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Your Complete Guide to a Colonoscopy

Your Complete Guide to a Colonoscopy

 

Overview


Colonoscopy is the most widespread colon cancer screening procedure in existence.

It has been shown to detect early-stage adenomas and colorectal cancers at a curable stage.

Approximately 50% of colorectal tumors are located in the distal colon and colonoscopy has also been shown to be effective at detecting these lesions too.

Despite this, many patients believe that this test is more risky than it actually is due to concerns about bowel preparation and the general unpleasantness.

Let’s get more in depth about the Colonoscopy procedure and when to consider getting it done.

 

What is a Colonoscopy?

 

A Colonoscopy is used to look inside the colon to find any potential problems that may be hiding.

This is done by inserting the end of a long, flexible tube called a Colonoscope into the Rectum.

The tip of the Colonoscope has a mini light and camera on the end. Once the end of the Colonoscope has been inserted, the doctor can slowly push it through the Rectum and into the colon, while taking pictures of any abnormalities.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you should make an appointment with your GP:

  • Stomach pains
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Unexplained nausea or vomiting

colonoscopy procedure scaled - Your Complete Guide to a Colonoscopy

 

When to Get a Colonoscopy

Colonoscopies are often recommended to people over the age of 50 in order to screen for possible colon cancer in the early stages.

If your family history includes colon cancer, doctors may recommend that you start having a colonoscopy at an earlier age.

If you have symptoms that could be caused by colon cancer, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to diagnose the problem.

If you are at risk for colon cancer, make sure to talk to your doctor about when you should start getting a colonoscopy.

 

A colonoscopy is performed to detect:

You may also need a colonoscopy if you experience these symptoms:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Changes in bowel habits or appearance in stool
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Chronic abdominal pain

colon polyp removal - Your Complete Guide to a Colonoscopy

 

Don’t Wait Until You Suffer from Polyps

 

The colon is the last part of your digestive tract.

Polyps are small fleshy growths that can form in the colon. They are often harmless, but if they grow large enough, they can block the passage of stool.

This can lead to an infection known as colitis, or colon cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in adults.

Therefore, it’s important to get screened regularly. The best way to get screened for polyps is to take a colonoscopy.

The procedure is done under sedation and takes only about 15 minutes. The doctor will examine the entire length of your colon to find any polyps. There are many reasons why you should not wait until you’re suffering from polyps.

 

How a Colonoscopy Works

 

The process can be uncomfortable, but your doctor is there to help ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible the entire time.

They will give you a sedative that will make you drowsy and then you will be given a bowel cleansing solution to take the night before the exam to empty your bowels.

The idea behind a colonoscopy is to find and remove any polyps, which can be precancerous and even cancerous.

Polyps can grow inside the colon, and they can cause many problems, such as intense abdominal pains and bleeding.

 

Before your Colonoscopy: Things to Do and Consider Before Your Colonoscopy

 

In preparation for a colonoscopy, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier.

– Schedule your colonoscopy appointment as far in advance as possible.

– Consider if you should take a stool softener and/or laxative before your procedure.

– If needed, begin a low fiber diet before your colonoscopy.

– Avoid eating solid foods the day before and shortly after your colonoscopy.

– Order and collect your medications the night before the procedure.

– Pack your medications, snacks, and water bottles to take with you to the hospital.

– Pack a change of clothes and toiletries, as well as a book or magazine, for your recovery time.

colon polyps colonoscopy - Your Complete Guide to a Colonoscopy

What to Expect During a Colonoscopy

 

A Colonoscopy is an examination of the entire colon, the rectum, and the anus, used to screen for colorectal cancer or other colorectal abnormalities.

A colonoscopy is typically done without sedation. It can be done on your hands and knees (called flexed knee), sitting, or standing.

A Colonoscopy is done in the doctor’s office or hospital. You will either be given anesthesia or pain medication before the procedure. A doctor will use various tools to guide the colonoscope through your large intestine and take images of your colon, rectum, and anus.

 

During Your Colonoscopy: What to Expect During Your Colonoscopy

 

The examination is conducted on the inside of the large intestine (colon) and examines any polyps that may be present.

A colonoscopy is a procedure in which the doctor inserts a tube-like instrument into your colon, also known as large intestine or large bowel, to examine the lining of the colon.

It is a non-invasive procedure, and no anesthesia is required for this test.

If a polyp is spotted during this procedure, it can be biopsied and removed through the same small incision made by the insertion of the endoscope.

A polyp is an abnormal growth inside of the colon that doctors suspect may turn into cancer if it remains untreated. Food or stool particles are expelled as soon as examination using a suction tube attached to the endoscope has been concluded.

The patient will be able to go home soon after treatment.

 

After a Colonoscopy: Things to Consider After Your Colonoscopy

 

Many people feel that a colonoscopy is an unpleasant and uncomfortable experience.

It can be both, but with preparation and aftercare, this process can be done without too much discomfort. There are many things to be concerned with after your colonoscopy, and we will discuss them here.

  • Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise.
    It is important to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for at least 48 hours after your procedure. This will help to reduce the risk of bleeding and discomfort in the abdomen.
  • Do not eat solid food the day of your colonoscopy.

After a colonoscopy, a doctor will likely recommend the following:

  • Water
  • Drinks with electrolytes
  • Vegetable or fruit juices
  • Crackers
  • Herbal tea
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soup
  • Scrambled eggs

Risks and Benefits of a Colonoscopy

 

The colonoscopy procedure is safe and effective. But it can sometimes cause bleeding, inflammation or infection in pouches in the colon called diverticulum.

The main advantage of getting a colonoscopy is that it helps identify early signs of cancer and allows your physician to remove polyps before they can become invasive.

According to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in men and women.

 Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of WHAT IS A - Your Complete Guide to a Colonoscopy

Contact an Expert

If you are concerned about abdominal pain and wish to schedule a colonoscopy –  talk to us today.

Call your gastroenterologist for advice if any unexpected symptoms occur, including:

  • Persistent nausea
  • Persistent but minor bleeding
  • Ongoing bloating and abdominal discomfort

We recommend going directly to the emergency room if the patient experiences any of the following:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Heavy bleeding from the anus (rectum)
  • Vomiting

Dr. Schneider is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology.

Book an appointment online or contact us on 011 482-3010 to find out more.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Understanding IBS: Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, and More.

Understanding IBS: Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, and More.

IBS Explained

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder that affects the bowel and is characterized by pain in the abdomen, gas, constipation, diarrhea, bouts of nausea, and tiredness.

IBS is a relatively common condition that is difficult to diagnose. It can affect any person at any age, but it is most common in young adults.

The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but it is thought to be a disorder of the gut itself.

Symptoms can vary from mild to intense and from person to person. There are a number of treatments, but it can be difficult to find one that works for everyone.

The symptoms of IBS come and go and usually the severity of the symptoms varies too.
The most common symptoms of IBS are:  Abdominal pain or cramping, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.

IBS usually doesn’t have any long-term health consequences, but it does cause a lot of pain.

IBS is a common medical syndrome with significant impact. There is no cure for IBS, but symptoms may be relieved by self-help strategies or medical management.

 

Symptoms of IBS

The symptoms of IBS come and go and usually the severity of the symptoms varies too.

The most common symptoms of IBS are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Excessive gas
  • Fecal urgency
  • Vomiting

IBS usually doesn’t have any long-term health consequences, but it does cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

 

Diagnosis of IBS

Before you can treat IBS symptoms effectively, you need to properly diagnose them.

However, diagnosing a person’s condition is not as easy as prescribing a quick fix or putting them under a microscope.

Diagnosing IBS involves not only observing the symptoms but also considering every other physical and mental health factor that may be contributing to the problem.

Diagnosing IBS includes performing several tests, including blood work and other bodily fluids to determine if there are underlying infections or internal illnesses including, but not limited to: Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease and Parasites.

Some common triggers of IBS are cause by:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Allergy
  • Diet

Diagnostic procedures can include:


Laboratory tests can include:

  • Lactose intolerance tests
  • Breath test for bacterial overgrowth
  • Stool tests

 

Diet for IBS

People with IBS struggle with abdominal pain and frequent stomach upset. A person can have IBS if they have a sensitive gut or a more serious medical condition like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.

Some people might notice that they feel better after taking Imodium or other diarrhea medication.  Doctors still recommend diet changes to help reduce symptoms.

Some experts recommend that people with IBS incorporate soluble fiber into their diet to help decrease symptoms.

Soluble fiber is found in:  oats, rice, barley, figs, prunes, peas, legumes, tomato sauce, and raisins.

 

IBS Medications

IBS Medications are an essential part of IBS treatment. There are many medications prescribed for IBS.

If your IBS is not well-controlled with lifestyle or dietary changes, your doctor may prescribe one or more of these medications. The three categories of IBS medications are laxatives, antidiarrheal agents, and drugs for pain relief.

Laxatives are often prescribed for constipation-predominant IBS. These are important because overdry stool can cause cramping.

Antidiarrheal agents reduce diarrhea and bloating in patients with IBS with diarrhea.

 ibs diagnosis gastroenterologist - Understanding IBS: Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, and More.

 

IBS Tests and Procedures

The main symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea.

For diagnosis, a physician may perform an endoscopy, blood tests for celiac disease, and a stool sample. Diagnosis for IBS often starts with checking for constipation and diarrhoea.

The physician will also examine the patient and ask about symptoms and health history. Occasionally, a CT scan or an MRI is used to make sure there isn’t an underlying issue.

If celiac disease is suspected, the physician may perform a biopsy of the small intestine to rule it out.

Depending on the diagnosis, the physician may also recommend treatments including fiber supplements for constipation and fiber-enriched foods.

 

IBS and FODMAP Groups

The most common symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome are abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas.

Symptoms may also be different for individuals with IBS.
Diet is one of the most important management tools for IBS.

FODMAPs are sugars with the following functional groups: fructose, fructans, galactans, polyols, and lactose.

They are found in foods rich in fiber, with the exception of fructose found in fruits.

These are some types of foods that are most eaten by people with IBS:

  • Fresh produce
  • Most meats
  • Eggs
  • Grains

Dairy can be an issue for some individuals, and it is recommended that they consume lactose free products

 

IBS Exercise

Knowing which exercises will be most helpful for irritable bowel syndrome patients is not always easy. But there are many different remedies available in order to make the activity of living with the condition better.

Gentle or low-impact activities such as walking, yoga, light cycling, tai chi, or swimming can help reduce stress and improve fitness.

Making an effort to get the best treatment possible can do a lot to ease symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome and make life easier for those suffering from it.

 excercise with ibs symptoms - Understanding IBS: Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, and More.

 

Avoiding IBS Triggers

Caffeine
One of the many IBS triggers is caffeine; it causes symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain often related to the bloating of gas, noted by those afflicted with IBS.

The symptoms are aggravated after a period of time rather than a one-time consumption which reinforces caffeine as one of the severe ibs triggers.

Stressful Situations
Uncontrolled stress can be one of the most detrimental factors for people suffering from IBS.

Foods:
High-fiber products, found in cereals, grains, pastas and processed foods.

Gas-producing foods, like beans, lentils, carbonated beverages and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower.

IBS is especially prevalent in women. Watch what you eat: There are several foods which are easier to digest than others, including bananas, oatmeal, and apples.

Sip water or other non-caffeinated beverages often: This will help keep you hydrated and reduce constipation. Take your medication as prescribed.

 

Healing Your Gut

In addition to the laundry list of symptoms that come with IBS, this condition is also associated with the gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome is the collection of bacteria that live in your intestines that help to digest food, protect against infections, and help the immune system function properly.

Research has shown that people with IBS tend to have lower levels of species of bacteria associated with healthy gut function. The key question is how does this happen?

Normally the balance of bacteria in your gut is controlled by things like diet, stress, and sleep.

However, if the small intestine sends too much material back to the stomach (a condition called reflux), it can trigger an imbalance in the gut.

 ibs diet gastroenterology - Understanding IBS: Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, and More.

 

What is the best probiotic for IBS?

 

The human body is an amazing thing. It can do things that seem impossible to many people. Your body has the ability to heal itself after any type of injury.

Yet, it can be difficult for your body to heal itself when you suffer from IBS. So how do you help your body heal itself?

Probiotics can be a great way to help your gut heal and feel better. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in your intestines and stomach.

When you have IBS, there is too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria.

So, by balancing the good and bad bacteria, your digestive system can feel better and stay on more of a regular schedule.

Dr. Schneider is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology.

Book an appointment online or contact us  on 011 482-3010 to find out more. 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

What Is Colorectal Cancer? Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention, and More

What Is Colorectal Cancer? Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention, and More

Overview

Colorectal cancer is a deadly disease that is one of the most common cancers in the United States.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women. This cancer type is often diagnosed in the later stages when it has become resistant to treatment.

The five-year survival rates are higher when colorectal cancer is detected early. That’s why a complete understanding of this disease, its symptoms, and diagnostic methods can be so crucial for prevention.

Colorectal cancer is typically marked by the growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the colon or rectum. These cells can multiply and eventually destroy healthy tissue as they grow or may even spread to other parts of the body.

The symptoms of colorectal cancer may also include blood in stool, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits.

Treatment for colorectal cancer will depend on the type and severity and can include chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Prevention methods include screening methods such as colonoscopy and fecal occult blood test.

In this article, we explore the basics of colorectal cancer and how to diagnose this disease through a testing process.

colorectal cancer polyps - What Is Colorectal Cancer? Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention, and More

Colorectal Cancer Explained

Colorectal Cancer is the term used to describe cancer that has started in the colon, which is an area of your large intestine, or in the rectum, which is the lower end of your large intestine.

Colorectal cancer generally begins as an abnormal growth of cells called polyps. This is referred to as adenoma (which means “adenoid cystic tumors”). If left untreated, adenomas can develop into cancerous tumors.

It’s estimated that 1 in every 20 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Approximately 10 percent of cases occur in those under the age of 50.

The presentation of colorectal cancer can be quite variable, and most cases are not detected until either symptoms appear or signs are seen on a routine endoscopic screening test (colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy).

Depending on the stage of cancer, symptoms can include cramping, rectal bleeding, changes to bowel habit or weight loss.

When caught early there can be successful treatment but it is important to seek advice from your doctor if you have any concerns about your health.

Most colorectal cancers start as adenomas, and these tend to occur on the outer and inner aspects of the lower part of colon known as sigmoid colon.

A tumor can also start inside one any part of the colon or rectum, but this is not very common.

There are several types of colon cancer, let’s look at the breakdown on them below:

Classical (end stage) colon cancer

This type is the most common type of colon cancer and is also the deadliest. The spread of colon cancer to other parts of the body is called metastasis.

Malignant (new) Colon Cancer

It is a tumor that grows inside the colon and rectum. According to the American Cancer Society, it is the second most common form of cancer in the United States.

 

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

People with colorectal cancer can have a wide range of symptoms.

A specific symptom of colorectal cancer, however, is a persistent change in the size, shape, or other characteristics of the bowel.

You should talk to your doctor about changes in bowel habits that last for two weeks or longer.

Most common symptom of colorectal cancer are as follows:

  • Persistent change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, or pain
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

These are the most common symptoms.
Other symptoms may include pain in the rectum or in the anal region.

colorectal cancer explained - What Is Colorectal Cancer? Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention, and More

How is Colorectal Cancer diagnosed?

Colorectal cancer can be hard to diagnose, because the symptoms have overlapping features with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

The important thing is to not be afraid of having your symptoms checked out.

Many people think it is normal to have lower back pain or severe cramping but, if you experience these symptoms in excess then see a doctor and do not ignore them.

Tests used for diagnosis of colorectal cancer include:

Colonoscopy:
The first thing to do is to have a colonoscopy, which is a procedure where the doctor examines the rectum and colon to view them on camera.

Ultrasound:
This is the most common test, as it is affordable and non-invasive.
It allows for early diagnosis.

Sigmoidoscopy:
A thin, flexible tube (oscopy) is inserted into the rectum. It is inserted through the anus and stretched. Inside the tube, the doctor will look at the inside of the rectum and colon.

 

colorectal cancer colonoscopy - What Is Colorectal Cancer? Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention, and More

Treatment Options for Colorectal Cancer

There are several treatment options for colon cancer, but surgical options are preferred to other treatments as they are the most effective in reducing cancer cells.

One type of surgery is called S-T Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan, which allows doctors to identify where the tumor is located.

However, the treatment has very limited success.

One of the leading surgical options for colon cancer is the Transseptal Surgery, which aims to remove the tumor but doctors know that this procedure will never cure colon cancer.

 

Survival Rate

The general survival rate for stage 4 colon cancer is 25 percent.
In addition, only 5 percent of people with stage 4 colon cancer survive for 10 years or more.

colorectal cancer risks - What Is Colorectal Cancer? Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention, and More

Risk Factors

Cancer is a general term for abnormal cellular growth inside or on the body and there are many forms of the disease.

Colorectal cancer treatments vary depending on a number of factors and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and combinations of these treatments.

Oncologists used to believe that colorectal cancers were caused by hereditary gene mutations but are now attributing them to environmental factors such as diet, heredity and lifestyle choices instead.

If you want to reduce your colorectal cancer risk factors through lifestyle changes then start by eating lots of fruits and vegetables (eat as many different colour types as possible) because they help provide antioxidants that kill damaging free radicals in the gut and promote natural cell regeneration.

You also need to exercise regularly because if you don’t keep fit with regular aerobic exercise then it can increase your chances of gaining weight which can create an environment within your colon conducive to developing cancerous cells.

Factors that may increase your risk of colon cancer include:

  • Age
    A majority of people with colon cancer are 50 or older. However, colon cancer can be diagnosed at any age.
  • Personal history of polyps or colorectal cancer
    If you had colon cancer or polyps, your changes are higher at colon cancer in future.
  • Inflammatory Intestinal Conditions
    Chronic colon diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease.

colorectal cancer infographic - What Is Colorectal Cancer? Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention, and More


When to Seek Medical Care

Call your gastroenterologist for advice if any unexpected symptoms occur, including:

  • Blood in stool
  • Rectal Bleeding with or without pain
  • Increased diarrhea or constipation
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Severe Abdominal Pain
  • Drastic changes in bowel pattern
  • Persistent but minor bleeding
  • Ongoing bloating and abdominal discomfort

We recommend going directly to the emergency room if the patient experiences any of the following:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Heavy bleeding from the anus (rectum)
  • Vomiting

Dr. Schneider is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology.

Book an appointment online or contact us  on 011 482-3010 to find out more. 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease: What Is It?

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease: What Is It?

 Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Explained

Gastro-oesophageal reflux or commonly known as GERD is a chronic condition that occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach flow back into the oesophagus causing damage to oesophageal tissue.

Severe cases of heartburn may also be related to gastro-oesophageal reflux.

In short, people with gastro-oesophageal reflux have a defective oesophageal sphincter muscle that allows acidic stomach content to pass through too easily or frequently into their lower oesophagus.

The side effects of this condition include excess stomach acid and a burning sensation in the chest, which often radiates up to their throat and mouth.

This condition if left untreated for any extended period of time generally may lead to complications in the form of rotten teeth, ulcers or even cancer in some cases.

There are few common symptoms which can be easily identifiable, but in some cases may be very difficult to diagnose.

 

What Causes Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease

It’s estimated that the population of people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is as high as 60 million in the United States and other parts of the world.

The causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be attributed to many things and present in many different ways.

There’s no single, shared cause of GERD, but most cases of GERD can be traced to one of three major contributing factors:

  • The diet of the person with GERD
  • An increase in gastric acid production
  • Increase in pressure

The diet of people with GERD is one of the most common causes and is often overlooked.

gastro oesophageal reflux symptoms 1 - Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease: What Is It?

Typical Symptoms of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease

 

Reflux disease can cause a variety of symptoms that are commonly dismissed as the minor side effect of other ailments.

Heartburn, for instance, is usually just seen as an inconvenience or even a sign of overeating.

Typical Symptoms of GERD include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Acidic bitter taste
  • Burning Chest
  • Heartburn
  • Chronic Cough
  • Nausea
  • Hoarse Voice
  • Bad Breath

In some severe cases, acid can travel upwards with sufficient force and damage the teeth.

If you have previously been diagnosed with Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease, then you know how disruptive this condition can be in day-to-day life.

The good news is that there are a few ways that you can reduce these symptoms or even completely prevent them from occurring in most cases.

GERD Treatment

Left untreated, reflux disease can have serious impacts on your general health and quality of life through the accumulation of respiratory infections from post-nasal drip and throat infections brought on by the regurgitation of stomach acid into the throat.

Of course, it’s important to make sure you’re getting medical advice from professionals about how to best correct reflux problems before trying any self-treatments.

The main step in treating gastro-oesophageal reflux is to treat any underlying cause.

Treatments for this condition include:

  • Anti-spasmodic medications
  • Bulking agents
  • Antacids
  • Prostaglandins
  • Proton pump inhibitors.

Secondly, consider lifestyle changes that are known to relieve symptoms of this condition:

  • Sleeping with the head of the bed raised by at least six inches or more on two or more wooden blocks or bricks (several hardcover books work great)
  • Avoiding foods, you know trigger the reflux including coffee, chocolate, tomato sauces and alcohol.
  • Quit Smoking, not only will quitting smoking reduce GERD, but it can also reduce your risk for other health complications.
  • Eating small meals can also help avoid uncomfortable lumps that occur when the stomach contents stay too long in the oesophagus resulting not only of discomfort but also of regurgitation.
  • Losing weight, if overweight. Excess weight can put extra pressure on the stomach, which can cause acid reflux.
  • Lastly (and actually most importantly), one needs to lead a relaxed life without worries and stress otherwise these tend to exacerbate GERD symptoms.

More severe cases may need prescription medication or surgery. Your doctor is likely to recommend that you first try lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications.

If you don’t experience relief within a certain time, your doctor might recommend prescription medication or surgery.

Surgery is never the first treatment option for GERD.

gastro oesophageal diagnosis treatment 1 - Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease: What Is It?

The Diagnosis of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease

 

To properly diagnose gastro-oesophageal reflux, there are several factors to consider, including the symptoms the patient is experiencing, the nature of any complications caused by this medical condition and whether or not their symptoms are present during all meals.

Patient history, physical examination and even diagnostic imaging will be required to fully understand what’s causing these symptoms to develop.

Your doctor might be able to diagnose gastro-oesophageal reflux disease based on a physical examination and the symptoms you are experiencing.

To confirm GERD as your diagnosis or preventing complications, your doctor might recommend the following tests:

  • Chest X-ray
    A chest x-ray is an image of the internal organs and bones of the chest and the lungs. It can be helpful in diagnosing common ailments such as Gerd, asthma, and heart disease.
  • Upper GI (gastrointestinal) series
    Upper GI is a process by which doctors examine the area of the stomach, the esophagus, and the beginning of the small intestine; typically performed by administering a contrast agent and emptying the patient’s stomach and small intestine, and then withdrawing contrast agent and any gas or fluid if necessary.
  • Endoscopy
    Endoscopy is the examination of the interior of a body organ via a long, thin, tube with a light and a lens at the end.
  • Biopsy
    A biopsy is a tissue test which is used to detect diseases in the body. A biopsy is usually done by inserting a needle, which is guided by an ultrasound or CT scan, into the suspicious tissue or organ.
  • pH testing
    Performed with a thin, plastic tube armed with a sensor, it measures the amount of acid backing up into the esophagus

How to Prevent GERD

 

The best and safest way to prevent acid reflux from occurring is to change the things that cause reflux such as smoking, eating before you sleep, and avoiding foods that trigger reflux.

The following foods should be avoided with GERD:

  • Smoking
  • Spicy foods
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits and drinks
  • Coffee/ingredients with caffeine
  • Fatty and fried foods
  • Peppermint
  • Tomato-based products
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Garlic and onions
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol abuse

 

gastro oesophageal reflux diet 1 - Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease: What Is It?

Dr. Schneider Can Help

 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, while not commonly a serious disease, affects many people in the world today.

A variety of reasons such as increased obesity levels, poor dietary health, and increased risk factors such as alcohol and smoking play a big role in this disorder.

Should you experience some of the symptoms mentioned in this article, consider going to see your doctor to discuss the way forward.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of GI tract conditions in Johannesburg, contact Dr Schneider at (011) 482-3010 or visit www.gidocjhb.co.za to book your consultation today. 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

What is Gastroscopy

 

Gastroscopy is a procedure that takes a very close look at your digestive system, mainly your stomach.

Gastroscopy is often performed as a precursor to a colorectal surgery.

Gastroscopy is considered a minimally invasive procedure, and is performed via a small camera, called a video endoscope, that is inserted into a small incision in the abdomen.

A gastroscope is a flexible tube with a small fixture at the end and a video camera. The images from the video camera are sent to the screen.

With gastroscopy, the physicians are able to diagnose a wide range of conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcers and celiac disease to name a few.

Let’s look into the what, how and when of having a gastroscopy done.

 


What Happens During a Gastroscopy?

 

 Gastroscopes are small telescopes that allows your doctor to view the insides of the body.

These devices range in size and shape, but most commonly fit in the colon, intestines and stomach for an inspection of their condition.

Gastroscopies are performed regularly in clinical settings to monitor patients with gastrointestinal defects or disease.

The procedure can be done with either sedation or require general anaesthesia- the anaesthesia is selected based on what areas of the digestive system need examination.

Once confirmed, a gastroenterologist will prepare your body for examination by swallowing small amounts of barium liquid to outline structures within your digestive tract.

A tube is then passed down this oesophagus into your stomach – this tube allows doctors to see structures on either side of it as medical providers apply pressure with various tools to look for abnormalities.

 

Why Should I Get a Gastroscopy?

 

Gastroscopy (examination of the stomach) can help confirm or rule out the presence of diseases such as:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  • Ulcers
  • Inflammation, or swelling
  • Precancerous abnormalities such as Barrett’s oesophagus
  • Celiac disease
  • Strictures or narrowing of the oesophagus
  • Blockages

Should you have any of the following symptoms, a gastroscopy can be performed:

  • Chronic or recurrent heartburn, nausea, or vomiting
  • Nausea for a longer time
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Black bowel movements or blood in your bowel movements
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason
  • Suspicion of gastric ulcer
  • Suspected cancer of the oesophagus or stomach
  • Examination after gastric surgery 

gastrocscopy endoscope - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect


Your Preparation Before a Gastroscopy

One of the biggest mistakes that patients make is not to prepare for their Procedure.

There are lots of things you need to do, but also things you need to think about before the procedure.

Following the advice of your Gastroscopy involves precautions and preparations, such as Haemostasis (Control of bleeding), Medications (Side effects), Questions you must ask and answers your doctor should give.

To ensure a more pleasant experience, some tips for better preparation include:

  • Get some rest before procedure – It is very important that you get some sleep prior to the Procedure.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol just before procedure – Restricting fluids can contribute to swelling in throat, which can cause discomfort during the process. Follow your doctor’s advice.

gastroscopy procedure - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

 

How Long Does Gastroscopy Take

Gastroscopy can take from 15 mins to an hour. For a small number of patients, it can take a little longer if various tests are performed during the procedure.

There will be a short discussion with the doctor who performs the procedure before going into surgery, which might take place at a day surgery unit in your local hospital or outpatient suite.

When it is finished you recover with lunch and some time for yourself in general, if you have been given medication before the procedure this wears off approximately 4-6 hours after it is administered.

Although most patients feel quite normal after being discharged.

 

What Happens After Your Gastroscopy?

What can I eat or drink?
If you have had throat spray for your procedure, it will take 30 minutes for your swallowing to return to normal.

After this time, you may have a cool drink – you are at risk of burning yourself with a hot drink. You may eat and drink normally after this time.

Your throat may feel a bit sore. If you have had sedation, you may eat and drink when you feel safe to do so.

When can I go back to work?
This depend whether you have had sedation or throat spray during your procedure.

We advise that you refrain from work for 24 hours if you have had sedation.

You must not operate machinery and your car insurance will not cover you to drive during this time. If you have had throat spray you may return to work when you feel safe to do so.

Will I be told any results after the procedure?
The endoscopist will speak to you after the procedure and explain any results to you. We will discuss the follow-up plan of care.

You will possibly be given a copy of your endoscopy report and a patient care report to explain any findings and give you advice for the next 24 hours.

gastroscopy risks procedure - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

  

Risks of the Procedure

 

Many people are afraid of the prospect of a risk of gastroscopy.

The reason is because they are afraid of being diagnosed with something unpleasant or being unable to swallow.

There are several risks associated with undergoing a gastroscopy.

One potential problem that patients could face is an allergic reaction during the procedure.

If you’re allergic to latex or iodine, then there’s a risk that you could suffer an allergic reaction following your examination.

Importantly, most Doctors uses smooth rather than rough instruments so it should reduce the risk of tissue damage under normal circumstances.

The biggest danger involved in having gastroscopy done involves having something go wrong during the procedure itself which can lead to internal bleeding and may require immediate medical intervention.

The risks associated with a gastroscopy are not too high, but it is important for anyone who is going to have a gastroscopy to be aware of the risks and make sure they are communicated with their physician.

 

gastroscopy what it is how it works - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

 

Conclusion

A healthy lifestyle is easier than all the medical surgeries and remedies in the world.

There are many ways to take control of your digestive system, which can cure all stomach ailments.

Diet, exercise, and stress management are the three keys to better digestion along with other essential elements like getting enough sleep, not smoking, etc.
The best way to deal with any health condition is by following simple lifestyle changes.

The body has an amazing capacity for self-healing; once you begin taking back control of your daily life, your symptoms will begin clearing up within a few weeks after surgery.

With no cure currently available, medications are the only treatment available to prevent complications from the disease.

People with Ulcerative Colitis can have complications, such as colon cancer or polyps, which can need to be removed.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of Ulcerative Colitis conditions in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or visit www.gidocjhb.co.za and book your consultation today.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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