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Symptoms of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux

Symptoms of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease refers to a digestive disorder affecting the lower oesophagal sphincter, or LES. This LES muscle is shaped like a ring and is found between your stomach and your oesophagus.

Typically, you will know that you suffer from GERD if you experience heartburn or acid indigestion.

This leads to an understanding of the lower oesophagal sphincter’s function. In essence, it stops food and acidic stomach fluids from flowing back into your oesophagus.

The LES achieves this function by opening to allow food into your stomach and then closing to prevent backflow.

When the LES weakens or relaxes when it shouldn’t, stomach contents are able to go back up into the oesophagus and cause the associated symptoms such as heartburn, or acid indigestion.

Symptoms of GERD

Commonly, GERD is associated with heartburn which, as many people will have experienced at some point in their lives at least once, is characterized by a burning chest sensation.

This pain starts behind one’s breastbone, almost behind the heart – hence the term “heartburn” – and moves up into the neck and throat.

It can be described as a feeling of having one’s food making its way to one’s stomach thereby leaving an acidic or bitter taste.

The length of time in which this particular sensation is felt can vary with time depending on one’s posture – lying down or bending over can worsen, or even cause, it – but may last up to two hours in some cases.

People have reported feeling better after standing up if the heartburn sensation started while they were sitting or lying down so that may be an immediate, short-term solution to dealing with the pain.

Medicinally, antacid tablets can be taken to help clear out the acid in the oesophagus and relieve one of the burning sensation.

Additional GERD Symptoms

Other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, besides the physical pain, can include a host of others such as:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid due to the acidic reflux that occurs
  • The sensation of a lump in the throat.

Night-time Acid Reflux Symptoms

Night-time acid reflux is also known to commonly occur as a consequence of the body’s angle while laying down thereby making it harder for a weakened sphincter to remain closed.

Night-time acid reflux presents with additional signs and symptoms including:

  • Poor sleep quality due to frequent disruptions
  • Asthma occurrence or worsening of an existing condition
  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis due to the acidic irritation from reflux.

when to see a doctor - Symptoms of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux

When to See a Doctor

Due to the physical location of the chief symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease – behind the heart.

People experiencing GERD often mistake heartburn pain for actual heart pain thereby falsely self-diagnosing a heart disease or a heart attack.

The difference cannot be told by you though so if you do experience this pain, it is always best to seek professional medical help to make a correct diagnosis and implement a treatment plan if necessary.

One should also go see one’s doctor if symptoms are experienced several times a week, the symptoms are severe, one has difficulty breathing, or when over-the-counter medications are not working.

gerd complications - Symptoms of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux

Risks Factors for Gastroesophageal

Reflux Disease

Heartburn is experienced by many people at least once a month. In fact, some studies put that number at about 40%. That’s 40% of the Western population experiencing gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms on a reoccurring basis.

Even children and infants commonly experience GERD symptoms with the most common symptom being continuously occurring vomiting.

Breathing problems and coughing can also be observed as additional knock-on effects of GERD symptoms.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common factors that may increase your likelihood of developing GERD.

By understanding particular lifestyle choices and how they overtly increase the chances of developing GERD, conscious choices can be made to avert a course collision with this acid reflux disease.

Obesity

Obesity as always, is one of the chief culprits here with an increased body fat content greatly contributing to the likelihood of developing health problems including GERD.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is also a risk factor in that it can increase the chance of acid reflux from occurring.

Symptoms should subside, apart from the result of medication use, once the period of pregnancy has been passed.

Connective Tissue Disorders

Connective Tissue Disorders have been known to increase the risk of developing GERD.

Scleroderma is a condition in which the immune system damages healthy tissue and replaces it with scar tissue which causes thickening and tightening of the skin as well as internal damage to organs and other systems.

The gastrointestinal tract is also affected by this condition with inflammation and thickening of the connective tissue.

The oesophagus is the most commonly affected part of the gastrointestinal tract in people with scleroderma and, as a result, GERD signs are quite common.

In fact, around 90% of scleroderma patients exhibit signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease, sometimes referred to as oesophagal scleroderma.

A Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia is another disorder that may increase one’s probability of developing GERD.

In this condition, the stomach bulges into the chest through an opening in the diagram called the hiatus.

Some in the medical community believe that a hiatal hernia runs the risk of weakening the lower oesophagal sphincter and therefore raising the chances of experiencing gastroesophageal reflux.

One does not automatically result in the other but a hiatal hernia does make it easier for stomach contents to reflux up and into the oesophagus.

Causes of hiatal hernia are often age-related with those over 50 witnessing a higher chance of developing it.

Many who have slight hiatal hernia are actually unaware of the condition with no or very mild symptoms.

Several factors that can worsen the symptoms of acid reflux include many of the usual culprits such as smoking and drinking alcohol.

Other factors that put increased pressure on the gastrointestinal system such as eating large meals or eating late at night, eating particular trigger foods, and certain medications, should also be avoided where possible as this can lead to complications in the GI tract health and may result in GERD symptoms.

how to treat gerd - Symptoms of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux

How to Treat GERD Symptoms

Treating GERD involves a combination of self-help measures, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, and, in more severe cases, stronger prescription medicines.

Self-help measures just involved more knowledge of food consumption habits such as eating smaller but more frequent meals, keeping to a healthy weight, not eating large meals late at night, and avoiding any food or drink that you know may trigger symptoms.

OTC medicine is only necessary when symptoms arise. However, long-term treatment may indeed be needed and this may involve prescription medicine as determined by one’s doctor.

Surgery is the last and most serious measure to be taken. It may be recommended by one’s doctor if medication is not preventing stomach acid from moving up into the oesophagus.

GERD Complications and Long-Term Effects

Long-term GERD symptoms may result in damage to the oesophagus due to the erosive nature of stomach acid.

This erosive damage can then lead to further problems including the following:

  • Oesophagal scarring and narrowing which then may make swallowing difficult and could require surgery.
  • Ulcers on the oesophagus which may, in turn, cause additional symptoms due to the possibility of bleeding.
  • In rare cases, the cells in the oesophagus may change to become pre-cancerous. The condition is referred to as Barret’s Esophagus and comes with an increased chance of developing cancer.

Infographic Typical Symptoms of Gastro Oesophageal Reflux - Symptoms of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux

Summary

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, while not commonly a serious disease affects many people in the Western world today for a variety of reasons including increased obesity levels, poor dietary health, and increased risk factors such as alcohol and smoking.

Those suffering from GERD are also found among pregnant women as well as children.

In essence, GERD symptoms are the consequence of a weakened LES but may be treated, in most cases, with OTC medication and lifestyle changes.

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.

IBS – Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

IBS – Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or “IBS”, is a gastrointestinal disorder that is typically associated with a number of symptoms being present that include abdominal pain, cramping, increased gas, food intolerance, and bloating.

In other words, it’s a combination of stomach discomfort and abnormal bowel habits.

While it is very uncomfortable and does affect one’s livelihood, it is far from being life-threatening and does not indicate a higher likelihood of developing colon conditions like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

But it can be a long-lasting hindrance that can disrupt the way sufferers of IBS live their lives.

Found in both adults and children, IBS can be referred to as a functional disorder.

So, instead of something being wrong with the physical tissue of the digestive system, IBS symptoms are the result of changes in the functioning of the digestive system.

While you probably won’t be admitted to hospital for having IBS, the sheer quality-of-life impact it can have means it deserves a closer look.

We’ll start by explaining the causes of IBS before jumping into the signs and symptoms experienced by IBS patients.

Finally, we’ll offer some insight into currently prescribed treatment methods.

ibs symptoms - IBS - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There are several factors that can trigger the onset of IBS symptoms with the underlying cause being that of a change in gut bacteria.

A number of other factors including the alteration of the gastrointestinal tract motility, and abnormal nervous system signals all contribute to the possible onset of IBS symptoms.

Naturally, there are different ‘triggers’ for different people.

This slightly complicates the issue of highlighting a particular cause or solution and heralding it as the final answer to understand and treat or cure IBS.

For now, we have to look at a broad range of risk factors that may predispose one to IBS and it’s related symptoms.

1. SIBO

First on the list is SIBO which stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.

Essentially, this refers to when you have too much bacteria in your small intestine.

This indicates a shift in the balance of your small intestine’s environment.

SIBO has its own list of risk factors ranging from diabetes to having a small intestine with an unusual shape.

In essence, SIBO usually starts when your small intestine doesn’t move food along the way it should. This can cause bacteria to grow and stay in an area too long.

An imbalance can then occur if the “good” bacteria is hindered by the proliferation of harmful bacteria.

2. Food Sensitivities

This is most likely caused due to poor absorption of sugars or acids in food. The result is irritation of the bowels and typically leads to IBS symptoms.

3. Stress

Psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression have been found in many people with IBS. Whether the two are a result of causation or a simple correlation is unknown with IBS.

In other words, psychological conditions may not be a direct cause of IBS but research may find that it increases the probability that you will develop IBS.

4. Other Causes

There are several more factors that may lead to IBS symptom development.

Gastroenteritis, also known as a “stomach bug” and caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the stomach and intestines, can trigger IBS symptoms.

Genetic factors, hypersensitivity to pain from a full bowel, and abnormal movements of the colon and small intestine all contribute to the likelihood of IBS symptoms developing.

 ibs abdominal pain - IBS - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Signs and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Generally speaking, IBS involves changes in the frequency and physical form of bowel movements. It is normally associated with lower abdominal pain as well.

Pain and cramping happen to be the most common symptoms and a key factor in diagnosing the presence of IBS.

The cause of this, as mentioned earlier, is related to changes in a patient’s microbiome.

Diarrhoea affects about one-third of those suffering from IBS making it another common sign of IBS. This in contrast to a less intuitive sign of IBS, namely constipation.

In fact, constipation affects nearly half of people with IBS. The root cause lies in altered communication between the brain and the bowel causing a change in bowel movement speed.

One of the most annoying reported symptoms of IBS is bloating. Most people with IBS report this making it an expected symptom when dealing with irritable bowel syndrome.

The above signs and symptoms are quite consistent across patients with high probabilities of occurring in patients with IBS. The next couple of symptoms vary more wildly among patients.

Fatigue has been attributed to IBS with adults finding themselves low on energy at work and in social interactions.

Patients with IBS have also found that their sleep suffers – difficulty falling asleep, waking frequently, and feeling unrested in the morning have all been reported.

In general, patients have found their energy levels and restful states much lower with the onset of irritable bowel syndrome.

 

Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Treating IBS is a matter of installing lifestyle and dietary changes that are recommended by a doctor.
This means that a holistic approach is required to deal with the many facets of one’s biology and lifestyle that may be causing the patient’s IBS.

In general, lifestyle changes and recommendations about what you should eat may be combined with medicines, probiotics and mental health therapy, depending on the patient’s particular risk profile.

Patients need to heed the medical advice of their doctors when it comes to their specific situation.
That said, here are a number of treatments that your doctor may recommend or extra treatments you could add to your treatment plan.

1. Exercise

A solution seemingly as old as modern medical advice itself, the benefits of exercise apply to IBS therapy as well.

Not only has it been shown to improve IBS symptoms, but it also has a well-known effect on anxiety and depression which are IBS risk factors.

Exercise has the potential to alleviate symptoms and lower the reoccurrence of IBS down the line.

2. Set a Sleep Schedule

Our bodily functions are controlled by our biological clocks, or circadian rhythms. Gut functioning also follows this cycle. As a result, if one’s sleep is disrupted, the gut may be suffering.

It’s recommended to stick to a sleep schedule to help control fluctuations in gut irregularity.

If one is travelling across time zones, it may be worth taking some melatonin which can help regulate the circadian rhythm.

Consistency is key here. The upsides can be significant, not just for gut health but for one’s overall health as well.

3. Medication

Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to alleviate IBS symptoms and combat their reoccurrence.

An antihistamine may be given as this can help lower the histamine released in your gut due to an allergic reaction.

This can lead to reduced inflammation and a resultant decrease in IBS symptoms.

Antidepressants in low doses have been shown to alleviate symptoms.

Depending on the type of symptoms a patient is experiencing, different antidepressants may be prescribed.

Some help to inhibit the activity of nerves in the gut which helps to lower pain.

In other cases, an antidepressant can be prescribed to speed up the gastrointestinal tract.

As mentioned earlier, IBS could be the result of an overgrowth of bacteria.

In such cases, an antibiotic such as Rifaximin may be given by your doctor to inhibit the bacteria’s growth.

ibs nutrition - IBS - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

4. Diet and Lifestyle

Several lifestyle changes can help alleviate IBS symptoms. Another two worth mentioning here are probiotics and yoga.

Probiotics help to balance your gut microbiome. They’re referred to as the “good bacteria” and can be found in many food sources such as dairy products and fruit like bananas.

Including this in your diet can be a good idea to get your gut microbiome to a sustainably healthy position.

Yoga has been suggested to alleviate the symptoms of IBS.

One way it may achieve this is by increasing serotonin levels thereby decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety.

Summary

Irritable bowel syndrome does not have to be a debilitating problem for which there is no solution.

There are, however, nasty symptoms such as cramping, abdominal pain, and bloating which can make certain aspects of life unpleasant.

Through following the advice of a doctor, there are a number of effective therapeutic methods with the most notable being overall lifestyle changes accompanied by targeted medication.

Irritable bowel syndrome can affect one’s life ranging from a reduced amount of sleep to abdominal pain and less energy to do what you love.

The symptoms of cramping, abdominal pain, and bloating are responsible for this, in some cases quite severe, hindrance on normal human functioning.

There are however lifestyle and dietary changes which can be implemented, along with the medicinal prescriptions from a doctor, that can alleviate most, if not all, of the suffering experienced by those with irritable bowel syndrome.

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

 

Colon Cancer Risk Factors Prevention infographic 120x300 - IBS - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

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.

Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

GIDOCJHB is based at Milpark hospital in Johannesburg.

We offer diagnosis and treatment for individuals suffering from diseases of the esophagus, bowel, liver, and pancreas.

We take care in providing our patients with high-quality care of endoscopic procedures from diagnosis to treatment, and we are always seeking to grow our knowledge of industry equipment and advances in the field to provide you with the best care possible.

 

What Is An Upper Endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a gastroenterologist to view the inside of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

It involves using a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope that has a tiny camera and light installed, which allows to view images on a video monitor.

 

endoscopy reason for treatment - Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

Why is Upper Endoscopy Done?

Gastroenterologists can recommend an endoscopy to be scheduled for 3 main reasons. Usually, its to diagnose symptoms, monitor illnesses, or treatment of disease.

Endoscopies are very effective for screening and preventing cancer as they can be used to obtain small tissue samples to observe between benign and malignant (cancerous) tissues.

Its recommended to discuss why you need to undergo an endoscopy beforehand, so you also understand the importance, goals, and expectations for the procedure.

 

What Symptoms Does Endoscopy Help To Evaluate?

Aside from heartburn, endoscopy may also be used for:

  • Inflammation, ulcers, and tumors
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Bleeding
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach bleeding

Upper endoscopy can be more accurate than X-rays or other imaging for detecting abnormal growths and for examining the inside of the upper digestive system.

 preparing for endoscopy - Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

How do you Prepare for Endoscopy?

Before

  • A gastroenterologist will guide you step by step on what pre-measures to take and abide by.
  • You may be asked to sign a form that gives you consent and permission for the procedure.
  • If you take any medications it’s recommended to mention this before your prep starts.
  • You will be asked to not drink or eat anything on the day of your test.
  • If you have a history of any bleeding disorders, you should let your GI doctor know.
  • You may be asked to take a laxative and enema or have to drink a certain fluid to help clean out your bowels.

During

  • You will be asked to remove clothing, jewelry, or any objects that can obstruct the procedure, and change into something more comfortable and loose, such as a gown
  • You won’t feel any discomfort throughout your procedure as you will be sedated
  • Tissue samples may be collected for a biopsy to test for diseases and other conditions or cancers affecting the digestive system.
  • After numbing your throat and once you feel relaxed after your sedative, a thin flexible tube will be inserted in your mouth and throat until it reaches your duodenum
  • Once your gastroenterologist is satisfied he or she has performed the necessary procedure, the tube will be taken out of your mouth.

After

  • Following your procedure, you will be observed. Once you are alert, stable, and breathing fine again, you can be discharged.
  • You should have someone drive you home afterward as you’ll still be feeling drowsy.
  • If you feel gassy or pain in your throat for a few days after your discharge, this is normal.
  • You can return to your normal activities and diet the next day unless otherwise instructed
  • If you experience any chills or fever, swelling, bleeding, black or bloody stools, trouble swallowing or if your chest pain gets worse, contact your gastroenterologist immediately.

Infographic Endoscopy JHB - Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

Risks and Side Effects

Endoscopy is generally regarded as a safe procedure, however, as with any procedure, there are risks involved and potential complications, such as:

  • Minor internal bleeding
  • Cramping and bloating
  • Infection
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting blood
  • Complications related to preexisting conditions

endoscopy questions - Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

Endoscopy Frequently Asked Questions

Can I eat the day before my procedure?

General instructions are to not eat any solids for at least 8 hours before your procedure. Clear liquids are allowed only up until 4 hours prior. Also, no chewing gum the day before or on.


Should I brush my teeth on the day of my procedure?

Yes, please do.

Can I drink alcoholic beverages the day before and the day of my procedure?

Please refrain from drinking any alcohol for at least 48 hours before your procedure. Alcohol can cause dehydration and some wines can thin your blood, which can also make your procedure riskier.

Can I go back to work after the procedure?

It’s recommended to have 24 hours rest at home away from any stressful, physical, or mental activities to allow for the sedation or pain reliever to wear off.

What should I bring with me when I come for my procedure?

On the day of your procedure, please bring the following:

  • Name and contact details of a family member or friend who will be driving you home
  • Name and contact details of your General Practitioner
  • Medical aid card or number
  • Health history and a list of current medications

How long will the procedure take?

An endoscopy procedure usually takes between 45 to 90 minutes.

Can I have chicken soup?

No noodles, chicken, or vegetables should be eaten at least 8 hours before your procedure, however, you can have broth.

When can I get the test results?

Your gastroenterologist will first study your results and then it will be explained to you before you leave. If a biopsy was taken during the procedure, it will be sent to the lab for further testing, and your GI doctor will discuss these further results with you once received.

What if I need to cancel my procedure?

If you need to cancel or postpone your procedure for any reason, please call us to reschedule. 

What if I am on an antibiotic?

This should not interfere with your procedure. Please notify your GI beforehand to confirm.

Where is the procedure done?

An endoscopy is performed in a private procedure room.

 

 

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.

When You Would Need a Routine Colonoscopy

When You Would Need a Routine Colonoscopy

At GIDOCJHB, we treat patients with a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions, and we use the latest medical advances in the industry.

We help you understand the basics of how a colonoscopy is performed, how to better prepare both the night before and on the day, and how to interpret results.

Colonoscopies can help save lives, and with colon cancer diagnosis under the age of 50 on the rise, it’s important to get your screenings done through an experienced gastroenterologist.

We understand that a colonoscopy can be uncomfortable at times (the truth is that colonoscopies are not nearly as bad as you probably think), but it can be a crucial procedure at detecting colon cancer at its early stages.

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we are also taking relevant measures to keep our patients, staff, and facilities safe so we can still provide you with important screening procedures.

 routine colonoscopy procedure - When You Would Need a Routine Colonoscopy

Why Colonoscopies Are Performed

A colonoscopy is a life-saving procedure performed by a gastroenterologist to screen for colon abnormalities inside your large bowel (also known as the colon) that may or may not be cancer.

It involves inserting a thin, flexible tube that has a small video camera attached, with makes it possible for a gastroenterologist to examine the entire colon and also take biopsies (small pieces of tissue) for further examination.

Colonoscopies detect cancers while they’re still in the early treatable stages, and can also be used to check the colon after cancer treatment.

 

You Should have a Colonoscopy if:

  • If you are 45 years of age with a family history of colon cancer. 50 years of age if you don’t have a family history
  • If you have a family history such as a parent or sibling that has or had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, it’s recommended to book a consultation with a gastroenterologist as soon as possible to determine if your colonoscopy should be scheduled sooner.
  • If you are having symptoms of colorectal cancer such as rectal bleeding, dark-colored stools, diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain and cramps, and unexpected weight loss, it’s recommended to speak with your gastroenterologist about your condition.
  • If you would like to look at the general condition of your colon to see if there’s any swollen tissue, ulcers, tumors, inflammation, unexplained objects, and bleeding.
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis in the past.
  • If you’ve been exposed to radiation around your abdominal or pelvic area at any point in your life, to treat prior cancer for example.
  • If you’ve had surgery to remove part of your colon.

 colonoscopy checkup procedure - When You Would Need a Routine Colonoscopy

What if they Find Something?

Generally speaking, if you have been going for your recommended colonoscopy checkups and your gastroenterologist has found polyps, it will be in its early stages, which means a very high chance of effective treatment, especially in stage zero (not extended beyond the inner lining of the colon) and stage one (grown deeper into the layers of the colon wall, but have not spread beyond the wall or into the lymph nodes.)

 

Your Colonoscopy Schedule

It’s best to discuss your colonoscopy schedule with your gastroenterologist as specific cases will require specific care.

However, it’s recommended to get your first screening between the ages of 45-50.

Your screenings will stop once you reach the age of 75 if you are healthy, or 85 if abnormalities were previously found. It’s important to note that as you age, your risk of developing polyps and colon cancer increases.

Because colon cancer develops slowly, most people will not need to have a colonoscopy more than once every five years, but it’s still best to discuss your unique situation with your gastroenterologist.

  • If your screening colonoscopy showed a healthy, normal colon, you may not need another screening for 10 years.
  • If you had one or two low-risk polyps removed, you should have another colonoscopy in 5 to 10 year.

preparing for a colonoscopy - When You Would Need a Routine Colonoscopy

How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy

It’s recommended to clear your calendar on the day of your colonoscopy and plan for a driver to take you back home as you will feel drowsy.

Your diet will play an important role in the days leading up to your procedure, but your gastroenterologist will advise you on foods to eat and foods to avoid.

More ways on how to better prepare for a colonoscopy

 

How a Colonoscopy Procedure Works

On the day of your procedure, you’ll be asked to change clothes either into a gown or something more light. and you’ll be given a sedative and/or anesthesia to make your feel more relaxed.

Once you feel a bit drowsy, you’ll be instructed to lay down sideways and bring your knees to your chest so the colonoscopy flexible tube can be easily inserted into your rectum.

A colonoscopy procedure usually takes around 30-45 minutes. Once your procedure is finished, you’ll still feel drowsy, which is why you should have someone drive you home.

It’s normal to experience small amounts of bleeding or bloating following your procedure, however, if your blood becomes heave or is accompanied by a fever, contact your gastroenterologist immediately.

 

What Should I Expect After a Colonoscopy?

Following your procedure, you’ll most likely stay at the hospital for about an hour for monitoring and be given instructions on how to care for yourself while at home.

You may also feel bloated and drowsy for a few hours, however, the sedatives should wear off soon thereafter.

Your recovery period is generally very fast, usually, by the next day you should feel much better and can continue your normal work routine and lifestyle activities.

Your gastroenterologist will share the results of your colonoscopy with you and discuss the next steps too.

Colon Cancer Risk Factors Prevention infographic 120x300 - When You Would Need a Routine Colonoscopy

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.

Liver Disease Symptoms and Treatment JHB

Liver Disease Symptoms and Treatment JHB

The liver is the largest solid and internal organ in the body sits on the right side of the stomach, which is protected by the rib cage.

The liver is responsible for many important and complex functions which include:

  • Manufacture (synthesize) proteins
  • Produces and secretes bile (a substance needed to digest fats)
  • Detoxify, by metabolizing and/or secreting, drugs, alcohol, and environmental toxins
  • Stores Vitamins and iron
  • Metabolize and store carbohydrates
  • Stores and releases glucose

What Is Liver Disease?

Diseased or damaged liver results in the loss of critical functions and significant damage to the body which causes illness.

Generally, 75% or three-quarters of liver tissue needs to be damaged before a decrease in function takes place.

Liver disease is usually classified as either being acute or chronic.

Acute liver disease occurs when the liver is suddenly damaged. Chronic liver disease continues to affect the liver for 6 months or more.

For more info in liver disease, click here.

 liver disease symptoms - Liver Disease Symptoms and Treatment JHB

What Are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Liver Disease?

Both acute and chronic liver disease can interfere with the functions of the liver and thereby cause symptoms.

The good news is that the liver has a large reserve capacity, meaning it usually takes strong damage to the liver before symptoms appear.

The symptoms of liver disease may look like other health problems, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis just to make sure.

When symptoms do appear, it can be either acute or chronic.

Acute

If your liver gets suddenly damaged, it is “acute.” Symptoms of acute liver disease are:

  • Fatigue
  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin (Jaundice)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Dark stools and urine
  • Pain under the ribs on the right side

It’s important to note that up to 50% of people with acute liver disease have no symptoms at all.

Chronic

Your symptoms may vary, depending on how severe your liver problems are.

Chronic but mild disease may not cause any symptoms at all. If symptoms do appear, it can involve but not limited to:

  • Gallstones
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Easy bruising
  • Itching
  • Kidney failure

 

How Is Liver Disease Diagnosed?

If you’re concerned you might have liver disease, it’s best to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist to determine the correct diagnosis.

You’ll first be asked about your medical history including a family history of liver problems.

Next, you’ll likely be asked questions about your symptoms. You may also have tests including:

 

Blood Tests

A collection of blood tests called liver function tests can be used to diagnose liver disease and identify how the liver is functioning.

 

Liver Biopsy

Small tissue samples are taken from the liver to help diagnose liver disease and look for signs of liver damage.

 

CT Scan 

X-rays can be used to look at deeper tissues within the liver in detail to diagnose several liver disease conditions.

Other Tests

Other tests can also be used which can include an MRI and ultrasound

 

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Liver Disease Risk Factors and Causes

Certain causes and risk factors can increase your chances of developing either acute or chronic liver disease. This can include:

  • Heavy alcohol intake
  • Having unprotected intercourse
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins
  • Drug abuse
  • Having diabetes or high cholesterol
  • Sharing needles
  • Having a family history of liver disease
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Harmful supplements
  • Immune disorders
  • Parasites and viruses

Liver Disease Symptoms and Treatment in JHB - Liver Disease Symptoms and Treatment JHB

 

How Is Liver Disease Treated?

Some types of acute liver disease get better on their own. For many people, liver diseases are chronic, which means it can last for many years and may never go away.

In some rare situations depending on your diagnosis, you may need surgery to remove all or part of your liver, or liver transplant surgery may also be recommended.

However, for most people, chronic liver diseases can be managed and controlled either with medications or through lifestyle changes to help keep symptoms at bay.

These might include:

  • Limiting and cutting out alcohol and smoking
  • Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a liver-friendly diet which includes reducing salt, trans fats and sugar and eating more fiber. Eating a high fiber diet helps the liver to work at an optimal level.

liver disease questions - Liver Disease Symptoms and Treatment JHB 

Liver Disease FAQ

Can Liver Damage Be Reversed?

Depending on the stage and individual, yes it is. The liver is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate.

 

What Is The Name of Late-Stage Chronic Liver Disease?

Cirrhosis is a late-stage liver disease.

Can Poor Nutrition Cause Liver Disease?

Except for alcohol, poor nutrition is not a cause of liver disease.

How Does Liver Disease Progress To Liver Failure?

If Cirrhosis becomes so severe that the liver can no longer function normally, the condition turns to liver failure, which is life-threatening and you may need a liver transplant.

Can Liver Disease Be Prevented?

Yes

If Someone Has Liver Disease, Are They Immediately Aware Of It?

Most of the times they are not

 

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.