011 482-3010
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.

    Signs You Need To See A Gastroenterologist

    Signs You Need To See A Gastroenterologist

    A healthy gastrointestinal system is vital for overall health. 

    If your digestive tract is not healthy, several risk factors can lead to a more serious problems in the future.

    When do you know it’s time to see a gastroenterologist?

    If you’ve been feeling digestive discomfort or other symptoms, maybe your gut might be trying to tell you something.

    Gastroenterologists diagnose, manage, and treat all diseases of the digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, anus, pancreas, gallbladder, and liver.

    It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms that come along with stomach issues so you’ll be able to take action before it leads to something more serious.

    Dr. Schneider is a certified gastroenterologist and consults patients to understand their issues, diagnoses their problem, plan a treatment method, and do his best to cure the problem.

     

    What Does a GI Doctor Do?

    A gastroenterologist is a specialist internist (a doctor trained in internal medicine) and is experts in diagnosing and treating conditions and diseases of the GI tract in both men and women.

    A gastroenterologist may perform several procedures to diagnose GI diseases. However, these procedures are not surgical.

    One of the major procedures performed by a gastroenterologist is endoscopy. It involves the use of narrow flexible tubes with a built-in video camera that can be inserted into the intestinal tract.

    These non-surgical GI procedures may be performed to diagnose a gastrointestinal disease in both men and women:

    • Gastroscopies (to detect oesophageal, gastric, and small intestinal disease)
    • Sigmoidoscopies (to evaluate blood loss/bowel pain)
    • Capsule endoscopies (to examine the small intestine)
    • Liver biopsies (to assess liver inflammation and fibrosis)
    • Endoscopic ultrasounds (to examine the gastrointestinal tract)
    • Colonoscopies (to detect colon cancer/colon polyps)

    What Makes a Gastroenterologist Different?

    The thorough training (both academic and practical) that Gastroenterologists complete provides them with the ability to provide high quality, comprehensive care for patients with a wide variety of gastrointestinal conditions.

    Private practice Gastroenterologists are considered experts in their field of an advanced understanding of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver.

     signs you should see gastroenterologist - Signs You Need To See A Gastroenterologist

    Eight Signs You Should See A GI Doctor

    1. If You Are Experiencing Regular Diarrhea and Constipation

    Having diarrhea can feel like a constant urge to defecate, or having a mostly liquid stool. On the other hand, constipation feels like you are struggling to defecate, or very little comes out.

    You might only go once or twice a week and feel like you are straining and that it’s difficult to pass a stool.

    If you have diarrhea lasting more than four days, it’s recommended to seek professional help from a gastroenterologist.

    2. Unexplained Weight Change

    An unexpected change in weight, either weight loss or weight gain should be a red flag that something is not right.

    Of course, if you are regularly eating unhealthy you can pick up weight, and if you are working out regularly you could lose weight, so you know your body best to make this kind of determination.

    Fluctuations are normal, but an unintentional change of close to 10% over a 3-6 month period is a cause for concern.

    Some diseases prevent the GI tract from properly absorbing food. This prevents us from putting on weight and can lead to vitamin deficiency.


    3. You Are Over 45

    Once you reach the 50-year mark, it’s highly recommended that you should see a gastroenterologist for a colorectal cancer screening, and younger if you have a family history of cancer.

    A colonoscopy is widely known to actually prevent colon cancer before it starts, if caught at an early stage.

    A gastroenterologist uses a colonoscopy to check for polyps and painlessly removes them, so they do not have the chance to turn cancerous.

    4. Jaundice

    Jaundice is a condition in which the skin and eyes develop a yellowish/orange colour due to the excess of a chemical called bilirubin.

    Depending on the amount of bilirubin in the cells, the person might have a barely noticeable coloration in the eyes only. People with severe cases can have skin with a yellow tint.

    Some cases can be treated with medication but others may require surgery.

    5. Bloody Stool

    If you notice blood in your stool, it’s usually a sign of something serious and you should schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist immediately so they can perform a diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options. While it may turn out to be nothing, it could be a sign of cancer or ulcerative colitis.

    6. Regular Heartburn

    If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux to the point that it’s interrupting your daily activities such as being able to work or sleep, a gastroenterologist can help.

    Medications may help you relieve symptoms in the short term, but you should find out what the real problem is as it might be signs of a bigger problem that might need treatment.

    why you should see a gastroenterologist - Signs You Need To See A Gastroenterologist


    7. Bloated Belly

    If your clothes are suddenly feeling too tight or you wake up for several days in a row and you feel and look bloated, this is usually a sign of a stomach issue that needs to be looked at.

    The cause could be nothing alarming or it could be something else that requires treatment.

    8. You’ve Been Diagnosed with a Digestive Condition

    If your family physician doctor has diagnosed you with a complex digestive disorder, such as Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Pancreatitis, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux), or Celiac disease, it’s important to consult with a gastroenterologist who will then advise you on a specialised treatment plan to relieve symptoms and work towards a path to cure your disease, if one is available.

    Colon Cancer Risk Factors Prevention infographic 120x300 - Signs You Need To See A Gastroenterologist

    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.

    Gastritis : Causes, Symptoms, Dignosis and Treatment

    Gastritis : Causes, Symptoms, Dignosis and Treatment

    gastritis causes symptoms 120x300 - Gastritis : Causes, Symptoms, Dignosis and Treatmentgastritis causes symptoms 120x300 - Gastritis : Causes, Symptoms, Dignosis and TreatmentAt GIDOCJHB, board-certified gastroenterologist, Dr. Schneider, and his team understand how gastritis, stomach ulcers, hernias, and other stomach disorders can interfere with your daily life.

    At our offices in Milpark, Johannesburg, we offer on-site diagnostics and specialised treatments.

    If you or a loved one is experiencing problems due to digestive tract and related disorders, book an appointment to see Dr. Schneider to get a diagnosis and learn about the treatment options available for Gastritis.

     

    What Is Gastritis?

    Gastritis refers to the inflammation, irritation, or erosion of the lining of the stomach.

    Gastritis or stomach inflammation can increase the risk of stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding, or stomach cancer.

    Gastritis may occur suddenly but is temporary (acute gastritis) or it can occur slowly over time and last for weeks or even years (chronic gastritis). 

    It’s important to seek evaluation and treatment for chronic gastritis because it can lead to complications such as ulcers and bleeding.

    For the majority of people, however, gastritis isn’t serious and improves rather with appropriate treatment and lifestyle remedies.

    To find out more about gastritis, I recommend reading this article

     gastritis treatment - Gastritis : Causes, Symptoms, Dignosis and Treatment

    Causes of Gastritis

    Gastritis can be caused by several different factors, including:

    • Excessive alcohol consumption
    • Aspirin and pain relievers
    • An overflow of gastric juices, which is a stress response in some people
    • The backflow of bile from the small intestine (duodenum)
    • Radioactive treatments to the upper abdomen or lower part of the chest
    • Persistent, intense stress that affects a patient’s digestive system
    • Surgery to remove parts of your stomach
    • Diabetes

    Symptoms

    Gastritis symptoms do not always correspond to the extent of physical changes in the lining of the stomach. Most noticeable symptoms include:

    • Loss of appetite.
    • Indigestion
    • Excessive vomiting or vomiting blood
    • Nausea
    • Feeling full
    • Shortness of breath or light-headedness
    • Abdominal bloating and discomfort.
    • Abdominal pain
    • Burping or belching and hiccups.
    • Bloody or black vomit
    • Acid reflux
    • Bloody or dark black, tarry stools

     gastritis bloodtests - Gastritis : Causes, Symptoms, Dignosis and Treatment

    Diagnosis

    If gastritis is suspected after a detailed medical history and physical examination, other tests will likely follow.

    Blood Tests

    Blood tests can help detect anemia, a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells present.

    Anemia can be a strong indicator of blood loss, which can be linked to gastritis.

    Upper GI Series

    X-rays with a special dye to highlight abnormal areas (also called a barium swallow) various gastritis-related abnormalities can be seen with an upper gastrointestinal series, including ulcers and inflammation.

    Upper Endoscopy

    If the diagnosis of gastritis remains unclear, and/or if your symptoms are severe or persistent, an upper endoscopy may be performed.

    During endoscopy, a gastroenterologist passes a flexible tube equipped with a lens (endoscope) down your throat and into your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

    Using the endoscope, he or she will look for signs of inflammation.

    If a suspicious area is found, your gastroenterologist may remove small tissue samples (biopsy) for laboratory examination.

    Stool Test

    Stool tests can be used to check for the presence of Helicobacter Pylori or other infections.

    With this test, a scientist will look for an antigen that is normally located on the surface of the bacteria.

     

    Treatment for Gastritis

    Treatment will depend on a range of factors such as your age, medical history, how severe your symptoms and conditions are, and general health.

    Medications

    • Treating the bacterial infection With a combination of antibiotics
    • Blocking acid-producing cells with proton pump inhibitors
    • Reducing acid production with histamine blockers
    • Antacids to neutralize the stomach acids and provide pain relief.
    • Vitamin B12 supplements to treat pernicious anemia

    Lifestyle and Home Remedies

    You may find some relief from signs and symptoms if you:

    • Eat smaller and more regularly. If you experience frequent indigestion and bloating, it’s best to eat smaller meals more often to help ease the effects of stomach acid.
    • Don’t eat foods that irritate your stomach, especially those that are spicy, acidic, fried, sugary, or fatty.
    • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can irritate the mucous lining of your stomach.
    • Consider changing pain relievers. If you use pain relievers that increase your risk of gastritis, ask your doctor whether acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may be an option for you

     

    Gastritis FAQs

    Does Gastritis Go Away?

    Yes, once diet or lifestyle changes are made, the acute symptoms of the condition can resolve.

    Other more serious lifestyle changes can cause gastritis to go away as well.

    These changes include removing irritants completely, like avoiding alcohol, removing stress, and quitting smoking.

    However, If an individual’s gastritis symptoms are caused by the H. pylori bacteria, medication and treatment are required to ensure proper recovery.

    gastritis healthy food - Gastritis : Causes, Symptoms, Dignosis and Treatment

    What Foods Help Ease Gastritis?

    Foods that help with gastritis symptoms are those that help reduce and control the amount of acid in the stomach. These foods are often high in fiber and can include:

    • Asparagus
    • Bananas
    • Melons
    • Nuts
    • Celery
    • Brown rice
    • Oatmeal
    • Carrots
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Yogurt
    • Milk
    • Ginger
    • Apple cider vinegar

     gastritis causes symptoms 1 - Gastritis : Causes, Symptoms, Dignosis and Treatment

    Are there lifestyle improvements I can make that will help?

    • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
    • Follow the diet prescribed by your gastroenterologist or nutritionist. Avoid any food or drink that can irritate your stomach and high in acid
    • Keep a journal of foods that trigger symptoms
    • Avoid drinking alcohol
    • Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco
    • Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
    • Exercise regularly at least 3 x week
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Learn healthy ways to manage stress.

    Colon Cancer Risk Factors Prevention infographic 120x300 - Gastritis : Causes, Symptoms, Dignosis 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.