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Gastroenterology Blog

Life With IBD: 4 Tips for Managing Symptoms

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Thu, Apr 05, 2018 @ 12:50 PM

Young woman with hot water bottle on stomach on the bedFor most, stomach troubles are an occasional issue that causes short-term discomfort when a virus or bacterial infection is involved.  But, for over 1.5 million others, their digestive struggles are far more severe.  In fact, for those who are living with the condition known as inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, painful flare-ups of the disease can be a life-long struggle with the ability to impact nearly every facet of day-to-day life.

Fortunately, IBD doesn’t have to mean drastically altering one’s lifestyle or the activities they most enjoy.  It simply means that there will be additional preparation needed and some key changes to help manage the onset of symptoms and help keep them at bay.

Eat an IBD Focused Diet

Nutrition is a vital component in all aspects of health, particularly when it comes to managing IBD.  Each individual will respond uniquely to different foods, and there is no one-size-fits-all diet to ease IBD.  However, most patients will find certain foods that tend to aggravate symptoms and that avoiding them helps keep issues such as cramping or diarrhea in check.  Partnering with a good nutritionist can help patients get a jump start on managing IBD through diet.

Avoid Exacerbating IBD through Stress

Stress does far more than affect the emotions and mental state of wellbeing, it can take a large toll physically as well.  Just consider for a moment a time when you have felt particularly anxious about something.  Can you feel the sensation of your stomach in knots?  When you already have IBD to contend with, stress can be yet another factor worsening the symptoms.  To help keep them under control, learn and practice calming techniques like meditation or deep breathing and consider speaking to a professional for additional methods that may prove helpful.

Quit Smoking to Improve IBD

Research has uncovered an interesting link between smoking and IBD, particularly in the form of Crohn’s disease. Findings have shown that smokers are more likely to suffer from Crohn’s than non-smokers, are more likely to relapse, and that treatment options are less effective.  Of course, there are countless health-related reasons to kick the smoking habit, but for those who also suffer from IBD, quitting could make a significant difference in the condition and its impact.

Find an IBD Specialist You Trust

Perhaps the most important factor in effectively managing IBD is finding a specialist in whom you have complete confidence.  A good physician will do more than simply write a prescription.  He or she will be your partner in managing your medications, lifestyle, nutrition, and all other elements which may impact your disease.  They will align their treatment plan with other medical professionals who may also be able to help in order to give their patients the best possible outcome.  To find this physician, consider speaking with other local IBD patients about their own doctors and what they like most about them. 

In the Baton Rouge area, Gastroenterology Associates is home to a team of skilled, board-certified physicians who are all intimately familiar with IBD and the impact it has on their patients’ lives.  If you are ready to get your condition under control, contact our office and request an appointment with any one of them today.

 Chohn's & Colitis: Know More

Topics: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

11 Common Causes of Rectal Bleeding

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 1:47 PM


Why is there blood in my stool?

It’s a question we never want to ask, but it’s one in vital need of an answer. Even a slight presence of blood in your stool or on the toilet tissue hints that bleeding is occurring in the digestive tract. The darker the appearance of the blood, the higher up on the digestive tract the blood entered the stool. Bright red blood can be the result of anal bleeding or problems in the lower intestinal tract. But this is not an absolute rule by which you can make decisions.

Although bright red blood may suggest that it is from hemorrhoids, sometimes there may be another serious underlying problem. If the physician performs necessary evaluation and decides that the bleeding is from hemorrhoids, that is acceptable. Assuming that the bleeding is from hemorrhoids because is it small amount or because it is bright red in color, or based on someone else’s experience is somewhat risky. There are some patients who may have colon cancer and have minimal or NO  bleeding. The most common symptom of colon cancer is …no symptom!

So please don’t ignore, postpone or assume something when a serious symptom like blood in the stool occurs. Appropriate evaluation gives you peace of mind and relief from your symptoms. Most of these underlying causes have effective management and there is no need to suffer.

The 11 most common causes of rectal bleeding are

  1. Anal fissures, which are small cuts or tears in the lining of the anus, can appear after passing a particularly hard stool.
  2. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum, which can cause pain, itching, and difficulty sitting, as well as the appearance of bright red blood. The good news is that there is no need for painful surgery in most cases due to recent developments in non-surgical techniques which are easy, pain-free, in-office and very effective.
  3. An anal fistula is a small channel that forms between the anal canal and the skin surrounding the anus. Along with minor bleeding, it can cause swelling, tenderness, and persistent discharge/drainage. Currently, the only remedy for an anal fistula is surgery.
  4. Gastroenteritis is a sudden-onset intestinal infection, which can be viral, bacterial, or parasitic. In addition to blood in the stool, gastroenteritis is characterized by diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and body aches. If gastroenteritis recurs or lasts longer than 2 days, we recommend further evaluation by a trained digestive specialist.
  5. Peptic ulcers are sores in the esophagus, stomach, or the lining of the upper part of the small intestine. Depending on the location of the sores, the blood in the stool may appear darker, possibly even black. In addition, you may experience burning pain in the stomach, which worsens as the stomach empties, heartburn, nausea and vomiting, bloating, appetite changes, and weight loss. If left untreated peptic ulcers can cause severe damage to the lining of your digestive system, so please seek help immediately if symptoms of peptic ulcers persist.
  6. Diverticular disease is defined by the development of small bulges—or diverticula—in the lining of the colon. Along with rectal bleeding, diverticular disease—and diverticulitis—include severe abdominal pain, bloating, high fever, and frequent diarrheal bowel movements.
  7. Angiodysplasia occurs more often in older adults and is defined by swollen, fragile blood vessels in the colon. If the swelling worsens, small passages ways can form between the artery and vein, resulting in bleeding from the colon wall, which can manifest as bright red or black blood in the stool. Angiodysplasia is also characterized by weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and anemia.
  8. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, can cause ulcers, abscesses, and scarring in the intestinal lining over time. Blood in the stool is often accompanied by diarrhea, fever, weight loss, and abdominal pain.
  9. Bleeding varices: When dilated blood vessels (varices) in the esophagus and stomach rupture and bleed, they can be life-threatening. If your black, tarry, or bloody stool is accompanied by vomiting blood, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, or rapid heart rate, seek medical attention immediately. If not addressed, the sufferer can go into shock.
  10. Colon polyps are noncancerous growths in the colon or rectal lining. Though colon polyps are normally asymptomatic, they can cause rectal bleeding, sudden changes in bowel habits, and constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a week. Though colon polyps are not necessarily cancerous, they can develop into colon or colorectal cancer, so it’s vital to get screened by a skilled gastroenterologist immediately.
  11. Colon cancer may cause blood in the stool, anywhere from minimal bleeding to significant amount. Sometimes it may not cause any bleeding at all and be completely asymptomatic. Everyone 50 years and above needs SCREENING COLONOSCOPY (done in the absence of symptoms as a prevention/ wellness check) to identify precancerous polyps and remove them before they could become cancer. Sometimes cancer may cause abdominal pain, weight loss or anemia.

While rectal bleeding can be the result of many intestinal or anal issues that are not life-threatening and can resolve themselves, it can also be an early indication of a more severe digestive tract issue. If you are experiencing rectal bleeding, you may want to take the next step in protecting your future with preventative screenings, like colonoscopy.  The Gastroenterology Associates are specialized and highly experienced in screening for, detecting, and treating colorectal cancer and the precursors to colorectal cancer (ie polyps).  Contact the Gastroenterology Associates for an appointment today, either through our online appointment request here or by contacting our office here.


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Topics: Cancer, Hemmorhoids, Colon Polyps, Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Identifying the Signs of IBS During Menstruation

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 @ 11:44 AM


Aunt Flo’s visit. The curse. The crimson wave.

Need we go on, ladies?

Menstruation can be painful, emotional, and downright uncomfortable for any woman.But it can be difficult to tell if the diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, etc., are part of the cycle or indicators of a functional bowel disorder, like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

Since April is IBS Awareness month, here are some warning signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Bloating and excessive gas
  • Lower belly pain
  • Mucus in stools

You may also experience these non-gastrointestinal symptoms if you’re suffering from IBS:

  • Anxiety/depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Unpleasant taste in mouth
  • Backache
  • Sleep problems, such as insomnia
  • Sexual problems: pain during sex or reduced sexual desire
  • Heart palpitations
  • Urinary symptoms, such as a frequent, urgent need to urinate, trouble starting the urine stream, or trouble emptying your bladder

**While these may not be symptoms of IBS, they may be associated with IBS or trigger IBS.

During the typical menstrual cycle, abdominal pain and diarrhea tend to increase in premenstrual period and hit their peak discomfort on the first/second day of the menstrual flow. Bloating and constipation tend to increase post-ovulation (day 14) and stay increased until the first day of the menstrual flow.

But if you’re struggling with IBS, these symptoms can be more frequent and severe during menstruation. You may also experience greater discomfort associated with fatigue, backache, and insomnia, and may have increased sensitivity to particular foods, such as gas-producing foods, around menstruation. Studies have also shown that the increased pain sensitivity during menstruation can play a role in functional bowel disorders and inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. 

On the other hand, some of your symptoms--such as constipation--may actually improve during menstruation.

But if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis or for a long period of time, consult a gastroenterologist today. Self-medication of IBS symptoms with OTC medications may not be effective. Some of the remedies may not help or create more trouble down the line (no pun intended) if left untreated. There is “no one size fits all” treatment. Each patient and their symptoms are unique. Talk with a specialist today and create a treatment plan tailored to your unique symptoms.


 ibs causes


Topics: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

How Do I Know If I Have IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Tue, Dec 15, 2015 @ 3:32 PM

IBD_abdominal_pain-451672-edited.jpgInflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to a number of conditions characterized by inflammation of the large and/or small intestines, with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC) representing the most common forms. Left untreated, IBD can lead to severe complications, as well as substantial pain and discomfort. Below, we will look at some of the symptoms of IBD, as well as how the condition is diagnosed.

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition in which the bowels become inflamed, red, and swollen. It is thought to be an autoimmune condition, in which the immune system attacks the body, leading to inflammation. Crohn's disease is a form of the condition which can affect the entire digestive tract, as far up as the esophagus to as far down as the rectum. Ulcerative colitis, in contrast, affects only the colon. Left untreated, IBD can cause serious damage to the digestive tract, along with serious malnutrition and/or dehydration.

Signs and Symptoms of IBD

The symptoms of IBD can vary depending on which form of the condition the patient has. The most common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea - Loose, frequent stools are characteristic of both UC and Crohn's disease. Patients with UC may have up to 20 loose stools a day. 
  • Bloody stools - Blood in the stool is commonly associated with UC. It can also be a sign of other serious gastrointestinal conditions such as cancer. Any bloody stools merit investigation, regardless.
  • Pain - Pain and cramping are very common with IBD, and can sometimes be severe. 
  • Fatigue - People with IBD often feel fatigued, due to the immune response and the malnutrition associated with the disease. 
  • Fever - It is common for patients with IBD to display a low-grade fever of 99-100 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Weight loss - Because IBD makes it more difficult for the digestive tract to absorb nutrients, patients with the condition often display dramatic weight loss. 
  • Reduced appetite - It is common to find food unappealing when you have IBD. 

IBD Diagnosis

To diagnose IBD, the doctor will consider the symptoms of the condition. The doctor will then perform a colonoscopy, looking for characteristic inflammation of the colon, and potentially sampling the tissue. An upper endoscopy may also be performed, to view the small intestine and the stomach and esophagus. When diagnosing IBD, it is important to distinguish Crohn's disease from ulcerative colitis, because the treatments for each condition can be different. 

Finding a Great IBD Doctor in Baton Rouge

For many newly diagnosed IBD patients, confusion and emotion can be overwhelming.  A large majority of IBD patients find out in young adulthood that their ongoing symptoms are actually IBD. Gastroenterology Associates know how an IBD diagnosis can change a person’s life, and we seek to ease that transition WITH our patients.

IBD is a lifelong illness, but the majority of patients with the condition are able to get their symptoms under control and live healthy, active lives. If you have symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, it is important to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist as soon as possible, most importantly due to the similarity in IBD symptoms to other potentially dangerous and serious conditions or diseases. Early treatment is key to minimizing the damage caused by IBD, and to allowing patients to return to a higher quality of life.  

Rather than being concerned about possible IBD, your doctor can safely and adequately rule out or confirm the diagnosis with an appropriate history, exam and tests as necessary. While all of our 17 gastroenterologists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of IBD, Dr Casey Chapman has been researching and treating IBD patients for many years.  He spearheads the Gastroenterology Associates IBD trials and patient studies.  Contact Gastroenterology Associates to discuss any IBD issues that you might be having.

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: Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Deductible Met? Schedule Your GI Screening Now.

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 @ 1:59 PM

As the end of the year approaches, many people have met their insurance deductible, so that full insurance coverage kicks in for elective procedures. This makes it a great time to schedule medical care that is not immediately necessary. 

What Medical Procedures Should I Schedule After Hitting Deductible?

when to schedule a colonoscopy or endoscopySeeking medical care for conditions that are causing severe symptoms should not be delayed, nor should care for conditions that might worsen. For example, severe abdominal pain, left untreated, can result in a more serious problem in the not-too-distant future.

Conversely, wellness and screening procedures can safely be left for the end of the year.  Wellness visits are largely, and in most cases fully, covered by insurance.  However, diagnostic testing and treatment of conditions that are not necessarily considered emergent, like GERD, celiac's, or IBS, might be delayed for a period of time or as recommended by your physician.

Meeting deductible makes several of these diagnostic tests significantly more affordable for patients.  Examples of GI procedures that patients frequently schedule after meeting their deductible are colonoscopy and upper endoscopy.

Colonoscopy Screening Recommendations

who needs colonoscopy and whenColonoscopy is a vital screening tool for those with an increased risk of developing colon cancer and for individuals with problems impacting the colon. While a screening colonoscopy is not generally subject to the deductible, as it is a preventative procedure, diagnostic colonoscopy (used to diagnose a condition) may be subject to a deductible - even if the condition is discovered during a procedure that was originally used for screening. 

Gastroenterology Associates will review your screening/ wellness benefits and your copayments prior to the procedure, so there are no surprises for you after your procedure. We provide standard of care anesthesia services, even if some insurances do not always cover this, so there is no cost to the patient. Our patients benefit from effective and safe sedation.

Current recommendations for people over the age of 50 state that everyone receive a colonoscopy at least every 10 years. Also, higher risk groups should be screened earlier and more frequently to better prevent colon cancer. Speak with your doctor about earlier and more frequent screening if you: 

  • Are African-American
  • Have a family history of colon cancer or polyps
  • Have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Have a history of colon polyps or colon cancer

Make Your Appointment Now

Elective procedure appointments are in high demand near the end of the year and often shorter supply, because many people who have met their deductible are using this period to schedule their colonoscopy and other procedures. So, make your GI appointments sooner rather than later to secure a space in this year.

If you have met your deductible and are ready to get your colonoscopy or other elective procedure, we would be happy to schedule your appointment today. To schedule a consultation at the Gastroenterology Associates, please click below and enter your information or give us a call at (225) 927-1190.

Shedule Consultation

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: GERD, Celiac Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colonoscopy, Endoscopic Procedures

Opioid Use in IBD patients

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 @ 3:58 PM

painkillers_for_IBDA recent study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that opioid use in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was associated with higher mortality and greater rates of opioid abuse. This information highlights the importance of close monitoring and compliance with the established medication regimen to prevent flare-ups.

IBD encompasses a group of bowel disorders in which the bowel becomes chronically inflamed, resulting in pain, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC) are both in this category. It is managed with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Sometimes, part of the bowel may be removed if damage to the bowel is severe, and patients may live with an ileostomy or colostomy.

The Problem with Opioid Use

The new study followed 4,217 IBD patients for an average of 6.5 years. The study evaluated the use of prescription painkillers for IBD in outpatient settings. 5 percent of the patients in the study became heavy opioid users, taking an equivalent of 50 mg morphine/day or greater for 30 days or longer. There is little evidence that opioids are effective at relieving pain and other symptoms in IBD patients, as these medications temporarily cause pain relief but the cause of pain, i.e. inflammation, is still present and the pain returns. Opioid medications may actually cause worsening of the abdominal pain by causing more intestinal spasms and constipation, in addition to other side effects.

The study revealed poorer outcomes for the patients who used opioids heavily. Most notably, heavy opioid use corresponded with non-cancer related mortality in IBD patients. This information is in alignment with other studies on the long-term use of opioids in IBD patients.

Along with opioids, steroids are also associated with increased mortality in IBD patients. Steroids, which reduce inflammation but come with significant side effects, such as decreased immune response, are also commonly prescribed for severe IBD cases.

Preventing Opioid Use

it is ideal to avoid chronic opioid use whenever possible. Opioids are most commonly required during flare-ups of IBD, especially severe flare-ups that put the patient in the hospital or require surgery. The same is true of steroids. Surgery is considered in this setting, when medical treatment (or lack of compliance with medical treatment) has failed to control disease.

The best way to avoid chronic opioid and steroid use is to manage the disease as effectively as possible so that severe flare-ups and complications do not occur. This is best achieved with a combination of compliance with the medications to help heal the bowel, along with close monitoring and management by the physician.

For IBD, Baton Rouge consultations are available with the Gastroenterology Associates, please click below and enter your information or give us a call at (225) 927-1190 to get your appointment scheduled.

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: Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome

New Recommendations for Management of IBS & Chronic Constipation

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Tue, Oct 07, 2014 @ 3:08 PM

The American College of Gastroenterology recently released a review of the data for the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC).

IBS and constipation treatment in Baton RougePatients with IBS experience issues such as abdominal pain, constipation, and frequent diarrhea. Unlike inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) conditions such as Crohn's, IBS does not involve changes to the structure of the bowel but is a”functional” problem, how the digestive tract functions- motility and sensitivity are affected; hence most diagnostic tests such as xrays may be normal. In most cases, the exact cause is not known. Similarly, chronic idiopathic constipation refers to constipation without a known cause.

Patients with these conditions are often frustrated by the challenges associated with understanding the condition and controlling the symptoms. The new American College of Gastroenterology guidelines have the potential to help doctors implement treatments that have the most evidence. 

IBS Recommendations

Some of the most recommended treatments include: 

  • Fiber, especially psyllium fiber as opposed to bran fiber
  • Probiotics, including live culture yogurt, to treat bloating and flatulence
  • Rifaxamin for cases that include diarrhea
  • Linaclotide and lubiprostone for cases that cause constipation
  • Antidepressants and psychological treatment show promise, but do not have strong evidence; also, access may be limited

The report recommended more therapeutic trials for the low-FODMAP diet, which eliminates foods containing simple carbohydrates and alcohol. The diet shows promise, but no large clinical trials have been performed.

On the other hand, the report concluded that certain treatments sometimes recommended for the treatment of IBS need strong evidence before they can be recommended. Treatments that require stronger evidence include elimination diets and prebiotics. Although it is possible that these treatments may benefit some cases, the evidence is not clear enough to recommend their use or to recommend their disuse.


Chronic Constipation Recommendations

The report strongly recommended several treatments for CIC. Fiber supplements, laxatives, prucalopride, lubiprostone, and linaclotide are all strongly recommended for the treatment of chronic constipation. These treatments may be used either on their own or in conjunction with one another.

The recommendations from the American College of Gastroenterology are valuable in helping doctors and patients understand which treatments have the most evidence behind them. However, each patient responds to treatment differently, and a course of treatment that works for one patient may not work for another. The management of conditions like IBS and CIC is generally a matter of introducing treatments and evaluating their effectiveness, under the guidance of a doctor

All of these treatments are not appropriate for everyone. Depending on the type and severity of your symptoms, your gastroenterologist can determine the most appropriate treatment for you. For example, most patients start eating a high fiber diet for IBS, but this may contain foods with high FODMAPS, that may in turn cause worsening of their symptoms. Similarly if you already have constipation, in some cases fiber may make it worse, unless combined with a gentle laxative. You need a “customized” treatment plan, also depending on your response to certain medications and based on certain tests that identify motility problems, etc.

To schedule a consultation about your IBS or chronic constipation with the Gastroenterology Associates, 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: Common Stomach Problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBD and the Flu

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Wed, Apr 02, 2014 @ 2:21 PM

Flu and IBD

About IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease refers to a group of diseases that affect the small intestine and/or the colon. The diseases differ somewhat in their severity and manifestation, but they are all autoimmune diseases, or diseases in which the body attacks its own tissue as foreign. Some forms include:

•             Ulcerative colitis

•             Crohn's disease

•             Diversion colitis

•             Lymphocytic colitis

The bowels are responsible for processing and absorbing nutrients, as well as attacking dangerous pathogens. With such an important function, it's no surprise that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can have wide-ranging effects on overall health. A recent study shows that IBD patients are much more likely to get the flu than people without IBD, and doctors are now recommending that IBD patients receive annual vaccinations. This is especially important since Louisiana is experiencing some of the highest nation-wide rates of influenza.

About the Flu

Influenza is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world, affecting millions of people each year. The flu is a virus which affects the respiratory tract, and can vary considerably in its severity. Although most young, healthy individuals are able to fight it off with just a few days of discomfort, the flu is actually a common cause of death. Death can occur after complications of influenza, like pneumonia, sinus infections, or dehydration, or the worsening of pre-existing conditions like congestive heart failure and asthma.

Symptoms of the flu include: 

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Runny or stuffy nose

The Link

As mentioned above, a recent study has revealed that IBD patients - even young patients - have a significantly higher risk of becoming infected with the flu. The study did not determine conclusively whether or not IBD patients had a higher chance of developing serious complications of influenza, but future studies may reveal this information.

Flu Vaccination

Every year, epidemiologists develop a flu vaccine designed to vaccinate against the year's most prevalent forms of the flu. Although many people can benefit from flu vaccination, it's especially beneficial for certain groups. People with young children, people who work in health care or school settings, elderly people, and people with IBD should all be sure to get an annual flu vaccine.

Since there are many strains of the flu, vaccination won't eliminate your chances of getting it; however, it will significantly reduce your risk. You can get your flu vaccine at your doctor's office, or at your local pharmacy. To schedule your appointment today, please contact one of the doctors at Gastroenterology Associates at (225) 927-1190.

board certified 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: Common Stomach Problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome

It's Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week!

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Dec 06, 2013 @ 12:19 PM

Crohns and colitis awareness weekOn November 14, 2011, the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 199 (SR 199): “A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week, December 1-7.” 

This Senate bill recognizes the individuals living with Crohn's and Colitis as well as the family,  friends, and medical professionals who help to care for people living with Crohn's and Colitis, the two diseases that constitute Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Gastroenterology Associates encourages everyone to join in the movement to increase awareness of and cures for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  With over 1.4 million Americans dealing with Crohn's and colitis, the need for continued and increased support of research on these two conditions is on the forefront.  

Help raise awareness by doing these fast, easy things:

  • Reach out to anyone you know with IBD and let them know you care
Gastroenterology Associates are a group of physicians specializing in the study and treatment of the gastroenterological system.  Crohn's and colitis are conditions affecting the digestive system and they are treated by gastroenterologists. Should you or someone you know be suffering from symptoms that may be Chron's or colitis, please don't hesitate to make an appointment for evaluation.  Some of the symptoms of Crohn's and colitis can mimic the symptoms of more serious conditions.
15 facts about colorectal cancer

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: Stomach Ulcers, Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What’s the Difference Between Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn’s Disease?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 @ 9:37 AM

difference between ulcerative colitis and crohn's diseaseUlcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are both forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), in which the lining of the digestive tract can become inflamed. The two diseases can cause similar symptoms like pain, diarrhea, and malnutrition. However, they vary in terms of which parts of the digestive tract they may affect, as well as how deeply into the tissues they can go. Both can have a dramatic effect on well-being and health, but both can be managed using medical therapies and lifestyle changes.

About Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease is characterized by inflammation of the tissue in the digestive tract. The condition can affect any part of the digestive tract, and can penetrate deep into the tissues, although the last part of the small intestine and the large intestine are the most likely to be affected. It can affect several separate sections of intestine. Depending on the location and severity of the condition, it may cause symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Pain and cramping in the abdomen
  • Blood in the stool
  • Ulcers
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Arthritis
  • Fatigue
  • Inflammation of the eyes
  • Skin issues
  • Fever

In some cases, this condition can be debilitating and even life-threatening. Severe, untreated cases can lead to a number of serious bowel issues, ranging from bowel obstruction to fistulas to anal fissures to colon cancer.

About Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis also causes inflammation of the bowels, but it only affects the innermost lining of  the large intestine in continuous stretches, whereas Crohn's may affect deeper tissue layers and may occur in either the small or large intestines. The symptoms can vary considerably based on where the condition occurs and how severe the inflammation is. Common symptoms include:

  • Rectal bleeding or blood with stool
  • Diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea
  • Weight loss 
  • Fever
  • Cramping

In rare cases, ulcerative colitis can affect the entire colon, causing severe pain and life-threatening dehydration.  In addition, severe and untreated cases of ulcerative colitis can lead to issues like bowel perforation, severe dehydration, or osteoporosis. It also increases the risk of colon cancer.

Diagnosis and Treatment Inflammatory Bowel Disease  Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis

If you experience a change in bowel habits, or start to exhibit symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, it's important to make an appointment with your physician, who will diagnose the exact problem and develop a treatment plan.

Although there are sometimes clear differences between the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, other symptoms, like pain and diarrhea, are common to both conditions. For that reason, your doctor will perform diagnostic testing to determine the cause of your symptoms.

The treatments for both conditions are quite similar and may include:

The right course of treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms, how much the disease has damaged your bowels, and how you have responded to past treatments. Your doctor will work with you to find a treatment that is effective and fits with your goals and lifestyle.

To learn more about diagnosis and treatment for your bowel issues, 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: Stomach Ulcers, Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome