011 482-3010
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.

[39350 _i=”0″ _address=”2.0.0.0″ /]
Lactose Intolerance: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Lactose Intolerance: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

 What is Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance, or less commonly, milk-alkali syndrome, is the inability to digest lactose.

People with this condition have a problem digesting lactose, the sugar found in dairy products. Lactose intolerance is relatively common. 

This is due to a temporary lack of required lactase as an enzyme needed for digestion of dairy products such as milk and yogurt. 

Common sources include milk products made from cow’s milk; there are lesser-known sources such as goat’s and sheep’s milk. 

Lactose can also be found in larger amounts in processed foods with a longer shelf life such as canned vegetables, sausages, baked goods, and frozen dinners. 

Rarely, lactose can be found in minute amounts in certain other foods including yeast extract (marmite), certain brands of muesli bars, soy, and soybean products like soymilk ice cream (watch out for faux ice cream) vegan animal free dairy alternatives like coconut-based products including rice alternatives that use coconut extract instead of real sugar.

It can sometimes result in stomach pain or nausea, but usually these symptoms won’t be too severe and will go away after eating only small amounts of the offending foods.

The condition affects between 30 and 50 million Americans – or up to 75 percent of all adults worldwide. 

If you have a sensitivity to lactose, then it’s possible that you will have loose or even watery stool after eating foods that contain the sugar such as milk and ice cream. 

It can sometimes result in stomach pain or nausea, but usually these symptoms won’t be too severe and will go away after eating only small amounts of the offending foods. 

 lactose intolerance symptoms - Lactose Intolerance: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

 

Causes of Lactose Intolerance

  
Lactose intolerance is caused by a shortage of lactase, an enzyme produced in the small intestine which helps to break down lactose for easy digestion.

There are two main types of lactose intolerance, and both have different causes: 

Primary Lactose Intolerance

Primary lactose intolerance is an inability of the body to digest lactose.

Lactose is broken down by an enzyme called lactase, which is produced by cells in the small intestine.

If people have primary lactose intolerance, they don’t produce enough of this enzyme to break down the amount of lactose reaching the bowel, causing symptoms such as diarrhoea and cramps.

An absence of lactase doesn’t usually cause any health problems until babies start drinking cows’ milk – a baby will stop producing its own supply by five years old.

However, some adults are born with primary lactose intolerance due to a gene mutation that can be passed from parent to child.

Alternatively it could develop as part of another digestive problem such as Crohn’s or Celiac disease or in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Secondary Lactose Intolerance

Secondary is lactose intolerance (LI) which is caused by an underlying issue, such as surgery, illness, or a virus.

In these cases, the body loses the ability to digest lactose with normal fluid production of the enzyme that breaks down lactose.

Secondary LI can happen at any age and happens most commonly due to damage to the small intestine or following surgery.

Without enough lactase, undigested lactose is unable to pass through into the colon where it is broken down by bacteria, producing toxins and causing discomfort as a result. 

This leads to the illness known as lactose intolerance. 

These cases can result in severe cases of food allergies or symptoms that mimic other diseases like Crohn’s disease.

It should be stressed that not everyone that drinks milk will develop lactose intolerance, but there are several risk factors and causes that can leave people with the condition.

These include:

  • Newborn babies produce little or no lactase and must be introduced slowly in their diets over time to avoid symptoms
  • Being younger when first ingesting lactose in large quantities
  • Being unable to produce the right amount of lactase
  • People over 40 have lower levels of production
  • Some cases can also be caused by injury or surgery on the small intestines
  • Some people are simply born without adequate amounts of lactase for digestion
  • Being unable to produce the right amount of lactase needed for digesting dairy products

For those who can’t tolerate the lactose in dairy products, they should completely avoid it and seek another source of nutrients. 

 lactose intolerance causes - Lactose Intolerance: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

  

Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

 

 

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can usually start from 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking lactose contained foods. 

In such cases, undigested lactose remains in the bowel where it draws water and ferments, leading to unpleasant symptoms such as: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Gas 

The symptoms of lactose intolerance vary from person to person and can be mild or severe depending on the amount of lactose you’re able to consume in one sitting. 

Most people are unaware they have a problem with dairy products until they feel symptoms, and once they start avoiding dairy foods, it can take anywhere from four days to two weeks before they feel normal again. 

For others that have a more severe problem and process the enzyme lactase inefficiently, symptoms may occur more quickly after consuming milk or dairy products.
 

Treatment of Lactose Intolerance

 

Awareness of lactose intolerance is increasing at a rapid pace, but many people still don’t know about it or exactly what causes it.

There are many treatment options available for those intolerants to lactose.

The first is to cut out products which contain lactose and if you don’t like doing that, drink Lactase Enzyme Milk with your dairy products.

This reduces symptoms such as bloating and diarrhea.

Now that you know the symptoms of being lactose intolerant, let’s look at some treatment options available: 

  • Limit milk and other dairy products
  • Consume small servings of dairy products in your meals
  • Adding lactase enzyme to milk to break down the lactose
  • Probiotics or prebiotics

lactose intolerance foods to avoid - Lactose Intolerance: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

 

Lactose Intolerant Diet

 

Avoiding dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt can seem difficult for lactose intolerant people.

Many people aren’t aware that there are certain foods that can help to relieve lactose intolerance, in addition to avoiding high lactose-containing foods.
 

Foods to Eat:

  • Fruits: Oranges, Apples, Berries, Peaches, Plums, Grapes, Pineapples
  • Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Cashews, Brazil nuts, Hazelnuts
  • Vegetables: Garlic, Kale, Spinach, Arugula, Zucchini, Carrots, Onions
  • Whole Grains: Barley, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Couscous, Wheat, Oats
  • Meat: Beef, Lamb, Pork, Veal
  • Poultry: Chicken, Turkey, Goose, Duck
  • Beverages: Water, Tea, Brewed Coffee, Coconut Water
  • Seafood: Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon, Anchovies, Lobster, Sardines, Clams

 Foods to Avoid:

  • Milk: Cow’s Milk, Goat’s Milk
  • Cheese: Soft Cheeses – Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Mozzarella, Ricotta
  • Butter
  • Yogurt
  • Whipped Cream
  • Sour Cream
  • Buttermilk
  • Ice Cream
  • Frozen Yogurt

However, you must remember to always test dairy items before ingesting them because there continues to be some debate as to whether all people lactose intolerant are sensitive to dairy items. 

Also remember not to eliminate all dairy items at once so as not cause adverse reactions or ‘rebound intolerance’.  

lactose intolerance infographic - Lactose Intolerance: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Summary

 

Being lactose intolerant can be challenging, but it does not necessarily mean that it needs to have a negative effect on your quality of life.

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 lactose intolerance.

At GiDoc JHB, we know digestive problems can affect your quality of life, but it doesn’t have to. 

Dr. Schneider is dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive and personalized care for all patients.

For more information 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.

What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

Recurrent abdominal pain is a common condition necessitating a medical consultation, especially amongst children and women, where multiple causes and/or symptoms may be present.

Oftentimes these symptoms have more to do with lifestyle choices such as diet, gut health and psychological well-being but may also be an early symptom of more severe conditions.

Common causes of recurrent abdominal pain:

  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Period pains
  • Cancer
  • Liver and/or gallbladder problems
  • Some sort of parasitic/pathogenic infection
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • An abdominal muscle injury

Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) has been used to describe functional abdominal pain within those suffering from it with many patients, the majority being women and children, having no real identifiable organic causes.

This may lead to the development of chronic abdominal pain (CAP) as a lack of diagnosis and treatment may exacerbate the emerging condition.

 chronic abdominal pain - What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

  

How is Recurrent Abdominal Pain Classified?

The guidelines mostly used to describe and possibly diagnose recurrent abdominal pain in the past related to the use of Apley’s Criteria, which was developed in 1975.

 Although mostly having to do with the incidents of RAP in children, similar behaviours and symptoms may be present in adults.

 Due to a majority of the occurrences of these issues arising from possible childhood trauma, in adults the origin may be more difficult to narrow down.

 The criteria for recurrent abdominal pain is that there should have been 3 or more episodes of abdominal pain over 3 months at the least, and be severe enough to such an extent as to interfere with daily functioning like school or work commitments, social engagements as well as personal/self care and development.

 Abdominal pain is still one of the more common reasons for hospitalization around the world and, if any, the organic causes of abdominal pain should be rigorously tested and excluded.

 Unfortunately, recurrent abdominal pain may manifest as functional gastrointestinal disorders leading to cases of chronic abdominal pain (CAP) unless a diagnosis is made and intervention takes place.

Another classification system was developed in 1999 by the Pediatric Gastroenterology Multinational Rome Working Division where more specific diagnostic categories than recurrent abdominal pain were developed and allowed for a more specific symptom-based criteria for diagnosis.

 These criteria are described as indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, functional abdominal pain, abdominal migraines , and aerophagia.

It is through the development of these criteria that it became apparent that much of the recurrent abdominal pain and chronic abdominal pain present, especially within children, is a result of psychological distress.

 

Common methods that may help in the treatment of recurring abdominal pain:

 Drinking of more water

  • Healthy eating routines
  • Higher fiber diets
  • Exercise
  • Taking a warm bath or using a hot water bottle
  • Tailored diets that cut out specific food groups
  • Psychological therapy

  recurrent abdominal pain and mental health - What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

Recurrent Abdominal Pain and Mental Well-Being

A massive study was conducted by a group of researchers using The Raine Study, a randomised controlled trial designed to test the effects of ultrasound over the course, and after the fact, of pregnancy.

 Almost 3000 women and their children were followed from birth until the age of 17, where physical and detailed, self-administered questionnaire-based assessments regarding health and lifestyle were used to determine the effect of abdominal pain.

 It was found that during these studies, abdominal pain was common in children and adolescents, particularly females.

The study revealed that one third of seventeen year-olds experience some form of abdominal pain, and that those adolescents with frequent abdominal pain were more than twice as likely to have a history of depression.

 Within the same vein, children with recurrent abdominal pain had a higher chance of frequent abdominal pain, depression or anxiety during their teenage years compared to those without recurrent abdominal pain growing up.

 The study highlighted that an increase in incidences of bullying within school correlated with the increase of recurrent abdominal pain.

Considering the large emotional and psychological effects that bullying has on childhood aspects of mental health such as anxiety and depression, it becomes clearer to see that the correlation between psychological distress and recurrent abdominal pain is also there.

  abdominal stress - What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

The Effects of Psychological Stress on RAP

Whether bullying serves as a trigger for the psychological distress or aids in driving that destructive psychological state, the victims of these experiences have been shown to exhibit symptoms that are physically not there.

 These may include adverse health conditions and disorders such as recurrent abdominal pain. These conditions and disorders may then develop into chronic health issues in the future requiring further, sometimes more drastic, medical intervention as an adult.

 The correlation between children with frequent abdominal pain and the psychological condition of their parents was investigated by the Medical Research Council.

Children that had recurrent/persistent abdominal pain were found again to be almost twice as likely to suffer from some form of mental distress.

 Once these psychological disorders were accounted for and controlled, the physical symptoms associated with RAP decreased by half.

 treatment for abdominal pain - What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

Possible Treatment Methods for Stress-Related RAP

In an article published in 2006, researchers attempted to form a standardized assessment for recurrent abdominal pain.

Several mental as well as physical evaluations were investigated such as examining the effects of cognitive-behavioural therapies, fiber treatments and behavioural conditioning procedures.

 Of all these methods, cognitive-behavioural approaches appeared as a probably effective treatment for undiagnosed recurrent abdominal pain.

 Fiber interventions were found to aid in recurrent abdominal pains associated with constipation while behavioural conditioning procedures were found to not meet the required criteria for effective treatment options.

  

A Possible Treatment for Recurrent Abdominal Pain

The group undergoing these cognitive-behavioural interventions showed no evidence for any negative effects of treatment.

 A large majority of the children (87,5%), when studied in a school setting, were shown to be pain-free after three months of follow-up interventions compared to those at the start (37,5%).

 A second study comparing the effects of both cognitive-behavioural family intervention and standard paediatric care saw that both treatment procedures were effective at reducing the levels of pain intensity as well as the behaviour related to pain management.  

The parents involved reported higher levels of satisfaction in children receiving the cognitive-behavioural family intervention treatment than those receiving standard care.

Those receiving the cognitive-behavioural treatments had a higher chance of the complete elimination of pain as well as a lower chance of relapsing after 6 and 12 months.

RAP is Complicated so Pay Attention to the Signs

Based on a modern understanding of recurrent abdominal pain, it is clear to see that the possible causes are vast.

Linked with the incidence of poor mental health, this only serves to complicate diagnosis and treatment. 

Research points towards a plethora of social and psychological roots in the occurrence of recurrent abdominal pain and that an optimized assessment of all potential psychological and physiological contributors be accounted for when recurrent abdominal pain is described. 

There are some signs that do not point towards recurring abdominal pain as the cause of some discomfort. These extreme indications need to be addressed as soon as possible. 

Signs that you should see a medical professional:

  • Continual/uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Chronic constipation
  • Fever caused from abdominal pains
  • Pain when urinating
  • Blood in the stool or in vomit
  • A history of anaemia
  • An inability to pass gas
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Dizziness/light-headedness
  • When a lump is present in the abdominal area
  • Unintentional weight loss

  

Conclusion: Consult with Medical Professionals

Irritable bowel syndrome is another cause of recurrent abdominal pains and its treatment options vary in comparison to the interventions required for other causes of recurrent abdominal pain such as indigestion, constipation, stomach ulcers and other potential chronic abdominal problems. 

Because of this wide scope of potential causes and symptoms, and all of these conditions requiring their own treatment options, the importance of consulting with a doctor and potentially a gastroenterologist professional is a crucial first step towards finding the root cause and the subsequent treatment for recurrent abdominal pain.  

    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.

    How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    If you’re experiencing stomach pain but are unsure whether it is serious enough to see a specialist, read here to learn how to differentiate between ordinary pain and stomach illnesses. It may be time to book an appointment with your specialist.

     

    Most of us have experienced an upset stomach from an acute illness, this is most often something that one can self-medicate at home, or even with a visit to your GP if you feel your symptoms need medical assistance.

     

    But what should you do if you have stomach pain that occurs frequently or lasts for long periods?

     

    If the usual remedies don’t work and the discomfort persists long term, you might find you have an underlying condition that affects your gastrointestinal system. If you do decide to visit your GP as well, they will recommend seeing a gastroenterologist for specialist care.

     

    There could be many reasons you should consult a gastroenterologist, also known as a digestion doctor, if you are experiencing discomfort and unusual symptoms.

     

    It is a common misconception that a gastroenterologist is just a stomach doctor and deals exclusively with that area of the body, but in fact, these specialists help treat conditions for many different areas of your body.

     

    A gastroenterologist can assist with symptoms ranging from the esophagus all the way down to the rectum.

     

    This post will explore the various reasons one might need to make an appointment and get an expert opinion to get you feeling right as rain again.

     

     

    What Is a Gastroenterologist?

     

     

    Most of us don’t have an in-depth understanding of the specialization of a digestion doctor until we are in huge amounts of pain that does not subside the way that some acute illnesses usually would.

    This is when we’re forced to seek specialized help from specialists such as a gastroenterologist. 

    stomach pains - How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    Where Can Stomach Pains Come From?

     

     

    When we consider the gastrointestinal system, most people would naturally assume that this is limited to the stomach and intestines.

    In reality, gastroenterology involves looking at the normal function and diseases of the entire gastrointestinal tract – including your esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver.

    Issues with any of these parts of the body could cause what appears to be stomach pain and may warrant a visit to a gastroenterologist to confirm a diagnosis and receive treatment.

     

     

    Conditions Managed by Gastroenterologists

     

     

    Some of the most common ailments that one would visit a gastroenterologists for include the following:

        • Cancer (Gastrointestinal, Liver, Pancreatic, Colorectal)
        • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
        • Celiac Disease
        • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
        • Gallbladder Disease
        • GERD (Heartburn, Acid Reflux)
        • Hemorrhoids (Swollen Veins in the Lowest Part of the Rectum and Anus)
        • Polyps (Abnormal Tissue Growths)
        • Ulcers (Painful Sores in the Stomach Lining)
        • Pancreatitis

    Some of the above conditions can become much worse and potentially cause severe long-term complications if one does not get the required medical attention as soon as possible.

    Below, we will look at some of the instances where your stomach pain is no longer something that can be cured by a home remedy, but rather requires an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

    stomach conditions and when to see gastroenterologist - How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

     

    Types and Sources of Stomach Pain

     

     

    Stomach pain can be a difficult pain to diagnose oneself, because often the pain is not actually located in what the average person calls the stomach area but is in fact more pinpointed to a specific region of the abdominal cavity.

    Many vital organs make up this general area, such as the small and large intestines, appendix, kidneys, liver, and gallbladder.

    The digestive tract is also found in this general area of the body, along with all the building blocks like muscles, bones, blood vessels, and other structures.

    It is clear just from listing these various areas and components that there is a lot more going on in the abdomen than just the stomach, and this is what can make it difficult for you to differentiate between and locate the issue yourself.  

    There are, of course, acute ailments that most of us have experienced in the past and at least have an idea of the familiar sensation – something like indigestion, bloating and gas, or constipation.

    This pain is passing, doesn’t last for long periods of time, and does not occur repeatedly. These ailments typically present as generalised pain.

     

    Stomach Pain That Requires a Gastroenterologist

     

     

    Generalised pain is something you should be able to recognise as a separate sensation to abdominal pain, which is localised to a particular region.

    If you can feel, for example, that your kidneys are in pain (read here to see where they are located if you are unsure) you can then monitor it accordingly.

    If it does not pass in a short amount of time but instead persists, or even worsens, it may indicate that it’s time to see your doctor.

    Let’s have a look at some signs which may indicate it is necessary to seek specialised medical assistance.

     

    1.    Intense Pain Accompanied by Bloody Diarrhea

     

    Intense pain that comes on quickly can be a sign that you are suffering from a foodborne illness, having consumed contaminated food.

    This could be a result of food poisoning, Salmonella, or E. Coli. These are generalized pains and are likely something you will have experienced before and will subside within hours.

    If the pain is persistent and is accompanied by blood in diarrhoea, you could be experiencing something more serious, possibly ulcerative colitis or another inflammatory bowel disease.

    stomach pain and vomiting gastroenterology - How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    2. Sudden Pain Paired with Vomiting

     

    As with the first sign, this could be as a result of contracting a foodborne illness which would then pass within several hours or days.

    Alternatively, you could be experiencing acute gastroenteritis (‘stomach flu’). Gastroenteritis is caused by a bacteria, virus, or parasite and causes inflammation of the intestine lining.

    Viral gastroenteritis is very common today and is another instance where home care will suffice, and the pain will not last past a few days.

    As such, it’s not essential to see a gastroenterologist but if you are struggling to keep fluids down then a visit to the doctor is needed.

     

    3. Intense Stomach Pain in Lower Abdomen

     

    If your pain is located in the lower abdomen, this could be something that subsides after a bowel movement, indicating you may be suffering from IBS.

    Irritable bowel syndrome can sometimes seem like it’s acute pain and passes quickly but keep track of how often this happens.

    It is normal to have occasional constipation, however, if you are experiencing less than three bowel movements a week coupled with intense lower abdomen pain, the issue is more serious.

     

    stomach pain in lower abdomin - How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    4. Side or Lower Back Pain

     

    Experiencing pain in your side or lower back could indicate kidney stones if this abdominal pain is also accompanied by discomfort and pain when urinating.

    Kidney stones cause pain due to their sharp crystalline structure which irritates the urinary tract as it passes through.

    Some people will find this pain almost unbearable and is uncommon in acute illnesses, making it easier to know that this is a serious instance in which a visit to your gastroenterologist is necessary.

     

     

    In conclusion

     

     

    It is very unlikely that you have never experienced any form of stomach pain in your life, but most of these cases will have been acute illnesses and short-lived symptoms.

    These forms of stomach pain are quite mild and don’t require attention from a medical professional.

    If the pain persists for long periods, intensifies over time, or is localized rather than generalised pain then you should aim to seek assistance from your doctor as soon as possible.

     

     

    Learn More from the Experts

     

     

    GiDoc Johannesburg is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology.

    Book an appointment online or give us a call at 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 You Need To Know About A Polypectomy

    What You Need To Know About A Polypectomy

    At GIDOCJHB, we provide comprehensive diagnosis, management, treatment options, and follow-up care of surgical disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

    Expertise, combined with the use of the latest technology, allows Dr Schneider to treat even the most difficult cases.

    We provide every patient with a consistent, compassionate, and personalized approach to care that acknowledges and understands both the physical and emotional impact these medical problems can have on people.

    Fast, flexible scheduling is available, including immediate appointments for some services and direct access scheduling of screening colonoscopies for appropriate patients.

     

    What Is a Polypectomy?

    A polypectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure to remove polyps from the large intestine.

    A polyp is an abnormal collection of tissue. The tissue will be studied to determine if the growths are cancerous, precancerous, or benign. This can prevent colon cancer. A Polypectomy is generally regarded as very safe.

    The two most common types of polypectomy are:

    • Uterine polypectomy – Removing polyps in the endometrial tissue, the tissue that lines the uterus.
    • Colon polypectomy – Removing polyps in the colon.

    Polyps may also develop in other regions of the body.

     

    Who Needs a Polypectomy?

    Most people with polyps don’t know they have them unless it causes symptoms or during a colonoscopy or screening for something else.

    Anyone who has been diagnosed with a polyp will require a polypectomy to remove it.

     polypectomy surgery - What You Need To Know About A Polypectomy

    Diagnosis

    Screening tests are crucial in detecting polyps in their early stages before they become cancerous. Caught early, you’ll have a better chance of a full recovery. 

    Screening methods include:

    • Colonoscopy – the standard method for colorectal polyps. If polyps are found, a gastroenterologist may remove them immediately or take tissue samples for further analysis.
    • Virtual colonoscopy – A minimally invasive test that uses a CT scan to view your colon. If a polyp is found, you’ll need a colonoscopy to have it removed.
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy – A thin tube is inserted into your rectum to examine for abnormalities. If a polyp is found, you’ll need a colonoscopy to have it removed.
    • Stool-based tests – Looking for the presence of blood in the stool or assessing your stool DNA. If your stool test is positive you will need a colonoscopy.

     

    Risks, Causes, and Complications of a Polypectomy

    Anyone can develop a polyp, but some of the well-known factors that increase the likelihood of developing one are:

    • Increase in age
    • Are overweight or obese
    • Genetics and family history
    • Certain foods
    • Have diabetes
    • Diagnosed with IBS or other gastrointestinal conditions
    • Smoking
    • Excessive alcohol

    Removing small polyps is regarded as generally safe and a routine part of a colonoscopy.
    The risk increases with the size of the polyp. However, as with any surgery, there are some complications that can arise, such as:

    • Organ puncture – This can be life-threatening, but is rare.
    • Bleeding – If the wound does not properly heal, it can cause bleeding
    • Infection – As with any wound, it is prone to infection, especially if not cared for correctly.
    • Incomplete removal – The first procedure can leave some tissue behind, requiring a second polypectomy.

    Treatment

    A gastroenterologist is most likely to remove all polyps discovered during a bowel examination and diagnosis.

    polypectomy after care - What You Need To Know About A Polypectomy

    Follow-Up Care

    Following a polypectomy, you can return home the same day. Many people experience some pain and small amounts of bleeding for up to five days afterward, but this is generally regarded as normal. It’s recommended to take one to two days off work to rest and recover.

    It’s also best to avoid certain ingredients, such as anything spicy, tea, coffee, alcohol, and sugary drinks for at least 72 hours. Driving is also not recommended for up to 48 hours after your procedure.

    A polypectomy does not need to be regularly repeated. However, if there are areas of concern that were not fully removed, you may be scheduled for a second procedure to remove the remaining lesions.

    If there was no evidence of cancer noted on your lab reports, you will need to continue to have routine colonoscopies every five to ten years.

    You should contact your gastroenterologist immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms after your procedure:

    • Fever or chills
    • Heavy bleeding
    • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
    • Vomiting
    • Dizziness

    Once the polyps have been analysed, if cancer is detected your gastroenterologist will schedule a follow-up consultation to discuss the next steps.

     polypectomy procedure - What You Need To Know About A Polypectomy

    Tips for Preparing for Your First Appointment With a Gastroenterologist

    • Phone two days before to ask about any pre-appointment restrictions, such as not eating solid food on the day before your scheduled appointment.
    • Write down your symptoms, if any.
    • Make a list of all your medications, vitamins, and supplements.
    • Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.
    • Write down questions to ask your doctor so you don’t forget.

     

    Preparation for a Polypectomy

    The preparation for a polypectomy is the same for a colonoscopy.

    A gastroenterologist will need your large intestine to be entirely clear and free from any visual obstruction because any stool left in the intestine will block the view, hindering the chances of finding any polyps that you may have in your colon.

    The standard process will be that you will need to drink only liquids during the 24 hours before the procedure and take a solution that will help you empty your bowels.

    Your gastroenterologist will prepare you for this and guide you through the entire process.

    Timing

    A polypectomy itself should take up to 25 minutes, which could be at least 40 minutes to an hour depending on how many polyps are found and the size.

    You will be given medication that makes you drowsy, which is why it’s recommended to rest immediately once you are home.

    Location

    A polypectomy is generally done in a GI’s office that is equipped with a colonoscope and monitor.

    What to Wear

    You can dress comfortably. You will be asked to undress from the waist down and to wear a gown throughout your procedure.

     

    Colon Cancer Risk Factors Prevention infographic 120x300 - What You Need To Know About A Polypectomy

    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.

    Cirrhosis: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Diagnosis and Treatment

    Cirrhosis: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Diagnosis and Treatment

    If you or someone you know is living with chronic liver damage, then you know how important it is to receive ongoing care from an experienced and caring gastroenterologist to attend to your medical needs.

    Board-certified gastroenterologist, Dr. Schneider, specializes in diagnosing, evaluating, and treating liver disorders.

    With an individualized approach to testing and treatment, we diagnose and address conditions using the latest technologies and advanced methods.

    Contact us to book an appointment. We will work with you to address your specific health needs and concerns.

     cirrhosis liver - Cirrhosis: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Diagnosis and Treatment

    What is Cirrhosis?

    Cirrhosis is a condition that occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, partially blocking the flow of blood through the liver.

    The liver is the body’s largest internal organ. The liver does many important things including:

    • Removes waste from the body, such as toxins and medicines
    • Makes bile to help digest food
    • Stores sugar that the body uses for energy
    • Makes new proteins

    Scarring impairs the liver’s ability to:

    • Control infections
    • Remove bacteria and toxins from the blood
    • Process nutrients, hormones, and drugs
    • Make proteins that regulate blood clotting
    • Produce bile to help absorb fats — including cholesterol — and fat-soluble vitamins

    A person cannot function productively or live an active lifestyle without a healthy working liver, which makes cirrhosis a serious disease to have. To find out more about Cirrhosis, click here.

    Cirrhosis Diagnosis

    A diagnosis of cirrhosis begins with a thorough personal and family history background and physical exam.

    The history may reveal long-term alcohol abuse, exposure to hepatitis C, family history of autoimmune diseases, or other risk factors.

    The following tests may also be ordered:

    Blood Test

    To measure how well the liver is functioning. and to determine if the patient may have hepatitis.

    Biopsy

    A tiny sample of liver cells is extracted and examined under a microscope. The biopsy can confirm cirrhosis and its cause.

    Endoscopy

    A gastroenterologist inserts a long, thin tube with a light and video camera at the end that goes through the esophagus and into the stomach.

    A gastroenterologist will look out for swollen blood vessels that can be a sign of cirrhosis.

    CT scan (computed tomography)

    A CT scan is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. A CT scan shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.

    Ultrasound

    An ultrasound shows your internal organs as they work. It checks how blood is flowing through different blood vessels.

    An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs.

    Cirrhosis diagnosis - Cirrhosis: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Diagnosis and Treatment

    Cirrhosis Symptoms

    Symptoms don’t appear during the early stages of cirrhosis. You may only start showing symptoms until the disorder has progressed.

    When the liver becomes more damaged, some of the symptoms include:

    • Nausea
    • Nose bleeds
    • Weight loss
    • jaundice (yellow discoloration)
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weakness
    • Pain or tenderness in the area around the liver
    • itchy skin

    More serious symptoms include:

    • Confusion and difficulty thinking clearly
    • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
    • Swelling of the legs (edema)
    • Bleeding gums
    • Impotence
    • Vomiting blood
    • Urine is dark
    • Hairloss
    • Muscle cramps
    • Experience walking problems

    Cirrhosis Causes and Risk Factors

    You are more likely to get cirrhosis of the liver if you:

    • Abuse alcohol regularly over many years
    • Have hepatitis B, C, or D
    • Have liver inherited disease or family history
    • Have diabetes
    • Are obese
    • Inject drugs using shared needles
    • Smoking
    • Have unprotected sex
    • Have diabetes
    • Take drugs or exposed to prolonged exposure of toxic chemicals or parasites.

    Cirrhosis treatment johannesburg - Cirrhosis: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Diagnosis and Treatment

    Cirrhosis Treatment

    Since nothing can be done about scarring that has already occurred, treatment is concentrated on helping patients avoid complications of the disease and blocking further damage.

    Treatment options are dependent on the cause and diagnosis of cirrhosis. Options include:

    • Eliminating alcohol intake (in cases of alcohol abuse) and maintaining a healthy diet
    • Medications, including interferon and corticosteroids
    • Endoscopy to treat enlarged blood vessels
    • Diuretics or laxatives to reduce the buildup of fluids
    • Antibiotics
    • Liver transplantation, which should be considered when cirrhosis is severe and the liver is failing to function.

     

    Cirrhosis FAQ

    What is the outlook for those with liver cirrhosis?

    The general health of a patient with cirrhosis is always dependent on the underlying causes of cirrhosis and how successful treatment measures are to halt further liver damage.

    There is no cure for liver cirrhosis, and a transplant remains the most effective treatment (when successful) for the best possible quality of life once damage to the organ occurs.

     

    Is cirrhosis cancer?

    No, cirrhosis of the liver isn’t cancer. However, most people who have liver cancer have cirrhosis. If you have cirrhosis, you have an increased risk of liver cancer.

     

    Can liver damage be reversed?

    Cirrhosis is generally not considered to be reversible. However, there are different degrees of cirrhosis which range from early to late stage.

    If your liver disease or complication is caught early and successfully managed, it may be possible to slow or stop the progression of the disease.

    One of the most important factors to ensure you stay healthy and try to lower your risk levels.

    • If you routinely drink alcohol, stop drinking.
    • If you are overweight or obese, lose weight, and exercise more.
    • Eat healthy: A diet full of vegetables and fruits along with foods that provide lean protein is highly recommended. Reduction in fried and fatty food is good.
    • If you have hepatitis C or hepatitis B and are eligible for treatment, get started on medications to try to clear the virus.
    • If you smoke, stop immediately.

    How do I know if I have cirrhosis if I don’t show any symptoms?

    In the early stages of cirrhosis, symptoms usually don’t appear. The only way to know for sure is to get examined by a medical doctor, such as a gastroenterologist.

    Early diagnosis of cirrhosis can help prevent symptoms from developing and make your treatment plan more effective.

     

     

    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.