We all know that doctors recommend routine colonoscopies beginning at age 50. This painless, minimally-invasive test screens for colon cancer, the third most deadly malignancy in the US, says the American Cancer Society. That being said, what are the signs that you need a colonoscopy? At Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, our team of seven board-certified gastroenterologists uses this test to uncover a wide range of intestinal problems. Read about them here.
What is a colonoscopy?
It's an in-office or in-hospital examination of the rectum and large intestine, or colon. Using a flexible, lighted instrument, the physician views the entire length of the colon, looking for structural abnormalities, ulcerations, polyps, and signs of cancer. The scope also allows the doctor to take still and real-time video images and to remove tissue for biopsy.
A colonoscopy in Lima requires special bowel preparation the day before the procedure. The regimen includes a clear liquid diet and laxatives to "clean out" the colon so the doctor obtains accurate and complete images.
Most colonoscopies take about 45 minutes and are performed with benefit of light sedation (such as Valium). Patients can respond to commands but often drop off to sleep during the test. In fact, they may remember little or nothing of the procedure the next day. After a brief stay in a recovery area, the patient must be driven home by an adult friend or relative.
Signs you may need a colonoscopy
Age is a factor, of course. Additionally, your primary care physician may ask you to have this test if you have:
- Cramping gas attacks
- Frequent diarrhea
- Blood in the stool
- Unexplained loss of weight
- Persistent fatigue
- Low red blood cell count
- Risk factors such as family history of colon cancer
- Persistent constipation
- Diverticular problems (an irritation of the lining of the intestine)
It's not difficult
In fact, most patients say the day-before preparation is the hardest part of a colonoscopy. However, the effort is worth it because colon screening saves lives and helps your gastroenterologist accurately diagnose and treat other abnormalities of the large intestine.
At Gastro-Intestinal Associates, your professional staff cares for many GI conditions and performs state-of-the-art diagnostics. Call them right away if your primary care physician wants you to have a colonoscopy. Call (419) 227-8209 for an appointment in Lima, OH, today!
National GERD Awareness Week is November 18-24. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, it is important to seek a medical diagnosis and treatment to make your holidays comfortable and symptom-free. Before sitting down to a big holiday meal, there are a few things to know about GERD.
Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the stomach contents, mostly gastric acid and other digestive contents flow back into the esophagus. Normally, the valve at the end of the esophagus opens to allow food to go into the stomach, and closes to keep the stomach contents from going into the esophagus. However, when the valve is not working well, the acid and contents may cause a chemical injury to the esophagus. GERD affects 20% of American adults on a weekly basis. 89% of GERD symptoms occur at night, resulting in trouble sleeping and poor quality of life. One may also experience coughing or difficulty swallowing. In addition, 40% of GERD people who are on treatment, experience breakthrough symptoms.
Over time, GERD can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition where the tissue that lines the lower esophagus changes and if not detected or treated, can develop into esophageal cancer. Risk factors of developing Barrett’s esophagus include chronic GERD , Obesity, smoking, and male gender. Early detection of Barrett’s can be performed by having an upper endoscopy procedure which can performed by a Gastroenterologist or Surgeon who performs upper endoscopies.
Cancer of the esophagus is one of the fastest growing and deadliest forms of cancer in the US today. At the time of diagnosis, esophageal cancer is almost incurable due to the late stage at detection. In 2018, the American Cancer Society has estimated that 17,290 new esophageal cancer cases will be diagnosed (13,480 in men and 3,810 in women). About 15,850 deaths will occur from esophageal cancer (12,850 in men and 3,000 in women).
People having heartburn frequently (2 or more times per week) should see a Gastroenterologist to discuss their individual condition and risk.
Don’t suffer with GERD, as it can be treated. Treatment may include lifestyle modification, medications, and surgery, or a combination of all of these. Enjoy your holidays and every day by providing treatment designed for you.
Dr. Jason Bowersock and Dr. Jayde Kurland
Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center Heartburn Care
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), also known as heartburn, is the most common gastrointestinal complaint for Americans. In fact, one in five people in the US suffer from GERD.
Reflux is caused by a weak muscle at the end of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter. This weak muscle allows acid and bile to flow back from the stomach into the esophagus causing damage to the lining of the esophagus, throat and lungs.
Common treatment plans for reflux include lifestyle modifications, dietary restrictions and medications. Twenty million people in the US are on medications such as proton pump inhibitors (antacids) for GERD. However, 38% of these people still have significant lifestyle altering symptoms and 10-15% will go on to develop Barrett’s esophagus. This causes a 40 times greater risk of developing esophageal cancer, which is currently the fastest growing cancer in the US. Medications may help symptoms, but do not stop the progression of the disease nor decrease the rate of esophageal cancer. Long-term medication use may also cause side effects such as fractures, heart disease, kidney damage and dementia. Some studies demonstrate an increased rate of esophageal cancer with long-term medication treatment even in patients with improved symptoms.
In the past, surgical intervention for GERD included the Nissen fundoplication. This involves wrapping the upper portion of the stomach around the lower end of the esophagus by stitching it in place hence, re-enforcing the closing function of the lower esophageal sphincter. The fundoplication is a good operation for preventing reflux, but there are possible side effects and concerns for long-term durability.
The LINX procedure is now available for GERD treatment. It is a revolutionary solution for eliminating symptoms and reducing progression of disease. LINX is a small flexible ring of magnets that opens to allow food and liquid down the esophagus, then closes to prevent stomach contents from moving back up into the esophagus. The purpose of the LINX is to reinforce the weak lower esophageal sphincter without compressing the esophagus. Placement of the LINX is performed by a minimally invasive procedure and often the patient goes home within 24 hours on a normal diet. LINX insertion does not require alteration of the stomach and side effects are improved compared to the fundoplication. The ring of magnetic beads can be easily removed however the LINX is designed to be a lifelong implant that controls symptoms and reflux permanently. This allows the patient to stop the use of heartburn related medications, decreasing future risks and improve overall quality of life.
If you are interested in learning more about surgical intervention, including LINX, for GERD or to see if you are a potential candidate please call Mercy Health - St. Rita’s Heartburn Care at 419-996-5918.
You're approaching 50, and yes, it's time for your first colon cancer screening at Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH. You have questions, and your gastroenterologist will be happy to answer them. Before you schedule your appointment, feel free to read answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about this innovative, safe and life-sparing procedure so you are fully informed about your test.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure which inspects the entire length of the colon, or large intestine. It looks for abnormalities of the colon, such as polyps, cancerous lesions and diverticulosis.
How is the procedure performed?
At Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, the board-certified gastroenterologist uses a thin, flexible and lighted tube to introduce a small camera into the intestine. The camera yields real-time video and still images of pertinent areas of the colon. Because the scope is equipped with special attachments, your physician can take samples of tissue for biopsy and also remove small benign and precancerous lesions known as polyps.
A comfortable test, a colonoscopy requires that the patient be sedated and relaxed. Special medication ensures the patient feels no discomfort and is easily awakened if he or she naps during the procedure. In its entirety, a colonoscopy takes about 45 minutes.
Is there special preparation beforehand?
Yes, there is, and patients report that the "prep" really is the hardest part of a colonoscopy. The day before the examination, the individual has only a clear liquid diet and also must "clean out" his or her bowel with special cathartics (laxatives) and copious amounts of water. A clean large intestine is critical to obtaining clear images of the internal mucosa.
What's the recovery period?
After a colonocopy, the person enters a recovery area to allow the sedation to wear off. This takes about 30 minutes, and the patient may return home. A responsible adult must accompany the individual as no driving is allowed for 24 hours.
When will I get results on my test?
Your gastroenterologist will review findings with you after your procedure when you are in recovery. If the doctor removed tissue for biopsy, you can call the office within a few days for results.
How often do I need a colonoscopy?
Beginning at age 50, most people undergo colonoscopies every 8 to 10 years if their tests reveal no polyps or other issues. If the doctor discovers and removes polyps, and they prove benign, he or she may want the person to have the next test in five years. With Crohn's Disease, or if a patient has a first degree relative with colon cancer, that interval may shorten, or routine screening may begin five to 10 years earlier.
Have peace of mind
That's another great benefit of colonoscopy. If you're approaching that big birthday (50) or if it's time for your next colonoscopy, please contact Gastro-Intestinal Associates to schedule your test. Call (419) 227-8209.
That intense burning feeling has started. Your doctor tells you to track your symptoms--when they start, how long they last and what, if anything, helps. When you talk again, he says you may have GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and says you should speak to a gastroenterologist at Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH. This team of board-certified physicians sees GERD frequently, can precisely diagnose it and can give you a treatment plan to control it.
Just what is GERD?
It's heartburn, that feeling in your chest that happens after a heavy meal or when you consume fatty, spicy foods. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, about 15 million people in the United States experience the backflow of their stomach contents into the esophagus, or food pipe, resulting in symptoms of:
- Stomach pain
- Heartburn pain in the center of the chest
- Regurgitation of the stomach contents into the mouth
- Coughing and hoarseness
- Sore throat
Reasons for GERD
Why does GERD happen? Basically, the top portion of the stomach moves up through the diaphragm, creating what your gastroenterologist in Lima calls a hiatal hernia. The musculature around the bottom of the esophagus (the esophageal sphincter) becomes incompetent and allows stomach contents to move back up through the food pipe.
In addition, some lifestyle issues seem to precipitate symptoms. They are:
- Consumption of a lot of spicy, fatty, and acidic foods
- Being overweight or pregnant
- Doing a lot of heavy lifting
Advancing age can factor in because as years advance, gastrointestinal muscles become laxer.
The first step in treatment is consultation at Gastro-Intestinal Associates. Your GI doctor will review your symptoms and may wish to perform an endoscopy, an examination of the esophagus and stomach via a small lighted tube. This flexible tube transmits live pictures of the interior of the GI tract as your doctor looks for structural abnormalities (such as a hiatal hernia) and inflammation.
Fortunately, Gastro-Intestinal Associates has a fully-equipped and nationally-recognized endoscopy unit which performs these procedures in-house. Other possible tests include an upper GI series of X-rays and esophageal manometry which evaluates the muscular function of the esophagus.
With a positive diagnosis of GERD, your doctor may recommend medications such as H2 Blockers (Zantac) or Proton Pump Inhibitors (Prilosec). Other common recommendations are:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Limiting consumption of caffeinated beverages, chocolate, and spicy and fatty foods
- Avoiding heavy meals (smaller, more frequent portions are better) and eating right before bedtime
- Wear looser clothing
While surgery can correct a hiatal hernia, this kind of invasive treatment is not preferred as a first choice.
Do you have GERD?
Find out for sure, and learn how to manage it with precise, compassionate care from the experts at Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH. Contact the office team today for a consultation: (419) 277-8209.
Do you need to visit your Lima gastroenterologist?
Are you having difficulty using the bathroom? Is there blood in your stool? If so, then you may be suffering from hemorrhoids. They are painful and frustrating to manage because of where they are located and result from increased pressure in the rectal area. Learn more with Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH.
Hemorrhoids are veiny lumps that develop near a person's anus due to frequent pressure. There are two types of Hemorrhoids, external, which are found outside of the anal opening, and internal, which are found inside of the anal opening. Both, nevertheless, are painful and require a gastroenterologist for proper diagnoses and treatment.
Anyone can get hemorrhoids, although it's more prevalent as people age. Other people susceptible to hemorrhoids are pregnant women, people who strain or push hard during bowel movements, people sitting in uncomfortable positions for a long time, and overweight individuals.
It's important to keep an eye out for symptoms, especially that they vary from one person to another. So if you're suffering from rectal pain, itching, mucus, and/or bleeding, then contact your Lima gastroenterologist as soon as possible.
The doctor will first examine you to diagnose whether or not you have hemorrhoids. Then they'll develop the best treatment options for your situation. They may prescribe over-the-counter medicine or prescribed hemorrhoid cream to reduce swelling, place bands at the protrusion to slowly decrease hemorrhoid size, or perform surgery to remove the hemorrhoids and staple tissue which will prevent future hemorrhoid formation around the anus.
There are other methods to help you deal with hemorrhoid pain, such as sitting in a bath of warm water for about half an hour, avoiding hard surfaces while sitting (using a pillow, or doughnut), lay down on your side instead of sitting, eating food high in fiber, and exercise more frequently.
If you have any questions or concerns, call Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, at (419) 227-8209 for more information.
Abdominal pain is a common complaint that can be caused by anything from a virus to lactose intolerance to appendicitis. The gastroenterologists at the Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, share information on several common causes of the pain and explain when you should call the doctor.
Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
GERD occurs when strong stomach acids flow into your esophagus, irritating the sensitive lining. Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD, but everyone who has heartburn doesn't necessarily have heartburn. If you experience heartburn at least two times per week or severe heartburn at least once a week, you may have the disorder. Other GERD symptoms include bad breath, nausea, hoarseness, cough, belching, difficulty swallowing, asthma, or an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Lactose intolerance affects 65 percent of the world's population, according to Genetics Home Reference. Nausea, cramping, bloating, gas and diarrhea, and other symptoms occur because you can't digest lactose, a sugar present in dairy products.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome can cause cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation. Symptoms often occur suddenly, spurring a mad dash to the restroom. You may be more likely to develop IBS if you're female, had a severe gastrointestinal infection or experienced traumatic events in the past.
Gallstones can cause severe pain in the center or upper right portion of your abdomen. Other symptoms include pain between the shoulder blades or in the right shoulder, nausea, and vomiting. You may be at increased risk of developing gallstones if you're female, 40 or older, overweight, have diabetes or regularly eat foods high in cholesterol or fats.
Inflammatory bowel disorders
Inflammatory bowel disorders, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, not only cause abdominal pain and unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms but may also damage your digestive tract. Symptoms of the disorders can include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, weight loss, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
When should I see a gastroenterologist?
Schedule an appointment with our Lima office if you experience abdominal pain that worsens or lasts more than a week, whether it's constant or intermittent. A visit is also a good idea if any of these symptoms occur in addition to pain:
- Frequent heartburn
- Bloody bowel movements
- Difficulty controlling bowel movements or a change in your habits
- Excessive belching or gas
- Appetite loss or unintentional weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent diarrhea
- Joint pain
If you experience severe pain, especially if it's accompanied by a fever, make a trip to the emergency room.
Don't ignore your abdominal pain. Schedule a visit with the gastroenterologists at Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, by calling (419) 227-8209.
Hemorrhoids are usually a result of increased pressure in the rectal area, and are more common as people get older, according to the Harvard Health Publishing, which is why visiting your Lima, OH, gastroenterologist is vital.
Here are some frequently asked questions:
1. What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are lumps that develop near the anus. The veiny lumps are hard to manage since they are located in an area used frequently.
There are two types of Hemorrhoids, external, which are found outside of the anal opening, and internal, which are found inside of the anal opening. Both, nevertheless, are painful.
2. How do people get hemorrhoids?
Anyone can get hemorrhoids due to increased pressure during,
- Being overweight
- Straining during bowel movements
3. What are symptoms of hemorrhoids?
Symptoms vary from one person to another but may include:
- Rectal pain
- Itching, bleeding
Internal hemorrhoids include symptoms of blood, or mucus, in your stool.
External hemorrhoids include symptoms of seeing or feeling bulges in the anal area.
4. What are some hemorrhoid treatments?
Your Lima gastroenterologist will first examine your situation and conclude whether you have hemorrhoids. Then, depending on your specific situation, they will provide:
- Over-the-counter or prescribed hemorrhoid cream to reduce swelling
- Place bands at the protrusion to decrease hemorrhoid size slowly
- Perform surgery, hemorrhoidectomy, where they remove and staple tissue to prevent hemorrhoid formation around the anus
5. Are there other treatments?
You can manage hemorrhoid pain using natural solutions. Here are some tips:
- Sitting in a bath of warm water for about a half an hour
- Avoid sitting on hard surfaces, use a pillow or doughnut instead
- Avoid sitting down if possible, instead lay down on your side
- Avoid straining when using the restroom
- Eat food that is high in fiber and exercise more frequently to prevent constipation
If you have any questions or concerns, call your doctor in Lima, OH, at (419) 227-8209 for more information.
What your gastroenterologists in Lima, OH want you to know
Diverticulosis is a common condition diagnosed in over 200,000 people each year. It is most common in people over 40 years old. Your gastroenterologists at Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH want to share what you need to know about this common condition.
Diverticulosis occurs in your colon and is characterized by small pouches pushing out of weakened spots in your colon wall. They are often found in the lowest part of your colon, called the sigmoid colon. Diverticulosis can be diagnosed by a doctor through imaging and lab tests.
You may or may not have symptoms with diverticulosis. If you do have symptoms, you might experience:
- Changes in bowel habits
- Pain or cramps in your abdomen
- Bloating, constipation or diarrhea
If the pouches, known as diverticula become inflamed, you may experience acute pain, resulting in a condition known as diverticulitis. You may also have blood in your stool.
There are some things you can do if you have diverticulosis, but it’s important to discuss changes to your diet or supplements with your doctor before you begin. Your doctor may suggest:
- Taking probiotics
- Taking fiber supplements Citrucel or Metamucil
- Slowly increasing the intake of fiber in your diet by eating apples, pears, raspberries, prunes, high-fiber cereals, peas or mixed vegetables
Your gastroenterologist may also recommend medications including mesalazine to reduce symptoms, or an antibiotic like rifaximin.
If you develop diverticulitis, your gastroenterologist may prescribe antibiotics and recommend that you rest. It’s also helpful to have a liquids-only diet for a few days. Introduce solid foods gradually to prevent increasing symptoms. For severe cases of diverticulitis, you may have to stay in the hospital and receive intravenous antibiotics.
Although diverticulosis can go unnoticed, it can also develop into diverticulitis, a very painful condition. Your gastroenterologists at Gastro-Intestinal Associates can treat diverticulosis and other gastrointestinal conditions to get you back on your feet. For more information about gastrointestinal services call your gastroenterologists at Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH today!
Years ago, exploratory surgery was the only way to determine the cause of gastrointestinal complaints. Today, colonoscopies provide doctors with an up-close view of your large intestine without the need for surgery. The Lima, OH, gastroenterologists at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio share a few reasons why you might benefit from a colonoscopy.
Colonoscopies are an important cancer detection tool
Colon cancer rarely produces any symptoms until the cancer is at a fairly advanced stage. Unfortunately, it's much more difficult to treat at that point. During your colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist will examine the lining of your large intestine and lower part of your small intestine for polyps or other signs of cancer. Although polyps aren't necessarily cancerous, some of them may turn into cancer if they aren't removed during the procedure. Your doctor may also remove small tissue samples during the colonoscopy and stop bleeding with a heated probe.
Because your risk of cancer increases as you age, it's important to have your first colonoscopy at age 50, whether you're male or female. This year alone, more than 135,000 people in the U.S. will develop colon cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. If no problems are noted during your procedure, you can wait another 10 years for your next colonoscopy in Lima.
You'll be back to your usual activities quickly after your colonoscopy
Unlike some other diagnostic procedures, recovery from a colonoscopy is quick. Colonoscopies are usually performed using a sedative that wears off quickly when you wake up. In fact, you'll soon feel alert and will have no memory of the test. Although you may feel fine, you won't be able to drive for the rest of the day, due to concerns about the lingering effects of the sedative.
Colonoscopies give your gastroenterologist valuable information about your health
In addition to detecting colon cancer, colonoscopies are also used to find the cause of your gastrointestinal pain or other symptoms. A colonoscopy may be recommended if you experience chronic diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, changes in bowel movements and anemia.
Protect your health with a colonoscopy. Call the Lima, OH, gastroenterologists at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio at (419) 227-8209 to schedule your appointment.
Find out what could be causing your abdominal distress and how to handle it.
Dealing with abdominal pain is not only uncomfortable but it can be rather disconcerting as well. There are so many things that can lead to this discomfort that it’s nearly impossible to be able to tell what’s going on unless you visit one of our Lima, OH, gastroenterologists for answers. If you are currently dealing with abdominal pain, here is what might be causing it and when you should come in for a checkup.
- Stomach ulcers
- Food allergies (e.g. celiac disease)
- Food poisoning
- Menstrual cramps
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Kidney stones
- Ovarian cysts
There are many organs that make up the abdomen including the stomach, intestines, spleen, liver, gallbladder, and colon, so any of these organs could be in distress and causing you discomfort. Abdominal pain doesn’t always present the same way for everyone. You may only have minor discomfort while others may be in severe pain that makes it impossible to even stand up or move around.
If your abdominal pain lasts more than a day, this is probably your body trying to tell you that there is something more going on, whether it’s an infection or disorder. If you are dealing with severe abdominal pain, if you have a swelling in the abdomen, or if your abdominal pain is also accompanied by nausea, vomiting or fever, then it’s time to schedule an appointment at our Lima office right away.
If your symptoms persist for a few days then this is also a good time to give us a call. To ease your symptoms you may think it’s a good idea to take a painkiller, but these medications should be avoided, as they can sometimes make abdominal issues worse.
Gastrointestinal Associates in Lima, OH, is dedicated to providing you with the very best medical care possible. Whether you are dealing with abdominal pain or you need to schedule your routine colonoscopy, we are here to meet your needs.
Are you at the age in which you should be coming in for this colorectal screening?
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women. Since colorectal cancer can happen to anyone (even though there are certain factors that may increase your chances of developing this form of cancer) our Lima, OH, gastroenterologists recommend routine colonoscopies. Find out if it’s time you started to get this screening test.
What is the purpose of a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is the best way for our Lima GI doctor to be able to check the health of the colon to look for any changes, polyps or other issues that may signal that you have or may develop colon cancer. While there are other tests that can be performed, none are as accurate as being able to actually see and inspect the colon.
During a colonoscopy, a small flexible tube with a camera attached is inserted into the rectum and carefully guided into the colon (large intestines). The camera allows us to look for polyps, inflammation, bleeding or other problems that need to be addressed. If polyps are detected, we can also remove them during your colonoscopy.
Who should be getting a colonoscopy and how regularly?
While anyone can develop colorectal cancer, it seems that there are certain factors that may increase your chances of developing this cancer including:
- Being African-American
- Having a family history of colorectal cancer
- Having a personal or family history of precancerous polyps
- Being over the age of 50 (unless you are African-American, in which case you will want to start getting screened at 45)
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Consuming a diet high in processed foods and red meat and low in fiber
- Having Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or other inflammatory bowel problems
- Being overweight
- Using tobacco
- Heavy alcohol consumption
Once you turn 50 years old, you should be coming in for your first routine colonoscopy. If your colonoscopy results come back clean and healthy then we probably won’t need to do another one for 10 years. However, if you do have risk factors, we may need to repeat this screening more regularly.
If you need to schedule your colonoscopy then turn to the gastrointestinal specialists at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio for the diagnostic and preventive care you need to keep your gastrointestinal tract happy and healthy.
Find out if the unpleasant symptoms you are experiencing could be a sign of hemorrhoids.
Noticing blood when you wipe can be a rather disconcerting experience. While this embarrassing situation may have you feeling rather gun shy to share your symptoms, if you notice bleeding during a bowel movement then it’s time to call our Lima, OH, gastroenterologists to find out whether hemorrhoids could be the culprit.
What are hemorrhoids?
A hemorrhoid is an enlarged vein that is present in or around the anus. Hemorrhoids are either internal or external, but external hemorrhoids tend to be most common and often cause the most pain and discomfort.
What are the symptoms?
If you have hemorrhoids you may notice:
- Pain when having a bowel movement
- Intense anal itching
- Irritation on or around the anus
- A lump or swelling around the anus
- Blood when you wipe
While these symptoms may have you a bit concerned it’s always a relief to hear that hemorrhoids are not dangerous or serious and can easily be treated by our Lima GI doctors.
What can cause hemorrhoids?
While we still aren’t entirely sure why hemorrhoids happen it is speculated that they may be more likely to appear if you find yourself straining when having a bowel movement, if you sit for long periods of time or if you have a history of constipation.
What are my treatment options?
There are many ways to tackle your hemorrhoid issues to finally get relief including:
Sitz bath: Taking a warm soak in the tub for 15 minutes can help to provide relief from pain and itching. There are also over-the-counter pain-relieving ointments or, in more severe cases, we may prescribe a medication to help alleviate discomfort.
Good hygiene: In order for things to properly heal the last thing you want to do is exacerbate your condition. Stay away from toilet paper that is too rough and avoid using soap around the anus, which can dry out skin and leave it feeling irritated.
Get more fiber: A lot of people aren’t getting enough fiber in their diets, which can lead to issues with bowel movements. If this is the case, we will recommend taking enough fiber each day to help soften stools.
In instances where these at-home treatments don’t manage your symptoms, we may then recommend a medical procedure known as rubber band ligation, in which we place a small rubber band over the hemorrhoid to cut off circulation to the vein.
The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio in Lima, OH, is here to answer all of your questions and concerns about your gastrointestinal health. If you are noticing any changes it’s always a good idea to give us a call.
Gastroenterology is an important subset of medicine which can help you overcome your stomach issues with ease. However, a referral to this specialist may bring up all sorts of questions. Find out some frequently asked questions with The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio in Lima, OH.
What is a gastroenterologist?
A gastroenterologist is an internal medicine doctor who focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and conditions which affect the biliary system, small and large intestine, esophagus, and stomach. Gastroenterologists have a careful understanding of the digestive tract and digestion.
What does a gastroenterologist treat?
A gastroenterologist diagnoses and treats many symptoms and conditions, including:
- abdominal pains
- gallbladder disease
- liver disease
- unexplained weight loss
- diseases of the colon
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy, performed by a gastroenterologist, is a critical procedure which examines the inner lining and contents of your large intestine. A long, flexible tube inserted through the anus and into the colon allows your doctor to visually see these areas with the help of a tiny camera attached to the end. Additionally, doctors can thread special miniature tools to take biopsies or remove polyps. Colonoscopy procedures help find and treat colon cancer and act as a screening against the condition. Patients should begin having colonoscopy treatments at age 50 and have at least one colonoscopy a year.
What should I expect at a gastroenterologist appointment?
Appointments at your gastroenterologist’s office will vary from patient to patient. Depending on your symptoms and condition, your doctor may require different procedures or tests. The best way to understand what will happen at your specific appointment is to have a consultation with your gastroenterologist in Lima. There, your doctor can answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about your procedure, your symptoms, or your condition.
For more information on gastroenterology, please contact your doctor at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio in Lima, OH. Call (419) 879-3636 to schedule your appointment with your gastroenterologist today!
By Jayde Kurland M.D. FACG, AGAF, FACP.
Adenomas of the colon (large intestine) are a type of polyp that if not removed at an early stage can become cancerous. When planning for your colonoscopy, it’s important to be cautious in your search for a Gastroenterologist (GI) doctor. Some doctors find more polyps than others – and that translates into greater protection from cancer for their patients, so it’s important to select one who provides a minimum percentage of adenomas (a specific type of polyp).
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a thin, flexible instrument called a colonoscope to examine the lining of your colon (large intestine). A very small video camera is attached to the end of the colonoscope, providing direct examination of the lining where polyps and cancers develop.
This procedure is usually performed in order to screen for colon cancer and to diagnose the cause of rectal bleeding. It typically detects and allows for treatment of precancerous growths.
What is the adenoma detection rate (ADR)?
The effectiveness of a screening colonoscopy is crucial and can help with prevention and early detection of colon cancer.
The ADR represents the proportion of people undergoing a screening colonoscopy who have one or more adenomas detected. The recommended ADR target for a quality screening colonoscopy is now at least 25% in women and men.
A doctor’s ability to detect an adenoma – the most common type of polyp and the most common precursor of colon cancer – has been linked to the likelihood of the patient later developing colon cancer. The better the doctor is at detecting and removing precancerous growths, the lower their patient’s risk of developing colon cancer.
Any top Gastroenterologist should have an ADR greater than 25%. This number is now tracked in order to assure that quality examinations are being performed. ADR is a quality measure now being tracked by Medicare and commercial payers.
No single colonoscopy is guaranteed to have perfect polyp detection. But if a patient has only one polyp and it is not found during their screening colonoscopy, that patient is considered to not have polyps. Under normal recommendations, he or she would not have to return for their next colonoscopy for 10 years.
Even a small increase in ADR can have a significant impact. For every 1% increase in ADR over the target polyp detection rate, a patient’s risk of colon cancer falls by three times that or 3%, and their risk of death from colon cancer falls by 5%. Those doctors with high ADRs are providing their patients a higher degree of protection from cancer than an “average colonoscopy” in some cases up to 40%.
When should I undergo a colonoscopy?
For the most part, patients begin with screening colonoscopies at the age of 50. However, there are some relevant factors that could prompt a doctor to recommend a colonoscopy at an earlier age. These include:
Having a family history of colon cancer
Having a family history of adenomatous polyps
Having a history of inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
Having a history of smoking
Having type 2 diabetes
Being overweight or obese
It should be remembered that if you have bleeding you should not wait for a “screening” examination.
Where can I see a Gastroenterologist with a high adenoma detection rate in Lima?
Every doctor in Gastrointestinal Associates of Lima and the Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio has an adenoma detection rate which exceeds the 25% benchmark. It is important to note that the previous adenoma detection rate minimum was 15%.
We perform colon cancer screenings at the Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio, a state-of-the-art facility.
Quality differs among colonoscopists from different specialties other than GI as well. Make sure to ask your doctor what their ADR is?
A colonoscopy is a valuable screening tool that can help detect colon cancer during its earliest stages. The gastroenterologists at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio, located in Lima, OH, share information about colonoscopies and why you may need it.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy offers a way to view your large intestine and the first part of your small intestine without surgery. During a colonoscopy, a thin, lighted scope is inserted into your anus, and a miniature camera at the end of the scope sends images of the lining of your intestines to a digital screen. As your doctor passes the scope through your intestines, they examine the lining for polyps, tumors or signs of irritation and infection. Colonoscopies aren't just a diagnostic tool, your doctor can also remove polyps from the lining of your intestines during the procedure and take biopsies.
When are colonoscopies recommended by your Lima, OH gastroenterologists?
Colonoscopies are used to:
- Screen for Colon Cancer: If you're 50 or older, your doctor has probably recommended that you receive a colonoscopy. Fifty is the magic number because your risk of developing colon cancer increases as you age. Although some types of cancers cause symptoms in the early stages, colon cancer doesn't usually cause discomfort or other symptoms until it reaches the advanced stages. Screening colonoscopies detect cancer before worsening or spreading.
- Diagnose Diseases and Conditions: Do you experience frequent abdominal pain, bloating or other unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms? Colonoscopies provide valuable information that can help your doctor determine the cause of pain, chronic constipation or diarrhea, anemia, bleeding from the rectum, weight loss or changes in your bowel movements or habits.
- Remove Polyps: You'll never know if you have polyps without a colonoscopy. The clumps of cells grow on your intestinal lining and can be seen very easily during the screening test. Polyps may be benign, pre-cancerous or cancerous. If your doctor sees any polyps during your colonoscopy, he'll remove them and send them to a laboratory for testing.
Protect your health with a colonoscopy. Call The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio, located in Lima, OH, at (419) 227-8209 to schedule your appointment.
Abdominal pain that shows up out of the blue can seem rather alarming. Let our Lima gastroenterologists help you figure out what’s going on.
Abdominal pain can be disconcerting, especially if it seems to have come about out of nowhere. Whether your pain is severe or you’ve been battling abdominal pain for a while and just don’t know the cause, our Lima, OH GI team is here to help.
Some of the more common causes of abdominal pain include:
- Indigestion and gas
- Menstrual cramps
- Gallbladder inflammation
- Gallstones or kidney stones
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ovarian cyst, inflammation or torsion
- Urinary tract infection
- Food poisoning
- Gluten or lactose intolerant
Abdominal pain may be acute and appear suddenly or your symptoms may be chronic and last a while. While your pain may be alarming, not all abdominal pain is serious. Knowing the location, duration, pattern and other factors can help us determine the cause of your abdominal pain.
When should I visit a Lima, OH gastroenterologist?
It’s time you came into our office for care if you are experiencing any of the problems below:
- Abdominal pain that gets progressively worse
- Pain lasting more than six hours
- Severe pain
- Pain after eating or whenever you stop eating
- Pain accompanied by vomiting
- Abdominal pain when pregnant
- Pain that gets worse when moving around
- Pain that wakes you up at night
- Pain and vaginal bleeding when pregnant
- Pain and the inability to urinate or pass gas
- Pain that just feels different or concerning
When it comes to seeking treatment it’s always best to play it smart and see us if you have any concerns about your symptoms. Your health is of the utmost importance and we are here to provide you with the care you need.
The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio in Lima OH is here to tackle all of your GI problems, from abdominal pain to indigestion. Call our office today to schedule your next appointment. Don’t ignore abdominal pain; face the problem head on. We’re here for you!
Breath tests are usually associated with sobriety checks used by law enforcement during traffic stops on suspected drunk drivers. But in addition to measuring blood alcohol levels, breath tests are also used to help gastroenterologists diagnose and treat a number of digestive system symptoms and disorders.
Bacterial Overgrowth Diagnosis and Treatment in Lima, OH
Some amount of healthy bacteria is necessary to keep the digestive system functioning properly. When there is too much (or sometimes too little) bacteria, it can lead to issues ranging from discomfort, to problems with digestion, which can ultimately lead to other health problems.
A proliferation of bacterial growth in the small intestine leads to a condition known as SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). The most common symptoms of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine are:
- bloating and cramping
- weight loss due to malnutrition from the small intestine's inability to properly digest iron and other essential vitamins
- joint pain
- skin conditions (rashes, eczema, rosacea, and acne)
- lethargy and depression
Because many digestive and intestinal problems can have overlapping symptoms with other conditions, they are often misdiagnosed. An accurate diagnosis for the underlying cause of digestive problems is the first step in getting effective and lasting treatment and relief.
The gastroenterologists at Lima, OH based Gastrointestinal Associates, Inc. can determine whether a patient is suffering from SIBO with the Bacterial Overgrowth Breath Test. The test is minimally invasive and straightforward. The first step is to drink a liquid solution of sugar, followed by a standard breathalyzer test. The presence of bacteria in the breath test confirms whether there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Once a SIBO diagnosis has been confirmed, an individual treatment plan can be developed, the most common being dietary modifications and medication.
Find a Gastroenterologist in Lima, OH
For more information about testing and treatment for SIBO and other gastroenterology services, contact Gastrointestinal Associates, Inc. by calling 419-227-8209 to schedule an appointment today.
A colonoscopy gives your doctor a close-up view of your large intestine and part of your small intestine. This important test is used to screen for cancer and detect problems that can cause gastrointestinal issues. The gastroenterologists at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio, in Lima, are here to share a few reasons that you may need a colonoscopy.
How is a colonoscopy performed?
A miniature camera attached to a thin, flexible scope transmits images from the lining of your intestines to a computer screen during a colonoscopy. Your doctor inserts the colonoscope into your anus and gently moves it into the large intestine and lower section of the small intestine. Every inch of the intestines is examined.
Why do I need a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies are performed for several reasons, including:
Cancer screening: Screening colonoscopies are recommended at age 50. They will continue every 10 years following the first exam as long as your first test is normal. These screenings are particularly important because there are often no symptoms during the earliest stages of colon cancer. If you have certain gastrointestinal issues or had an abnormal exam in the past, your gastroenterologist may recommend that you have additional colonoscopies sooner than 10 years.
Polyp detection: During the colonoscopy, your doctor will search for and remove any polyps he or she sees. Polyps are small growths that may be cancerous or may eventually become cancerous if they're not removed.
Diagnosis of diseases and conditions: A colonoscopy can help your doctor find the source of your abdominal pain, constipation, chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, anemia, unexplained weight loss or changes in bowel habits.
Will do I need to do to prepare for a colonoscopy?
Your intestines must be completely empty for the best view of the intestinal lining. You'll take laxatives that will clear out your gastrointestinal tract and will be limited to clear liquids for two or three days before you have the test.
When will I get the results?
Your doctor can share preliminary results with you immediately after the colonoscopy. You'll receive a full report of his or her findings at your next appointment.
When it's time for your next colonoscopy, call The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio, in Lima, at (419) 227-8209 and schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. Protect your health with a colonoscopy!
With the steady rise in digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, and the accompanying symptoms, many Americans suffer from a potentially embarrassing but not uncommon condition known as fecal incontinence. Like urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence occurs when a person loses the ability to control their bowel movements before they have time to reach a bathroom. It can result in partial leakage of fecal matter, or complete involuntary emptying of the bowels.
While loss of bowel control can understandably cause a great deal of stress, anxiety, frustration, and have a negative impact on quality of life, affecting everything from the ability to work, to intimate and personal relationships, fecal incontinence is a medical condition that can be diagnosed and treated by a gastroenterologist (digestive system doctor).
Causes of Fecal Incontinence
Loss of bowel control can happen for several reasons. Some people may experience it occasionally during an episode of diarrhea. Chronic fecal incontinence occurs regularly and is caused by an underlying digestive problem, or muscle or nerve problems that affect the rectum. The gastroenterology team at the Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio in Lima diagnose and treat people for two types of incontinence - passive and urge incontinence. In the passive form, the person may be unaware that they need to have a bowel movement until it's too late. With urge incontinence, it comes on too suddenly to make it to the bathroom in time.
The main causes of the condition are:
- digestive conditions like Chron's disease/irritable bowel syndrome
- nerve damage from surgery to correct hemorrhoids or anal fissures
- inability of the rectum to properly stretch to accommodate passing stool
- rectal prolapse - a condition where the rectum drops down into the anus
- rectocele - when the rectum drops into the vagina
- muscle damage that results from chronic constipation, childbirth, or an injury
Treatment for Fecal Incontinence in Lima
The first step in finding a successful treatment is identifying the cause. Treatment options can range from medication to surgery to repair muscle and nerve damage. If you are suffering from poor bladder and bowel control and fecal incontinence, a gastroenterologist can help. Contact the Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio in Lima at (419) 227-8209 to schedule a confidential appointment today.
Find out what could be causing your abdominal pain and when to get medical attention.
Whether you’ve been dealing with abdominal pain for a couple days or it just started, this symptom can be a bit unnerving. Fortunately, our Lima, OH gastroenterologists are here at he Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio to make sure that you get the care you need to alleviate your symptoms and start feeling better quickly. Discover what could be causing your problems and what symptoms signal a trip to our office.
What exactly is abdominal pain?
People use the symptom abdominal pain to describe discomfort coming from many different organs--the intestines, the gallbladder, the stomach and the appendix. Generally, abdominal pain is pain that occurs between the chest and pelvic region. The pain also feels different for everyone, with some describing it as dull or cramps, while others may experience sharp, severe pain.
What could be causing my abdominal pain?
Since there are countless causes for this discomfort, the only way to truly determine the cause of your pain is to get it checked out by one of our Lima gastroenterologists.
Viral, parasitic, or bacterial infections can affect the organs in the abdominal region, causing discomfort and pain. There may also be changes to your digestion, including diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
Inflammation or diseases that affect abdominal organs can also cause pain. These organs include:
- Small and large intestines
Other abdominal pain causes include:
- Gastroenteritis (sometimes called the stomach flu)
- Acid reflux disease
- Kidney infection
- Crohn’s disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, it’s important that you see us right away as it could be a serious health issue such as:
- A ruptured organ
- Kidney stones or gallstones
- A kidney infection
Let the Lima, OH expert GI team at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio care for all of your intestinal-related issues. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
You are approaching 50, and it's time for your first screening colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure that looks for colon cancer and precancerous conditions. You understand that more than 50,000 American adults die from colon cancer annually; so the test is important. Yet, you worry about the procedure.
Dr. Mark Leitner MD, board-certified West Ohio gastroenterologist, has been in practice since 1985. He and his associate physicians at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio want their patients educated about and comfortable with the colonooscopy procedure. It definitely saves lives.
Three Myths about Colonoscopy
Colonscopy is painful. Veteran colonooscopy patients would tell you that a colonoscopy is basically painless. While some individuals may feel some bloating or light cramping during the 30 to 45-minute procedure, most feel nothing at all. Patients receive sedation before and during their tests to keep them relaxed and comfortable as the doctor inserts the lighted, flexible scope through the anus, rectum and colon. The physician looks at real-time images of the intestinal mucosa on the video monitor. After the procedure, patients often report little or no memory of their colonoscopy. The entire procedure, from entering the facility to leaving, takes 2 to 3 hours.
Additionally, Lima colonoscopies are very safe. Even minor post-operative bleeding is a rare complication. Bowel perforation happens in fewer than one percent of colonoscopies across the country. Dr. Leitner and his team diligently provide the safest and most comfortable environment and techniques possible.
Having a colon polyp spells cancer. This is not true. Physicians at the Cleveland Clinic state that 15 percent of women and 25 percent of men over 50 years of age have colon polyps at some point in their lives. Most of these growths, ranging in size from a pencil-point dot to a few inches in size, are completely non-cancerous. Some, however, may be pre-cancerous, but totally asymptomatic. That's why Dr. Leitner and the other gastroenterologists at The Endoscopy Center, remove polyps and test them for cancer. This procedure is called a "snare biopsy."
The pre-operative preparation is intolerable. In fact, the bowel cleansing necessary for a colonoscopy is easier now than it ever has been. Patients usually consume clear liquid diets the day prior to their procedures. Then, they drink water and laxative powders in the quantity prescribed to render the large intestine perfectly clean, facilitating good images during the tests. Rest assured your physician will prescribe the easiest regimen possible for you.
Then, contact The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio for your personal consultation with one of the physicians. Bring your questions about the colonoscopy and why it's so important. Call (419) 227-8209.
Welcome to the Blog of The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio
The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio would like to welcome you to our blog. Here you will find informative and useful postings about gastroenterology and our practice.
At The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio we believe that educated patients are better prepared to make decisions regarding the health of their digestive system. Our blog was designed to provide you with the latest gastroenterology developments and valuable health advice from our dedicated team.
The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio hopes you find our blog to be a great resource for keeping up to date with proper digestive health care and treatments.
We welcome all comments and questions.
-- The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio
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