explaining this to the patient as a way to help alleviate at least some of their anxiety. Some patients would say “Don’t find anything in me, Doc” and I wouldn’t! Those were the patients that usually had normal colons, but I think the experience helped them develop a positive attitude and encouraged them to take better care of themselves.

Those patients that were nervous before the procedure were relaxed afterwards, knowing that everything really was okay. If something was abnormal, it could usually be taken care of during the procedure For example, finding and removing a polyp. They were happy it was done, they were going to be fine, and they didn’t have to do it again for a few years.

Imagine the anxiety that a patient experiences before the procedure-- hours, days or even months depending on how long they put it off. This worry doesn’t change the end result. I tell them that I don’t find anything that’s not already in the colon, but finding it earlier gives them the benefit of potentially preventing cancer.  There is no benefit to being an ostrich, burying your head in the sand and closing your eyes to the symptoms or lack of symptoms. Many people attempt to justify their procrastination with an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. The danger here is that the most common symptom of colon cancer is no symptoms at all.

The undue anxiety before a colonoscopy is needless. If it is a “good stress” before a test that makes you study better and harder, then it is beneficial. If it makes you forget what you read, then it is of no use to you at all. Taking the right action at the right time, leaves no room for anxiety. So, prepare now to keep yourself healthy.  Take a deep breath, pick up the phone, and schedule your colonoscopy.  The only way it can change your future is for the better.

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Topics: Baton Rouge colonoscopy

Digestion Tips for Baton Rouge Athletes

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

AdobeStock_121166552.jpegSpring has sprung. While you can’t wait to take advantage of the long days and get moving, we want to make sure your digestion can keep up with your hot feet.

Just as it strengthens your muscles, regular exercise, along with a diet high in fiber, can strengthen the digestive system over time.

Allow 2-3 hours after a meal for digestion before vigorous activity

While cardiovascular activity has been shown to strengthen core muscles and stimulate intestinal muscles to move contents through the digestive system, exercising too soon after a meal can increase stress on your digestion and result in flatulence, nausea, and other forms of gastric distress. 

Vary your exercise routine

Light exercise that promotes stretching, such as yoga or pilates, can ease your digestive tract and reduce stress. Consider incorporating yoga, pilates, or light stretching into your training routine during your rest days.

Stay hydrated (but beware of hyponatremia)

You’ve heard—and try to adhere to—the old “8 glasses of water”. That’s a fine place to start, especially if you’re chronically dehydrated. But if you’re participating in high intensity exercise—like running—in the heat of the Louisiana summer, it is vital that you rehydrate correctly. Overconsumption of water following excessive sweating can result in hyponatremia, a condition in which the sodium levels in the blood drop dangerously low.

Symptoms of hyponatremia include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Loss of energy and fatigue
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • Seizures

Hyponatremia, if left untreated can result in coma and even death.

To rehydrate properly, listen to your body—the best indicator of dehydration is thirst! And consult with a digestive health expert about which sports drink will properly replenish your body’s electrolytes.

Save the fiber for after your run

Before your run, eat easily digestible foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fats and fiber, such as bananas, oatmeal, or toast. Post-exercise, reach for slower-digesting foods that are relatively high in protein to

Extreme exercise can exacerbate digestive disorders such as acute gastritis and GERD. If you are struggling with an existing digestive disorder, consult with a digestive health specialist before engaging in vigorous exercise, like running. Schedule a consultation with the digestive health experts at Gastroenterology Associates today!

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Topics: Digestion

Hemorrhoid Prevention in baton rouge

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 @ 12:59 PM

hemmorhoid prevention in baton rougeOh, no. Not again. Those burning, painful bumps that seem to itch at the worst times have reappeared down there. Hemorrhoids. You’ve put up with their sudden reappearance and disappearance for years, but now it’s time get serious about prevention.

Check out these tips for hemorrhoid prevention  and consult with a digestive specialist today.

Listen to your body’s natural digestive rhythm

If you don’t want to use the restroom at work, or outside home, be cautious as prolonged holding may disrupt your normal rhythm. Over a period of time, constipation may ensue, if you don’t follow “nature calls”. Straining at a bowel movement can cause prolonged, increased blood flow to the veins surrounding the anus, resulting in hemorrhoids. Your digestion has a rhythm and it’s time you started paying attention to it.

Increase your fiber intake

How much fiber do you get daily? Incorporating more fiber in your diet with vegetables and fruit can combat recurrent constipation. If naturally-occurring fiber is not enough, a gastroenterologist can recommend the right fiber supplement for your digestive needs.

While dietary fiber may help, each patient needs personalized attention and customized treatment. Some patients may need gentle laxatives, while others need stronger treatments. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to constipation and hemorrhoids. Let your gastroenterologist assess your condition in an appropriate manner, do the necessary testing and decide the right treatment for you.

If you are not having regular bowel movements, just increasing fiber may not help, and may actually.

Get moving to get your bowels moving

Does your job have you sitting at a desk for hours at a time? A sedentary lifestyle can slow down your digestion, leading to constipation, straining, and hemorrhoids. So get your heart rate up! Light daily activity, like walking, jogging, or yoga, can increase blood flow and cause waste to move through your digestive system more quickly. 

Consult with a Baton Rouge digestive health expert today

If you suspect that you have hemorrhoids, you should not be embarrassed. They are a natural occurrence in the human body and are more common that thought.  However, assumptions or self-diagnosis can be a slippery slope and consultation with a specialist in the field of gastroenterology will provide a more definitive assessment and personalized treatment plan. Contact the digestive health experts at Gastroenterology Associates today to get your digestion back on track.  

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Topics: Hemmorhoids

Celiac-Friendly Summer Grilling Tips for Baton Rouge (And a Recipe!)

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, May 12, 2017 @ 10:56 AM

Celiac-Friendly-Summer-Grilling-Tips-for-Baton-Rouge.jpegSummer is kicking off. The aroma of charcoal fills the air almost every evening, making your mouth water. You can’t wait for the season of backyard barbecues to begin in earnest. But if you have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or celiac sprue in Baton Rouge, you’re going to need to be a little more cautious around the buffet than you have been.

Check out these summer grilling tips for gluten intolerance in Baton Rouge and talk with the celiac experts at Gastroenterology Associates today!

Watch out for cross-contamination in the grill and prep area

As you would with any food allergy, it is vital that your food be cooked separately from any gluten-containing foods. If there isn’t room or time to cook your food separately or first, wrap your dishes in foil packets to ensure there isn’t cross-contamination on the grill. Also, don’t forget to use separate utensils when handling your gluten free foods.

Be wary of the marinade

Many marinades, dips, and sauces use gluten as a binder. If someone else is in charge of providing these items, don’t hesitate to ask to see the ingredient label or recipe. Still unsure? Don’t be afraid to provide your own. It’s better to practice caution than to contend with a celiac flare.

BYOB&B (Bring Your Own Booze & Buns) to a Baton Rouge BBQ

To avoid the impromptu and conversation-ruining “Does this beer/bun have gluten?” Google search, prepare ahead of time by bringing your own! Forgot to pack your own beer or bun? Enjoy your burger on a bed of lettuce or a portabella cap and wash it down with wine or hard cider to be safe.

Consult with your Baton Rouge gastroenterologist regularly

Most importantly, regular consultations with a celiac specialist can help prevent celiac flare-ups, manage symptoms, and give you the tools you need to live a healthy, gluten-free life. The digestive specialists at Gastroenterology Associates have the experience to help you manage your celiac lifestyle. Call today and set up a consultation. 

9 Signs of Celiac Disease

 

BONUS CELIAC-FRIENDLY GRILLING RECIPE!!!

Gluten-Free Pizza for the Grill
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Yield: 1 large pizza dough ball

Ingredients:
2 cups gluten free flour blend
2/3 tsp salt
1/3 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar, divided
2 tsp yeast
½ c + 1/3 c warm water, divided
2 tsp olive oil
Sauce
Toppings of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Heat ceramic grill to at least 550 degrees F.
  2. Combine yeast and ½ c warm water ~ about 110 degrees F. Let set for 5 minutes to activate. Sprinkle 2 tsp sugar. Whisk until combined.
  3. In separate bowl, combine gluten free flour blend, salt, baking powder, and remaining 4 tsp sugar. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Make a well in the dry mixture and add yeast mixture. Add olive oil and 1/3 c warm mater before stirring. With a wooden spoon, stir together until well combined.
  5. On a floured surface, plop dough down. Using your hands, work from the middle and push to flatten the dough out to the edge, until the dough is less than a ¼ inch thick. Use brown rice flour if the dough gets too sticky.
  6. Lay the tongs, sauce, and toppings on a table within arm’s reach of your grill. Brush one side of dough with olive oil. Place the dough on the grill, oiled side-down. Let cook on an open grill for about 3 minutes—or 1-2 minutes with the lid on. When the dough is just set (before it gets crispy), flip the dough over, spread a thin layer of sauce and top lightly with cheese, etc.
  7. Put the lid on and cook your pizza for 3-5 minutes. If you smell burning dough, take the lid off and move the pizza to a cooler part of the grill.
  8. When the pizza is done, the edges will be crisp and well-done, and the cheese will be fully melted. Remove from the grill, let cool for 3 minutes, and enjoy!

Topics: Celiac

Removing the Gastric Balloon: What to Expect During and After

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 @ 10:38 AM

Removing-the-Gastric-Balloon-What-to-Expect-During-and-After.jpegSo you got the gastric balloon! Your journey to attaining sustainable weight loss in Baton Rouge has officially begun. 6 months have flown by and now you’re preparing for the gastric balloon to be removed. While you recall the generalities of the removal, you’re a little fuzzy on the details. Don’t worry! We’re here to answer your questions about gastric balloon removal in Baton Rouge.

How is the gastric balloon removed?

Like the gastric balloon insertion, you will be given a mild sedative prior to removing the gastric balloon. Using endoscopic equipment, your gastroenterologist will extract the saline solution from the gastric balloon and then remove the deflated gastric balloon through your mouth. The entire procedure generally takes less than 30 minutes. Following a short in-house observation, you are free to leave with your prearranged ride.

How do I prepare for a gastric balloon removal?

Before the gastric balloon is removed, there are three vital steps you must take:

  1. Before the gastric balloon removal procedure in Baton Rouge—generally 48 hours prior—begin taking the prescribed heartburn medication as directed by your physician. This medication is designed to help counteract any reflux or heartburn that may occur during or after your gastric balloon removal.
  2. For your gastroenterologist to remove the gastric balloon, there must be no solid food in your stomach. This can be achieved by refraining from solid foods for 48 hours prior to the gastric balloon removal procedure. During this time, taking small, frequent sips of low-calorie carbonated beverages, such as diet soda or sparkling water, can help settle your stomach and clean the gastric balloon of any remaining food particles.
  3. Arrange for a ride home:  Due to the mild sedative used during the brief procedure, you will need to stay in-house until the sedative’s effects wear off. Gastroenterology Associates requires that you have a ride home planned before the procedure can take place, as it is not recommended that you drive or operate heavy machinery for 8 hours following sedation.

Failing to follow any of these steps will result in the postponement of your gastric balloon removal procedure.

Will I gain the weight back after the gastric balloon is removed?

The gastric balloon is a temporary, non-surgical procedure designed to jumpstart your weight loss and set you on the path to whole body health. When the gastric balloon is removed, your stomach’s capacity will return to its previous size. Patients who do not commit to the lifestyle changes they made during the 6-month gastric balloon placement may regain lost weight.

When you receive your gastric balloon at Gastroenterology Associates of Baton Rouge, you receive twelve months of coaching from professional nutrition and exercise consultants. As part of the O.N.E. Weigh gastric balloon program, these weight loss experts will work with you during and after your procedure to create diet and exercise programs tailored to you and your body’s needs.  

Learn-more-about-one-weigh

 

Topics: Gastric Balloon

What Baton Rouge Needs to Know About Hiatal Hernias

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 @ 4:20 PM

What Baton Rouge Needs to Know About Hiatal Hernias.jpgDigestive disorders are a part of everyday life for millions of Americans. Diet, stress, and chronic conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) all contribute to disrupting proper digestion.

A lesser-known cause of digestive problems is herniation, or the presence of hernias. A hernia occurs when an internal organ or fatty tissue forces itself into an area where it doesn’t belong. In the case of hiatal hernias, a part of the stomach is pushing upward through the diaphragm.

Small hiatal hernias typically lack noticeable symptoms and may not require medical treatment. It’s entirely possible that you could have a hiatal hernia and not even know until it’s discovered by a physician during an examination. On the other hand, large hiatal hernias can cause issues that disrupt digestion and in some cases require surgery

How are hiatal hernias caused?

The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm which separates the abdomen from the chest cavity. When everything is working properly, the esophagus passes through the hiatus and attaches to the stomach. A hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach swells up into the chest through that opening.

Why certain people suffer from hiatal hernias is less clear. Some may have been born with a large hiatal opening. Injury to the area or excessive pressure from surrounding muscles due to coughing, straining during bowel movements, or vomiting can also lead to hiatal hernias.

Why do hiatal hernias disrupt digestion?

If a hernia is large enough, it can cause food and acid to reflux into the esophagus, causing heartburn or GERD.

What are the symptoms of hiatal hernias?

Smaller hernias may not cause discomfort and present few, if any, other symptoms. Symptoms that indicate larger hernias which are actively disrupting digestion include:

  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive belching
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling especially full after meals

If left untreated, hiatal hernias can rarely become trapped in the chest or strangulated—which means the hernia begins to cut off blood to the entrapped intestine. Strangulated hiatal hernias can cause sudden pain in the chest and requires immediate medical attention. More common scenario is that hiatal hernias are found at endoscopy and may be associated with the symptoms of heartburn, regurgitation, etc., which need to be controlled. Most people do not need surgery for the hernia.

That’s why it’s crucial to be properly diagnosed by your Louisiana gastroesophageal specialist when you first notice symptoms.

 Who is at risk for hiatal hernias?

People over the age of 50 are most at risk, and women tend to suffer from hiatal hernias more often than their male counterparts. Obesity is also a contributing cause to the presence of hiatal hernias. 

How are hiatal hernias diagnosed in Baton Rouge?

In order to properly diagnose your gastric condition, your Baton Rouge hernia specialist will use a barium swallow or an upper endoscopy. An upper endoscopy allows your doctor to examine the esophagus and determine the cause of heartburn.

People often dismiss digestive issues without being properly diagnosed, but it’s important to be aware of hiatal hernias,. With small changes in self care or diet, most small hiatal hernias can be taken care of with little to no medical attention required. However, larger hiatal hernias can present serious complications if left untreated.

Don’t just accept digestive problems as a part of your life. Visit a gastroesophageal specialist in Baton Rouge to determine the cause of your digestive distress and start on the road to heartburn management today.

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Topics: hiatal hernias

Colon Cancer Screening for Millennials in Baton Rouge

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 3:14 PM

COLON CANCER SCREENING FOR MILLENNIALS IN BATON ROUGE.jpgIt’s that time of year again—Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Over the years, we’ve talked about the prevalence of colon cancer among adults over 50, as well as how diabetes, race, polyps, and other genetic factors can increase the risk of colon cancer. But now, it’s time to talk about a startling new demographic at risk—millennials.

New research has shown that the millennial generation—people born between 1978 and 1997—are at greater risk for both colon and rectal cancer than the preceding generations. Since the mid-1990s, colon cancer rates have increased by 1-2.4% every year. Rectal cancer prevalence among 20-39-year-olds has increased 3.2% per year from 1980 to 2013. In 2015, 10% of colorectal cancer patients were under the age of 50. 

But there is good news. Colon cancer is not only treatable, but preventable with early detection.

People who are at an elevated risk for colon cancer should be screened regularly, so that it can be caught even if it isn't yet causing symptoms. Early screening can also detect polyps that have the potential to become cancerous later on.

Three main tests can be used to screen for colorectal cancer in millennials:

Colonoscopy

The strongest tool for early detection of cancer and also allows the doctor to look at the inside of the entire colon. Even if you have no other risk factors, a colonoscopy should be performed every 10 years starting at age 50. Most insurance companies cover this as a wellness/ preventive program, without any copay or deductible.

If you have any concerns about getting a colonoscopy, such as pain during the procedure or drinking the prep, then you have not been keeping up with the latest developments. If your doctor thinks it is appropriate for you, a smaller prep is better tolerated and a colonoscopy is a sedated, completely pain-free procedure, as anyone who has done it will tell you.

Although some other tests (as below) may be able detect blood in the stool or polyps, they are not as good as a colonoscopy in diagnosing polyps or cancer and you will still need a colonoscopy if a polyp or blood in the stool is found in any other way.

Fecal Immunochemical Test

This colon cancer screening test looks for signs of cancer in three consecutive stool samples, which you can collect at home. This test should be performed annually starting at age 50—or earlier, if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or exhibit other risk factors for colon cancer. This is not a 100% guaranteed test in diagnosing all cases with polyps or cancer, nor does it rule out any abnormalities when it is negative.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

This screening test allows doctors to view the inside of your rectum and the nearest part of your colon, the sigmoid colon. It should be performed every 5 years starting at age 50. This does not help to examine the right side of the colon where more polyps may be found, and you need to prep and have sedation for this procedure as well.

The only difference is how much of the colon will be examined, so it has not been an ideal test for colon cancer screening.

Patients at an elevated risk of colon cancer—even those under the age of 40—should be screened more frequently. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, a family history of colon cancer, or a personal history of polyps, your doctor may recommend that you start getting screened earlier, and get screened more frequently.

There is no reason to panic because of the numbers. You need to ask your doctor if you need colon cancer screening- anyone 50 years and above, or anyone with a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or at any age if you have symptoms such as rectal bleeding or anemia, you may need to be tested.

There are many factors that contribute to the development of colon cancer. Doing what is good for your bodysuch as eating fresh fruits and vegetables, eating less red meat and processed foods, exercising to avoid or reduce obesity, and having regular checkups with your doctor—is good for your colon as well. Genetics is just one risk factor, so instead of stressing about your family history or what you read online, take action to restore your peace of mind. Call and schedule a consultation today.

To schedule your colonoscopy in Baton Rouge today, please contact one of the doctors at Gastroenterology Associates by calling (225) 927-1190.

Topics: colon cancer awareness Louisiana, colon cancer Baton Rouge

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