Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for category: Gastroenterologist

By GASTROINTESTINAL ASSOCIATES, INC
August 22, 2019
Category: Gastroenterologist
Tags: Colonoscopy  

Need a colonoscopy? A colonoscopy is a necessity for almost everyone at some point in life. A colonoscopy is an examination used to colonoscopydetect abnormalities or changes in the colon and rectum. Typically, gastroenterologists, or doctors who specialize in the gastrointestinal system, perform a colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is the gold standard screening method for colorectal cancer. Gastro-Intestinal Associates, Inc., which is located in Lima, OH, appointments for colonoscopy services. Read on to learn about the importance of colonoscopies.

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is an examination performed by your doctor in Lima, OH, that visualizes the entire length of the colon and rectum using a colonoscope. A colonoscope is a tube with a camera attached on the end to give direct visualization of the colon and rectum. Anesthesia is typically administered through an IV during the test. We use Propofol as anesthesia to provide a better experience for the patient. The entire procedure from start to finish usually takes only a few hours. You will receive the results of this exam within a week of your procedure.

Why are colonoscopies done?

Your physician may recommend a colonoscopy to investigate gastrointestinal symptoms. A colonoscopy can help your doctor explore possible causes of internal bleeding, constipation, abdominal pain, and other intestinal problems. If you're age 50 or older, your healthcare provider may recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years or sooner to screen for colon cancer. This screening can also help find precancerous polyps and remove them before they turn in to cancer.
 

Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer typically affects older adults, though it can happen at any age. Some individuals have a very high risk of colorectal cancer. They have a specific gene mutation that predisposes them to develop polyps. But average people can also be at higher risk, especially if they partake in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Lifestyle risk factors for colorectal cancer include obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, high alcohol intake and a low-fiber, high-fat diet.

How often do I need to be screened?

Screening guidelines for colorectal cancer recommend routine screening once every ten years, starting at age 50 if you're at average risk level. However, if you have risk factors, such as a family history of colorectal cancer, it’s important that you speak with your healthcare provider about your personal screening needs. If you have known risk factors, you may be advised to begin screening at a younger age and more often. You also may need to be screened more often if polyps or other abnormalities are found during a colonoscopy.

Being proactive with your health can save your life! Screenings, colonoscopies and early detection of abnormalities can prevent serious diseases. Don't delay- call Gastro-Intestinal Associates, Inc. at (419) 227-8209 today to schedule a consultation in Lima, OH. By getting the right health care services, screenings, and treatments, you're maximizing your chances of living longer!

By GASTROINTESTINAL ASSOCIATES, INC
May 28, 2019
Category: Gastroenterologist
Tags: Fecal Incontinence  

If you’re having trouble with your bowels, our digestive specialists in Lima, OH, can help.

We know this isn’t the most comfortable issue to discuss but it’s important that you don’t just ignore the current bowel issues you are having. There are many reasons why someone may be dealing with fecal incontinence and the goal of our Lima, OH, gastroenterologists is to give you the answers you need. Don’t be afraid to speak up about your health; we are used to dealing with and treating a wide range of bowel problems.

What does fecal incontinence mean?

If you are dealing with fecal incontinence this means that you may not be able to make it to the bathroom in time or that you may experience bowel leakage when passing gas.

What can increase someone’s risk for dealing with fecal incontinence?

While many people assume that this is a problem that only affects people as they get older, patients of all ages have been treated by our Lima, OH, digestive doctors for fecal incontinence. Problems and symptoms that could increase your chances of dealing with fecal incontinence include:

  • Nervous system injury or disease
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Childbirth
  • Rectocele (when the front wall of the rectum presses on the vaginal wall)
  • Stress
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Pelvic floor disorders
  • Issues that affect the nerves of the digestive tract

As you can see, there is a wide range of issues that could impact or affect your digestive system, which can lead to fecal incontinence. Fortunately, many of these issues can easily be managed through lifestyle changes and medication.

How is bowel dysfunction managed?

How our gastroenterologists decide to treat your fecal incontinence will depend on the root cause. For example, if this is a symptom of a chronic health problem like diabetes or multiple sclerosis we will want to make sure that you are getting the proper medication you need to manage this condition, which in turn can improve bowel health. Common ways to manage your fecal incontinence include:

  • Exercises: this includes Kegel exercises, which can improve the pelvic floor muscles
  • Dietary changes: this includes options like increasing fiber intake daily and staying properly hydrated
  • Medications: this includes everything from simple OTC fiber supplements to medications to control diarrhea or to treat chronic conditions that affect your bowels
  • Electrical stimulation: this treatment can stimulate the nerves and improve muscle control
  • Surgery: in rare cases, surgery is necessary when the muscles or nerves of the digestive tract require repair

If you are dealing with changes in your bowel health or other symptoms that aren’t improving then it’s time to call Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, today to schedule an evaluation.

By GASTROINTESTINAL ASSOCIATES, INC
March 21, 2019
Category: Gastroenterologist
Tags: Colonoscopies  

Have you had your screening colonoscopy? If you are age 50 or older, you should. At The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio in colonoscopyLima, OH, your team of seven board-certified gastroenterologists provide the best of diagnostic and treatment skills all in a safe, comfortable, and state-of-the-art environment. Learn more about colonoscopy and why it's so important.

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure which looks for polyps, colorectal cancers, reasons for chronic diarrhea, Crohn's disease, ulcers, and more. Performed with benefit of conscious sedation, your Lima, OH, gastroenterologist inserts a lighted scope with attached camera into the rectum and through the entire length of the bowel. The doctor looks for polyps and other irregularities and takes still images and real time video.

The pre-op preparation for a colonoscopy involves cleansing the colon with copious amounts of laxatives and consuming a clear liquid diet the day before the test. Then, the day of the examination, you'll be sedated and lie on your side as the doctor examines the colon with the flexible scope. Your doctor may take tissue samples for analysis as needed.

The entire procedure lasts about three-quarters of an hour. The physician will review your results with you in the recovery room, and you'll be driven home by a friend or relative.

Why is a colonoscopy important?

The American Society of Clinical Oncology says that colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the US. It affects both men and women, and incidence rises with age.

When colon cancer is detected in its earliest forms and has not spread beyond the original site, cure rates are high. Five-year survival rates, however, drop when malignancies have spread to other organs in the body.

Additionally, when there is a family history of colon cancer, this important screening procedure should begin even before age 50. Your primary care physician, in consultation with the experts at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio, will help you determine when your screenings should start and at what intervals you should have them.

Find out more

Knowledge really is power, and when you know what is happening in your colon, you can do something about it. Call (419) 227-8209 to learn more about colonoscopies and to schedule an appointment at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio in Lima, OH.

By GASTROINTESTINAL ASSOCIATES, INC
February 22, 2019
Category: Gastroenterologist
Tags: Abdominal Pain  

Are you experiencing abdominal pain?

Colon cancer affects thousands of Americans each year, with more than 95,000 people being diagnosed with the condition in 2016 alone, Colonoscopyaccording to the American Cancer Society. One of the best ways to detect colon cancer is by visiting your Lima, OH, doctor for a video capsule endoscopy.

Here's some more information about endoscopies.

 

Video Capsule Endoscopy Screening:

A video capsule has a small camera that's swallowed by patients. It flows through their digestive system to show your doctor if there's anything to worry about. The camera is a wireless piece of technology that transmits several pictures using a small recording device. Your doctor then downloads these images to examine if there are potential tumors or other any sources of bleeding or abdominal pain.

It's a painless and non-invasive procedure that helps people detect early stages of cancer and is recommended for adults ages 50 to 75, according to the CDC.

In addition to colon cancer screening, this procedure detects:

  • Polyps
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease)
  • Ulcers
  • Tumors in the small intestine

 

Other Colon Cancer Symptoms

Unexplained weight loss and abdominal pain aren't the only symptoms—there are some others that aren't always obvious. Here are the signs that you need to visit your doctors in Lima:

  • Bowel Habit Changes: Continuous constipation or diarrhea for more than four weeks may be a sign of cancer
  • Fatigue: Colon cancer results in patients feeling weak and fatigued
  • Incomplete Evacuation: If you are experiencing constant bowel movements, even if you've just had a bowel movement, then see your doctor right away
  • Blood in Your Stool: Hemorrhoids are usually accompanied by blood in stool, but blood may also be a sign of a more serious condition

 

How to Schedule an Appointment

If you would like more information on endoscopies and how they can help you, don't hesitate to contact the doctors at Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH. Dial (419) 227-8209 to schedule an appointment today!

By GASTROINTESTINAL ASSOCIATES, INC.
November 09, 2018
Category: Gastroenterologist
Tags: Colonoscopy  

We all know that doctors recommend routine colonoscopies beginning at age 50. This painless, minimally-invasive test screens for colon Colonoscopy Consultationcancer, 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
  • Hemorrhoids
  • 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.

Contact us

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!

By Gastro-Intestinal Associates, Inc.
October 25, 2018
Category: Gastroenterologist

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.