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All About Colonoscopy and Why is it Recommended?

All About Colonoscopy and Why is it Recommended?

Our goal at GIDOCJHB is to deliver prompt access to appointments, diagnostic services, and procedures that are tailored to your requirements.

Dr. Schneider is conveniently located at Milpark hospital and provides an innovative, quality-driven and patient-focused service from initial consultation, careful diagnosis, therapy, and advanced colonoscopy. 

We pride ourselves on communication, accessibility, quality, and care.

At Gi Doc Johannesburg, we are dedicated to providing excellent, efficient and affordable care. 

To achieve this, we strive to continually improve our practice through patients’ feedback, research, and innovation. 

colonoscopy procedure johannesburg - All About Colonoscopy and Why is it Recommended?

What Happens During a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a quick and painless procedure, usually around 30 minutes long, that allows for the full examination of the entire inner lining of a patient’s bowel (colon and rectum).

During the procedure, a gastroenterologist uses an instrument called the colonoscope to perform a colonoscopy.

It is a long, thin, flexible (the scope bends) fiberoptic camera that allows the specialist to visualize the entire colon. 

With this thin instrument, the gastroenterologist spends most of the time looking for changes to the normal landscape of your bowel lining and removes anything that looks suspicious, like growths called polyps. 

Polyps can be detected and removed before they develop into bowel cancer during a colonoscopy, and bowel cancer, if present, can be diagnosed. 

The patient will be sedated and laid on the side with the knees tucked forward. 

Air is then used to slightly inflate the colon to straighten out the colon lining, allowing the gastroenterologist to carefully examine it with the colonoscope. 

The colonoscopy is typically performed while you are under a general anesthetic.

 

Why a Colonoscopy is Performed

A gastroenterologist may recommend a colonoscopy to:

A colonoscopy is one of the most effective methods to evaluate abnormalities within the bowel, including cancer, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, pus or mucus in the stools, inflammation, rectal bleeding, unexplained abdominal pain, polyps, and other intestinal problems.

Everyone over the age of 50 who is at average risk of colon cancer should get a colonoscopy once every 10 years. 

If you’re at an increased risk, you may need more frequent procedures.

 A diagnostic colonoscopy is also recommended if you experience symptoms suggestive of bowel cancer for two weeks or more, or if you receive a positive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) result.

 

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Risk Factors

Generally, a colonoscopy is a very safe procedure and poses few risks. Rarely, complications of a colonoscopy may include;

  • A reaction to the sedative
  • Bleeding from the site where a tissue sample (biopsy) was taken or a polyp or other abnormal tissue was removed
  • A tear in the colon or rectum wall (perforation)

After discussing the risks of colonoscopy with you, your doctor will ask you to sign a consent form authorizing the procedure.

 

preparing for colonoscopy - All About Colonoscopy and Why is it Recommended?

How Do I Prepare for a Colonoscopy?

To have a successful colonoscopy, you must have a clean colon. 

Your gastroenterologist will give you instructions for a “bowel prep.” You must have a clear liquid diet for 24 to 72 hours before your procedure.

The typical bowel prep diet includes:

  • Coffee
  • Broth
  • Water
  • Sports drinks

Your gastroenterologist may give you a laxative to take the night before your appointment. 

They’ll likely advise you to use an enema to flush out your colon the day of the procedure. 

Make sure not to drink any liquids containing red or purple dye because they can discolor your colon.

More about preparing for a colonoscopy.

 

What if the Colonoscopy Shows Something Abnormal?

If your gastroenterologist thinks an area needs further evaluation, he or she might pass an instrument through the colonoscope to obtain a biopsy (a small sample of the colon lining) to be analyzed. 

It’s important to remain calm even if you think the result will be negative. Your gastroenterologist will discuss what he saw with you once he accurately has a proper diagnosis.

 

after a colonoscopy - All About Colonoscopy and Why is it Recommended?

After a Colonoscopy

After the procedure, it is not uncommon for patients to experience some discomfort due to the air used to inflate the colon, but this tends to be mild and only temporary. 

Patients are often allowed to leave the hospital within a couple of hours. 

However, as it might take several more hours for the effects of the sedative to completely wear off, patients are usually advised to have someone accompany them by driving the patient home.

Unless otherwise instructed, you can return to your normal diet immediately after the colonoscopy. 

However, alcohol, driving, regular outdoor activities, and the operation of heavy machinery must be avoided until after 24 hours following the colonoscopy.

If your gastroenterologist removes tissue or a polyp during a biopsy, they’ll send it to a laboratory for testing. 

Your doctor will tell you the results when they’re ready, which is normally within a few days.

 

Long-Term Outlook After Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy procedures are generally very successful in terms of recovery time. 

Any abdominal bloating, pain and flatulence will resolve within a couple of days. 

These symptoms are caused by the gas that is pumped into the colon during the procedure. 

You will need to see your doctor again to discuss the results of your colonoscopy. Treatment depends on the diagnosis.

 

When to Seek Medical Care for Colonoscopy Complications

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

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

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

Severe abdominal pain

Heavy bleeding from the anus (rectum)

Vomiting

For more information contact GiDDoc Johannesburg.

 

The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Treating Gastrointestinal Diseases

The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Treating Gastrointestinal Diseases

At Gi Doc JHB, we know digestive problems can affect your quality of life. Dr. Schneider is dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive and personalized care for all patients.

We have the skills and resources to diagnose, treat, and manage the full range of digestive disorders in both children and adults.

Working closely with you and your primary care physician, board-certified gastroenterologist, Dr. Schneider will create a personalized plan tailored to your specific symptoms and needs.

Whenever possible, we opt for a non-invasive approach to care, from dietary and lifestyle changes to medications and nutritional therapy.

These techniques can often bring immediate relief from debilitating disorders.

We are a friendly and caring gastroenterology practice, treating patients in Johannesburg. We are dedicated to providing an outstanding quality of care and personal service.

Nutrition and intestinal function intimately complement each other. The chief purpose of the gut is to digest and absorb nutrients in order to maintain life.

In other words, diet is important for your digestive and overall health.

What you put in your stomach can make a difference in the health of your digestive system and be the difference between a healthy body and an unhealthy body.

For instance, some forms of gastritis are caused by drinking alcohol too often or too much at one time.

Avoiding some foods and beverages and eating others can help manage the condition.

For more information on the best foods for overall gut health, read this article.

 

 

diagnosing gastrointestinal illnesses - The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Treating Gastrointestinal Diseases

Diagnosing Gastrointestinal Illnesses

Patients may be referred to a gastroenterologist for chronic disorders.

Specialists may be able to help the patient determine how to adjust their lifestyle, diet, medications, or manage their ongoing symptoms.

 

Symptoms of GI Problems

There are many different kinds of GI problems that can occur.

These problems can develop when your gastrointestinal system isn’t able to function as it should, which can be due to issues with your diet or other pre-existing illnesses.

There is a strong link between the foods you eat and the way your gastrointestinal system digests these foods.

The first sign of problems in the digestive tract often includes one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Incontinence
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the belly
  • Swallowing problems
  • Weight gain or loss

 

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Treatment for GI Problems

Before any treatment can be effective, it is important that a correct diagnosis is made. This can be complicated by the fact that many digestive disorders have similar symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

In many cases that are not life-threatening, doctors will recommend short-term medication (sometimes just to relieve symptoms or clear an infection) or a change in dietary habits, before considering surgery.

Once a correct diagnosis has been made, treatment can begin. Here’s more about possible treatments for digestive disorders:

Identifying problematic foods and lifestyle choices:

Certain conditions are triggered by particular foods, for instance, spicy food increases the level of discomfort experienced by those with stomach ulcers or GORD.

Your gastroenterologist will take a careful look at your diet and lifestyle and also possible food intolerances that you may have, and advise on changes you could make to help relieve the symptoms of whatever digestive disorder you may have.

 

medication for gastrointestinal problems - The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Treating Gastrointestinal Diseases

 

Medication: 

 In the case of bacterial or parasitic infections, a short information guide of antibiotics may be prescribed.

Antacids could be recommended for heartburn, and pain medication (from over-the-counter painkillers to those only available on prescription) for abdominal pain caused by any of the digestive disorders.

Certain conditions may require long-term medication and vigilance as far as diet is concerned. Anti-nausea medication and anti-diarrhoeal medication is available from the pharmacy without a prescription.

 

Surgery:

Some digestive disorders constitute a medical emergency, such as appendicitis.

These are usually accompanied by acute abdominal pain, as in the case of an abdominal obstruction, or a ruptured organ. Gastrointestinal bleeding can also be life-threatening and can require immediate surgery.

 

Endoscoping Treatment: 

In cases of bleeding in the gastrointestinal systems, endoscopic treatment plays a major role in the diagnosis and management.

There are also endoscopic treatments available for reflux disease and achalasia, strictures in the gastrointestinal tract, removal of gall stones, etc.

 healthy eating and lifestyle - The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Treating Gastrointestinal Diseases

Healthy Diet/Nutrition Habits to Follow

Some healthy nutrition habits you can work on building for better GI health include the following:

  • Eat on a regular and consistent schedule rather than eating anytime you want or at random times of the day.
  • Eat foods with probiotics, such as yoghurt, to boost the number of healthy bacteria in your digestive system.
  • Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as beans, vegetables, and fruits, to keep your bowel movements regular.
  • Eat until you’re full, but stop there so you won’t overload your digestive system.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially warm liquids, that promote healthy digestion.

 

Food Habits to Avoid

Some of the food habits that you should avoid include the following:

  • Don’t eat your food fast, since slower eating supports better digestion.
  • Avoid eating too much later on at night, especially before bedtime.
  • Avoid taking a nap or going to bed right after you eat, since this also slows your digestive system.
  • Avoid having fruits with other foods, which can lead to bloating.

 

Special instructions:

  • Chew all foods slowly and thoroughly to a mashed potato consistency. The more you chew your food, the easier it will be for your body to digest the food.
  • Try to eat meals at regular intervals, i.e., eat every 3-4 hours. You should eat at least 3 meals a day.
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water every day.
  • Some people may continue to experience food sensitivities and may need to continue to avoid certain foods. If you cannot tolerate a food, avoid that food for a few weeks before you try it again.
  • Eating a variety of healthy foods is important for good health.

Acid Reflux – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment in Johannesburg

Acid Reflux – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment in Johannesburg

At GIDOC JHB we offer the treatment of GI disorders, including Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD.

We offer the latest, minimally invasive endoscopic procedures to diagnose and treat GERD and Barrett’s esophagus.

Dr. Schneider helps you to manage Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD through medication and diet and to prevent long-term complications, such as Barrett’s esophagus and esophagitis.

We do our best to give you thorough evaluations and effective treatments to ensure your speedy recovery.

Our patients’ health and well-being will always be our top priority.

We strive to improve your quality of life through our high-quality and compassionate care.

What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?

Acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition in which acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus and up to the throat, irritating lining tissues.

Everyone experiences reflux from time to time, and it is especially common in infants.

Occasional reflux doesn’t necessarily mean that a child has gastroesophageal reflux disease, but if you suspect your child does, it’s always best to schedule an appointment with a professional medical doctor to confirm.

More information can be found here

 foods causing acid reflux - Acid Reflux - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment in Johannesburg

What Causes Acid Reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when the muscle between your stomach and esophagus weakens.

When this muscle relaxes too often or for too long, acid refluxes back into the esophagus, leading to vomiting or heartburn.

There are many causes of acid reflux, most of them are lifestyle-related and include:

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

 

heartburn - Acid Reflux - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment in Johannesburg 

What are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux can affect children and adults in different ways. The most common symptom is heartburn, a burning chest pain that begins behind the breastbone and moves upward to the neck and throat.

It can last as long as two hours and is often worse after eating. Lying down or bending over can also result in heartburn. Most common symptoms could include:

  • Belching
  • Refusal to eat
  • Stomachache
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sour or bitter taste in the mouth, especially during the night
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Hiccups
  • Gagging
  • Burning in chest
  • Choking
  • Repeatedly feeling a need to clear the throat
  • Frequent cough
  • Coughing fits at night
  • Wheezing
  • Frequent upper respiratory infections (colds)
  • Rattling in the chest

Symptoms can improve within days of removing gluten from the diet.

However, you shouldn’t stop eating gluten until a diagnosis is made.

Removing gluten prematurely may interfere with test results and lead to an inaccurate diagnosis.

endoscopy in johannesburg - Acid Reflux - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment in Johannesburg 

How is GERD diagnosed/evaluated?

Your gastroenterologist will perform a physical examination and obtain a medical history.

If you experience classic symptoms of acid reflux disease without any troublesome complications, it may be relatively easy for your doctor to make an acid reflux diagnosis.

If your gastroenterologist suspects acid reflux or GERD, he or she may also use one or more of the following tests:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Upper GI (gastrointestinal) series
  • Endoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Esophageal manometric studies
  • pH testing

Treatment

The goals of acid reflux treatment are to reduce reflux, relieve symptoms, and prevent damage to the esophagus. For cases of mild acid reflux, lifestyle changes may be enough.

More severe cases may need prescription medication or surgery. Surgery is never the first treatment option for acid reflux or GERD.

Lifestyle changes include not smoking, not drinking alcohol, and not consuming fatty or greasy foods that irritate the esophagus. It is helpful to eat small meals throughout the day instead of large meals.

Eating a lot of food at one time increases the amount of acid needed to digest it. You should avoid eating before lying down after you eat. It is also recommended you should maintain a healthy weight and good posture.

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These additional steps may reduce reflux.

  • Don’t eat within 3 hours of bedtime. This allows your stomach to empty and acid production to decrease.
  • Don’t lie down right after eating at any time of day.
  • Elevate the head of your bed 6 inches with blocks. Gravity helps prevent reflux.
  • Avoid known trigger foods like chocolate, caffeine, mints or mint-flavored foods, spicy foods, citrus, and tomato-based foods. These foods decrease the competence of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
  • Lose excess weight. Overweight and obese people are much more likely to have bothersome reflux than people of healthy weight.
  • Stand upright or sit up straight, maintain good posture. This helps food and acid pass through the stomach instead of backing up into the esophagus.

If lifestyle changes do not work, it can be helpful to use an over-the-counter antacid. Antacids work by neutralizing the stomach acid and coating the stomach.

Antacids relieve symptoms rapidly, but only temporarily. If you need antacids for over two weeks, you should contact your gastroenterologist and discuss other appropriate treatments.

 

Acid Reflux – Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is it possible to prevent acid reflux?

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

Does everyone who has heartburn have acid reflux or GERD?

No. Reflux is only considered a disease when excessive amounts of reflux occur (pathologic reflux) causing frequent symptoms or tissue damage.

Can Ignoring persistent heartburn symptoms can lead to severe consequences?

The severity of heartburn is measured by how long a given episode lasts, how often symptoms occur, and/or their intensity.

Since the esophageal lining is sensitive to stomach contents, persistent and prolonged exposure to these contents may cause changes such as inflammation, stomach ulcers, bleeding and scarring with obstruction.

Persistent symptoms of heartburn and reflux should not be ignored. By seeing a gastroenterologist early, the physical cause of acid reflux and GERD can be treated and more serious problems avoided.

 

What Does a Gastroenterologist Do?

What Does a Gastroenterologist Do?

Dr Schneider is a board-certified gastroenterologist committed to providing high quality, cost-effective and personalized care. 

We are committed to ensuring that your experience with us is relaxed and worry-free, from consultation through recovery.

Dr Schneider spends most of his time listening to understand your concerns and responding with the best treatment options for you. 

With the help of our professional staff, we also follow up to make sure that problems are resolved and your health improves.

 

What Is a Gastroenterologist?

 

A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. 

Gastroenterologists have extensive training (often 5 to 6 years after medical school) in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), and biliary system (e.g., liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts). 

Gastroenterology is also a subspecialty of internal medicine. Gastroenterologists have a complete understanding of how the food moves inside our body, then through to the digestive tracts.

To find out more about Gastroenterologists in South Africa, visit SAGES

 

What Does a Gastroenterologist Do?

Gastroenterologists specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, management, and treatment of the following symptoms and conditions:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding in the digestive tract
  • Colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer
  • Constipation and diarrhoea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Diverticular disease
  • Polyps
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Heartburn
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Hiatal hernias
  • Gastritis
  • Liver disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Stomach upset, nausea, vomiting
  • Ulcers

Most people will initially make an appointment with their primary physician when suffering from a problem of the digestive tract, such as indigestion, diarrhoea, constipation, or rectal bleeding, especially if these symptoms start to interfere with their normal daily activities. 

Their physician may run some tests, and if no answers are found, the patient will typically be referred to a gastroenterologist.

 

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Training and Qualifications Required for a GI Doctor

 

Gastroenterologists earn an undergraduate degree before applying to medical school, which entails four years of training, followed by two to three years of a residency in internal medicine, and an additional three years of training in a gastrointestinal medicine fellowship.

 

 

What is the workplace of a Gastroenterologist like?

Gastroenterologists usually care for patients in an office or hospital setting, including nursing homes and outpatient surgical centres. 

They often serve as consultants to other physicians and may work in the research field.

 

Testing and Procedures

There are many kinds of tests or procedures a gastroenterologist may use. Some of the most common include:

  • Endoscopy: A procedure where your doctor inserts a flexible tube, with a light and camera on the end, into the digestive tract to view the inside of the digestive system. Endoscopy is a vital procedure for many people because of how many diseases and conditions it can help prevent before more serious and costly problems come up
  • Biopsy
  • Testing for GI motility disorders: These disorders include constipation, pH problems and issues ranging from the intestines to chest pain
  • Photodynamic therapy: For issues in the oesophagus
  • Sigmoidoscopies to evaluate blood loss or pain in the bowel
  • Anorectal function testing: For faecal issues or constipation
  • Colonoscopy
  • Polypectomy: Removal of polyps
  • Double balloon enteroscopy to examine the small intestine
  • Dilation: Stretching of certain areas in the intestinal tract which have become too narrow
  • Tumour removal
  • Ultrasound
  • Placement of tubes or ducts

 

 

What to Expect at Your First Visit to a Gastroenterologist?

 

Your gastroenterologist will begin by asking you about:

  • The symptoms you have been getting
  • Character
  • Duration
  • Relieving and worsening factors
  • Any previous tests and treatments
  • Risk factors
  • Other medical problems
  • Medications
  • Allergies
  • Social history

 

GI Doctors Can Assess Symptoms Without Surgery

 

The goal of GI doctors is to help their patients with gastrointestinal distress feel better. 

GI doctors are different to other surgeons and specialists in that they assess their patients’ symptoms first through consultation, then they may perform endoscopic procedures to further diagnose or treat GI problems, but the last resort is surgery.

 In addition to treating the above-listed disorders, gastroenterologists can perform colon cancer screenings (also known as colonoscopies).

 

Tips For Choosing a Gastroenterologist

 

 

1. Consider the Doctor’s Experience

When it comes to assessing your symptoms, performing tests or surgeries for your digestive disorder, the more experience your doctor has the better your results will likely be.

 Ask how many patients the gastroenterologist has treated with your specific condition or how frequently he or she performs the procedure you’re considering.

 

2. Know What Your Insurance Covers

Check your medical aid plan to determine the specific details of your coverage to pay the least out-of-pocket expenses. 

Contact the gastroenterologist’s office to verify acceptance of your particular plan.

 

3. Assess the Doctor’s Communication Style

During your first consultation, ask questions and discuss your treatment options and preferences. 

You want a doctor who listens to you, answers your questions in ways you can understand and respects your decisions.

 

4. Speed & Efficiency

You want a GI who is aggressive in solving health issues. If he/she sees a problem, he wants to fix it right away. He doesn’t wait until it gets out of control.

 

5. Assess Patient Satisfaction Surveys

 

Always check or ask your GI for testimonials and reviews given by past patients to know how your doctor has helped/performed with past patients. 

Reading these reviews provides an insight into how the doctor is pursuing his medical practice. 

Patient satisfaction is the most important aspect and these reviews will help you assess the office environment, wait times, and office friendliness. 

This will also give an insight if the patients trust the doctor!