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Gastroenterology Blog

How Does Stress Impact Digestive Health

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Mon, Feb 18, 2019 @ 11:22 AM

stress and digestionIf you have ever experienced the feeling of a knot in your stomach or queasiness when undergoing a particularly upsetting or stressful time, you are already well aware that your mental state can have significant impact over your digestive health.  This is managing stress and anxiety are imperative to not only mental health, but gut health as well.

How are the Brain and Gut Connected?

Increasingly, researchers are learning how intrinsically connected the brain and digestive system are.  In fact, the gut houses its own network of neurons known as the enteric nervous system (ENS) or intrinsic nervous system.  This system is made up of roughly 500 million neurons, five times as many as the spinal cord, and regulates functions such as swallowing and the release of enzymes.  Typically, this system communicates with the central nervous system of the brain and spinal cord via the autonomic nervous system.  However, it is also capable of operating autonomously if necessary.

Effects of Stress on the Digestive System

When we find ourselves in a particularly stressful situation, the body goes into its “fight or flight” response and releases the hormone cortisol.  In the moments following, the digestive system may experience symptoms such as spasms of the esophagus, indigestion, nausea and diarrhea

For those suffering from chronic bouts of stress, the damage to the digestive system can be even greater.  It can lead to inflammation, cramping, and an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria.  It can also exacerbate existing digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), peptic ulcers, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Minimizing the Impact of Stress on Gut Health

The first step for anyone experiencing stress and related gastrointestinal difficulties should be to find ways to reduce their overall level of stress.  Among the most effective ways to accomplish this are exercising regularly, seeing a therapist, improving diet, and using calming techniques like meditation.  Of course, if stress-induced digestive troubles have become an ongoing issue, a gastroenterologist should be consulted as well.

In the Baton Rouge area, patients can request an appointment with any of the many qualified gastroenterologists at Gastroenterology Associates to address their digestive health concerns.

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Topics: Gut Health

7 Healthy Digestion Tips Your Gut will Thank You For

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Feb 01, 2019 @ 9:29 AM

probioticsWe’ve all experienced digestive woes from time to time.  Stomach cramps, constipation, heartburn, and similar problems are all clues that something just isn’t quite right within the digestive system.  In some instances, the cause is an underlying condition or illness, but in others, such problems could simply be the result of not treating our bodies right.  If you find that you frequently experience such issues and believe that some lifestyle changes may be the key, here are seven that you should definitely try:

Eat More Fiber

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, and both are an important element in any healthy diet.  Each one plays a role in maintaining healthy stool and preventing complications such as constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis.  To ensure you are getting enough, include foods such as legumes, seeds, nuts, wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.

Include Probiotics in Your Diet

A healthy digestive system thrives on a balanced gut flora (community of bacteria).  While you certainly want to keep bad bacteria at bay, this also requires a strong presence of good bacteria.  Probiotics can help, as they contain the same good bacteria that is found naturally within the digestive tract.

Focus on Hydration

Hydration is an important aspect of all bodily functions, but as many as 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated and don’t even realize.  The more water you drink, the smoother your digestive system runs and the easier it becomes to pass stools.

Stick to a Daily Schedule

The human body thrives on routine, including the digestive system.  By eating meals at the same time each day, the body knows what to expect and becomes more efficient at digesting food and moving waste out.

Get Your Body Moving

Exercise is another key to avoiding constipation and keeping the digestive system moving.  When you exercise, your muscles get stronger, including those that are critical to digestion.

Avoid Tobacco

Cigarettes can wreak havoc on nearly every part of the body, including the digestive system.  For smokers, the risk of developing nearly any digestive disease or complication is higher.  These can include Crohn’s, heartburn, peptic ulcers, and even liver disease.

Get a Handle on Stress

If you’ve ever found yourself in a particularly stressful situation, you have probably felt a familiar knot in your stomach.  The connection between brain and gut means that when your mind is experiencing turmoil, your digestion can be impacted.  In the short term, stress can leave you feeling nauseous and cause diarrhea or constipation.  In the long term, it can reduce blood flow and oxygen to the digestive system leading to inflammation and an imbalance of bacteria.

Some conditions and factors impacting digestion are beyond your control, but there are many other elements which can be influenced.  Keep these tips in mind throughout your day, and you are certain to experience positive results. 

If you are currently experiencing digestive difficulties, contact Gastroenterology Associates and request an appointment with any one of our skilled gastroenterology physicians.

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Topics: Gut Health

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: Gut Health

How to Survive Holiday Travel with a Digestive Disorder

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Thu, Nov 03, 2016 @ 11:08 AM

How to Survive Holiday Travel with a Digestive Disorder.jpg

With Halloween under our belts, the holiday season has officially started in Baton Rouge. It’s a time for jolly and joy, but if you struggle with celiac sprue, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, or another disease of the digestive system, it’s also a time for careful planning. Check out these gastroenterologist-approved tips for managing your digestive disorder this holiday season.

Plan your route and accommodations per your digestive condition: First and foremost, do your best to travel when your condition is stable. If it isn’t possible to plan your trip this way, travel a route you are familiar with. Taking the time to learn the rest stops, en route medical facilities, and friendly food options will save you time and prevent undue discomfort and gastric distress.

Check your medications: If you’re traveling frequently during holiday season, it’s important that you have sufficient medication to see your digestive system through the parties and gatherings. Make sure to carry your prescription medications in their original bottles to avoid confusion or security concerns. If you are traveling to a place where you cannot easily refill your medication, speak with your gastroenterologist about extending your prescription. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU RUN OUT. Please call ahead and provide adequate time for your doctor’s office to get the refill and your pharmacy to get it ready for you. If you haven’t seen the doctor in a while, they may need to see you before giving a refill, so plan well in advance for such situations.

Know your local healthcare options: In case of an emergency, make sure you’re familiar with the local healthcare options available to you during the holiday season. In addition, consider carrying contact information from your regular doctor.

Lend a knowledgeable helping hand: If you’re uncomfortable asking your host to accommodate your dietary restrictions, consider preparing or bringing food you know will meet your needs. In a home kitchen, cross-contamination can happen easily, so think about lending a knowledgeable and helpful hand by offering to contribute to the smorgasbord.

Be candid with your host: Every host wants their guests to have an enjoyable time, but they can only accommodate the dietary restrictions they know about. Whether it’s celiac sprue, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, or another digestive disorder, you know how important it is to avoid your triggers. Let your host know that a good way to prevent cross-contamination at a potluck or many-dish meal is to allow those with digestive disorders, allergies, or sensitivities to serve first, so that utensils will not be misused or misplaced.

The holidays should be a time of gathering and good cheer. By following these tips and consulting with your gastroenterologist, you can focus your energy on enjoying the company of your loved ones. Now that’s something to be thankful for.

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Topics: Gut Health, Weight Management

4 Fiber-Filled Make-Ahead Meals for a Louisiana Fall

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Tue, Sep 06, 2016 @ 11:35 AM

4_Fiber-Filled_Make-Ahead_Meals_for_a_Louisiana_Fall.jpgAs the school year rolls in and your schedule starts filling up, it can be exhausting to balance work, family, and friends, let alone a healthy diet. While you’re running from the office to ballet or soccer, the siren call of fast food is all too tempting.

But busy days don’t have to derail your diet and digestive health.

You need something that you can pop in the microwave and enjoy all week long. Check out these 4 gastroenterologist-approved recipes that are high in fiber to keep you satisfied. Each takes less than an hour to make and is easily customizable to any dietary need.

BREAKFAST

In addition to fiber, rolled oats are a gluten-free whole grain source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Oats also offer such benefits as sustainable weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease. So why not kick off your morning with a deliciously nutritious serving of baked oatmeal?

Make-Ahead Baked Oatmeal (Serves 8)
(Adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie)

Prep Time: 5 minutes 
Cook Time: 53 minutes
Total: 58 minutes 

Ingredients:

4 c. rolled oats
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp uncut stevia (OR 1/2 cup pure maple syrup)
2 2/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 ¼ c. milk of choice or water (reduce by 1/2 cup if using maple syrup)
¼ cup oil (OR more milk of choice or water)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Optional: cinnamon, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, raisins

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9×13 rectangular pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 380°
  3. In a very large mixing bowl, fully stir together all dry ingredients, then add all remaining ingredients.
  4. Transfer to the pan, smooth down with a spatula, and bake 28 minutes, broiling the final minute if desired.
  5. Then, keeping the oven door CLOSED, turn off the heat.
  6. Leave the pan in the closed oven for another 25 minutes.
  7. When the time is up, remove from the oven.
  8. Cut into bars or squares, and top with syrup or coconut butter

Serve and enjoy! 

Freezer-friendly: Bars should be cooled, wrapped in freezer-friendly plastic wrap, then foil, and stored in the freezer up to a month.

To use: Thaw in the fridge overnight and heat in the microwave until warm (about 1-2 minutes).

LUNCH

Is your office breakroom filled with dastardly tempting vending machines? Shield yourself from cravings with this easy and filling Asian-inspired dish that’s delicious warm or cold.

Peanut Noodles with Shredded Chicken & Vegetables (Serves 4)
(Adapted from Eating Well)

Prep Time: 10 minutes 
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes 

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ c. smooth natural peanut butter
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp chili-garlic sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
8 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti
1-12 oz. bag fresh vegetable medley (such as carrots, broccoli, and snow peas)

Instructions:

  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, place chicken in a skillet or saucepan and add enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size strips.
  4. Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, chile-garlic sauce and ginger in a large bowl.
  5. Cook pasta in the boiling water until not quite tender, about 1 minute less than specified in the package directions.
  6. Add vegetables and cook until the pasta and vegetables are just tender, 1 minute more.
  7. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Rinse the pasta and vegetables with cool water to refresh.
  8. Stir the reserved cooking liquid into the peanut sauce; add the pasta, vegetables and chicken; toss well to coat.

Serve warm or chilled and enjoy!

DINNER

Here’s where we all fall off the bandwagon. Whether you’re stuck in the office or running ragged on the roads of Baton Rouge, drive home with a smile knowing these satisfying, gut-healthy meals are only a microwave-zap away.

Lentil-Rice Stew with Turkey Sausage (Serves 7)
(Adapted from Prevention)

Prep Time: 8 minutes 
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes

Ingredients:
8 oz. low-fat Italian turkey sausage
2 c. chopped cabbage
1 c. yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth, divided
1 c. dried lentils
 ½ c. brown rice
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Instructions:

  1. Coat a Dutch oven with no-stick spray or a small amount of olive oil and place over medium-high heat until hot.
  2. Add the sausage and cook—stirring frequently—for 5 minutes, or until browned.
  3. Add the cabbage, onions, green peppers, garlic, and 1 cup of the stock and cook—stirring occasionally so that nothing sticks—for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft but not browned.
  4. Add the lentils, rice, curry powder, and the remaining 3 cups of stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce stovetop to medium heat. Cover and cook—stirring occasionally—for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the stew is thick.
  6. Add the black pepper and parsley.

Serve and enjoy!

Freezer-friendly: If you’re not planning to eat the stew in one week, pack the cooled soup in a freezer-quality portioned bags or plastic containers.
To use: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Transfer to a saucepan and warm over low heat—stirring frequently—for 15 minutes or until hot. Serve and enjoy!

And last but certainly not least...

Tailgate-Worthy Black Bean Enchilada Casserole (Serves 6)
(Adapted from Prevention)

This crowd-pleasing casserole is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a weekend tailgate with friends!

Prep Time: 20 minutes 
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes 

Base Ingredients:
2 c. cooked black beans
4 oz. reduced-fat extra-firm tofu
½ c. salsa
1/3 c. shredded low-fat monterey jack cheese
¼ c. canned diced green chili peppers
2 scallions, minced
1 ½ c. reduced-sodium tomato puree
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
10 corn tortillas (6" diameter)
Topping:
¼ c. shredded nonfat mozzarella cheese
¼ c. nonfat sour cream
¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with no-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, tofu, and salsa. Mash together with a fork. Add the Monterey Jack, chili peppers, and scallions.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the tomato puree, chili powder, and cumin. Mix well.
  4. Spoon half of the bean mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with 5 of the tortillas. Spoon half of the tomato mixture over the tortillas. Repeat to use the remaining bean mixture, tortillas, and tomato mixture.
  5. Top with the mozzarella, sour cream, and cilantro. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve and enjoy!

Freezer-friendly: Cool the cooked casserole. Wrap the entire dish in freezer-quality plastic wrap, then in freezer-quality foil.
To use: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the foil. Microwave on high power for 5 minutes, or until hot.

 

In the wake of recent events, as we scramble to restore our businesses, homes, and lives, don’t forget to restore yourself. Keeping up with your daily fiber intake is just one way to keep your body running smoothly.  OTC fiber supplement powders—such as Metamucil, Konsyl, and Citrucel—are an easy way to ensure your fiber intake is up to par.

A busy lifestyle doesn’t have to be an unhealthy one. If you’re struggling with weight loss, talk to a digestive specialist today and find out how the O.N.E. Weigh program can put you on the right path to your healthy weight.

Learn-more-about-one-weigh

Topics: Gut Health, Weight Management

Diagnosing Digestive Problems After Gallbladder Surgery

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 @ 4:00 PM

diagnosing_digestive_problems_after_gallbladder_surgery.jpeg

You followed the pre-op instructions to a T. The procedure went swimmingly. And while the pain has disappeared with your gallbladder, now you’re dealing with some less than ideal side effects.

We’ve gathered a list of the potential side effects that you may experience following a laparoscopic or open gallbladder removal procedure, as well as steps for treating these unfortunate side effects.

Let’s check it out.

Temporary/Chronic Diarrhea: Patients can sometimes experience temporary diarrhea following a gallbladder removal surgery, because the gallbladder is no longer there to regulate the flow of bile, which can result in a smaller, more constant flow of bile into your small intestine. While each person adapts differently to surgery and it may take a variable amount of time for different people, you should not be suffering from distressing symptoms, especially due to post- cholecystectomy diarrhea. If your symptoms persist for more than a few days, please contact your gastroenterologist. Chronic diarrhea can be managed with a low-fat diet as well as medication for binding excess acids in the digestive system. It is amazing (and sad) to see how many patients come years after their gallbladder surgery, having been troubled by chronic diarrhea for years, only to be fixed easily by a gastroenterologist.

Constipation: Post-surgery pain medication immediately after surgery—especially if they are opioid—may cause constipation. By consuming a diet high in fiber, you can prevent/relieve constipation. Sometimes you need other laxatives to be prescribed as well. It is best to rectify the problem ASAP, before it causes fecal impaction and abdominal pain, etc.

Retained stone: If stones travelled from your gallbladder prior to its removal, they can still cause pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and jaundice. You may need additional procedure to remove gallstones that are retained in your common bile duct.

If you have persistent symptoms after surgery, you need evaluation to decide if the cause of pain is something else. Retained stones in the bile duct or even new stones that may develop after surgery cause symptoms and abnormal labs that help in the right diagnosis if evaluated appropriately.

Intestinal injury: Instruments used in surgery could damage your intestines—resulting in abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever. It’s vital to seek immediate medical attention if you experiencing any of these symptoms.

 If you are experiencing these or any other symptoms that you believe may be linked to your gallbladder removal, please contact a gastroenterologist immediately. The digestive specialists at Gastroenterology Associates are here to guide you on your path to digestive health. 

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Topics: Gallbladder, Gut Health

Why Go To Gastroenterology Associates For My Treatment?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 @ 3:37 PM

gastro doctors Baton RougeGastroenterologists are doctors that specialize in the care and treatment of the digestive tract, from the mouth and esophagus, to the small and large intestine and rectum. 

The physicians practicing at Gastroenterology Associates in Baton Rouge, LA are all board certified gastroenterologists, with many of them holding extensive additional credentials and specializations.


Specialized Care is More Effective Care

The evidence is clear: seeing a gastroenterology specialist is associated with better care outcomes. Although many internal medicine and primary care physicians offer basic gastroenterology services such as colonoscopy, numerous studies show that experienced, board-certified gastroenterologists are able to provide higher quality care that can be life-saving.

What's the difference? Internists are doctors who specialize in the care of the human body. They act as generalists, providing primary care and identifying problems that require diagnosis or treatment from a specialist. Internists have gone through medical school as well as residency. When common digestive problems are encountered, if you do not improve with basic treatment or if you need a procedure such as an EGD/ upper endoscopy or a colonoscopy, your internist or family physician will refer you to a gastroenterologist.

Gastroenterologists have gone through all of the same training as internists, but received further training to become board-certified in the treatment of conditions affecting the gastrointestinal system, which includes the colon, bowel, stomach, and liver. Gastroenterologists typically complete hundreds of colonoscopies during their training, and continue to perform hundreds each year in their practice.

The Evidence

A recent study by Dr. Nancy Baxter from St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto examined Medicare billing records from over 9,000 people who were diagnosed with colon cancer and ultimately died from the disease in their 70s and 80s, along with 27,000 records from individuals who did not have colon cancer.

digestive health treatment in Baton RougeThe researchers found that people who did not have a colonoscopy in recent years were most likely to die from colon cancer, confirming what has long been found in colon cancer research. However, patients who received their colonoscopy from a board-certified gastroenterologist rather than an internist or a surgeon were most likely to have precancerous polyps found and removed early, resulting in lower mortality rates.

Other studies have confirmed these findings, and also found that surgeons come in second place when it comes to finding the highest number of polyps, behind gastroenterologists but ahead of primary care physicians who do colonoscopy.

Although gastroenterologists provide the best colonoscopy, it is of course better to get a colonoscopy from a general pracitioner or primary care pysician than to not get a colonoscopy at all if a gastroenterologist is not available. Gastroenterology Associates are able to provide access to gastroenterology care at one of our three locations in Baton Rouge, Zachary and Livingston.

Why Higher Volume = Better Results

Volume outcomes data suggests that the higher volume of procedures of a physician or clinic the better the outcomes. Even for conditions like pancreatitis, which is routinely treated with fluids and medications, the outcomes under treatment of a gastroenterologist still exceed those of a general practitioner. When done at a high volume center, patients did better than low volume centers.

Similarly, a recent study in the Journal of Surgical Oncology revealed that low volume centers (or those with less procedures done by a practitioner) were associated with increased odds of having adverse outcome. For complex colonoscopy, choosing a primary care specialtist as opposed to gastroenterologists, added to the odds of adverse events. All the physicians at Gastroenterology Associates are proficient in routine and specialized procedures and are dedicated to your safety and comfort during the procedures.

Colonoscopy and What Comes After

Another advantage of visiting the Gastroenterology Associates is that we are able to provide care for whatever issues are revealed during the colonoscopy. When you go to a primary care physician or surgeon, they may be able to detect abnormalities, but they will have to pass off the diagnosis or treatment of the problem to a gastroenterologist.

For patients with issues such as gastric reflux, anemia, difficulty swallowing, and abdominal pain, most primary care physicians will not be able to certainly diagnose without an upper endoscopy which may be used to detect stomach ulcers and esophageal cancer in patients with these conditions and symptoms. In addition, only gastroenterologists can perform ERCPs to examine the bile ducts. 

If a patient has anemia or blood in the stool, an upper endoscopy may still be needed and is performed by a gastroenterologist. It is best to have all treatments and care under the supervision of one physician and in one place. A capsule endoscopy may also be ordered if the cause of anemia is not found during colonoscopy or endoscopy. Gastroenterology Associates is the only group in Baton Rouge that can provide all these services in one place, including EUS (endoscopic ultrasound).

Gastroenterologists have the expertise to treat a wide range of gastrointestinal problems, including but not limited to: 

Colon cancer

Crohn's disease

Ulcerative colitis

Diverticulitis

Stomach ulcers 

Gallstones

Pancreatic conditions

GERD

Esophageal cancer

Bowel obstruction

Therefore, seeing a gastroenterologist for your colonoscopy allows you to do "one stop shopping." This is not just convenient, but it allows for an important continuity of care that can improve outcomes. For example, when the gastroenterologist is the same doctor who performed the colonoscopy, he has seen for himself what the colon looks like, and has more detail on the matter than is available in a report.

Getting a colonoscopy is an important health screening procedure for people over the age of 50 or earlier if you are African American or have a personal/family history. The procedure can detect growths that can lead to cancer, as well as other abnormalities. Although some primary care physicians offer colonoscopy, it is best to be screened at Gastroenterology Associates, which is run entirely by board-certified gastroenterologists.

If you are ready to schedule your appointment, the Gastroenterology Associates would be happy to hear from you. To schedule your consultation today, please click below and enter your information or give us a call at (225) 927-1190.

Schedule A Consultation Gastroenterology Associates

 

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Gastroenterologists, Gut Health, Colonoscopy

Microbes & Gut Health: A Vital Relationship

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 @ 4:01 PM

GI health and the microbiomeMicroorganisms live all over the body - on our skin, mouth, nose, teeth, and throat, as well as in the gut. The bacteria known as "normal flora" area actually quite beneficial for health - they prevent the body from being colonized by harmful microbes, and they may help the body perform important actions.

For example, microbes play a key role in digestion in general and gut health in particular. The intestines contain millions of bacteria that help break down food that our own bodies can't; without gut bacteria, overall gut health declines, causing issues like diarrhea, constipation, and gas. In addition, new research is linking a number of other medical issues to microbes.

Imbalance

In adults, there are a number of causes of poor microbial health. One of the most common issues is having an incident of food poisoning or infection, which causes diarrhea and basically "wipes out" the microbes that normally live in the gut. This issue also occurs when you take antibiotics.

A healthy gut can recolonize after such an incident, but in the meantime, you are more prone to infection and the other effects of a poor microbial balance in the gut. People with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease may be especially prone to these effects.

Cutting-Edge Findings

The fact that microbes affect gut health is well-established and important, but a number of research studies have suggested that the effects of microbes on overall health may go much further. Research is still preliminary in these areas; some studies were performed only in animals, and many more studies will be needed to draw more conclusive connections.

However, the current findings suggest that gut health may be connected to many other aspects of health. Brain problems like autism, depression, and ADHD; obesity; heart disease; and more.

Treatment

There are a number of ways to improve your gut health by promoting the growth of healthy microorganisms. One of the most important things you can do is to incorporate a yogurt or other live-culture probiotic into your diet. Yogurt contains healthy bacteria that can promote gut health - just be sure that the yogurt you choose has live cultures.

There are also some cutting-edge treatments that can be used for severe microbial imbalance. For example, a stool transplant, or fecal bacteriotherapy, can be used to introduce healthy gut bacteria in people with colitis, irritable bowel disease, and C. difficile infection.

Your doctor can talk to you in more detail about how microbes may be affecting your gut health. To schedule a consultation about your gut health, please contact one of the doctors at Gastroenterology Associates at (225) 927-1190.

7 reasons for colon cancer screening

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Gastroenterologists, Gut Health

Digestive Health Center of Louisiana is now a Smoke-Free Campus

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 @ 1:51 PM

smoke-free campus of Gastroenterology AssociatesThe Baton Rouge location of the Digestive Health Center of Louisiana (DHCLA) has expanded its smoke-free policy to cover the entire campus.  DHCLA consists of Gastroenterology Associates, the Endoscopy Center, and ONE Weigh System and is the most complete and comprehensive gastroenterology health center in the state of Louisiana. Since moving to its present location on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge in 2005, DHCLA has been a smoke-free building and has recently expanded that policy to the remainder of the campus, including the parking lot and outside grounds.

 

"As a major provider of health care in the community, our mission is to create a healthier environment for our patients, visitors, employees, volunteers, and everyone who visits our medical facility," said Albert Hart, Chief Executive Officer of DHCLA. "We believe that we are setting a positive example for the Baton Rouge community and the patients, employees, and visitors of the DHCLA facility by implementing the campus wide smoke-free policy."

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five deaths is related to the habit, and even for those who do not smoke, second-hand smoke can still pose a dangerous threat.  Recent studies by the American Cancer Society prove long-term cigarette smoking is also associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Education and awareness are important in the implementation of any disease prevention program, and the new, campus-wide smoke-free policy is one of many efforts being made by DHCLA.

"The decision by DHCLA to expand its smoke-free policy to the entire campus adds to its already renowned reputation as a place where people go to get well," continued Mr. Hart.  DHCLA will continue to base future resolutions on its commitment to promoting good health and well-being in the greater Baton Rouge area.

About Digestive Health Center of Louisiana

The Digestive Health Center of Louisiana (DHCLA) was founded to promote and preserve the health of the Capital Region. Completed in 2005, this state-of-the-art facility brings Gastroenterology Associates and Louisiana Endoscopy Center together under one roof, creating the most complete and comprehensive gastroenterology health center in the state.  Additionally, One-Weigh System completes the enhanced medical services provided under the roof of DHCLA.  One-Weigh System provides a physician-supervised approach to weight loss and weight management utilizing health care specialists trained in the treatment of overweight individuals. Whether you are a patient, potential patient, referring doctor, or human resources professional, we appreciate the opportunity to serve you. To learn more visit us at www.dhcla.com.

Why should I visit a gastroenterologist
Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Gastroenterologists, Gut Health