Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for category: Gastroenterology

September 14, 2021
Category: Gastroenterology

Find out what happens if you ignore your GERD symptoms.

Have you been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? Do you deal with acid reflux two or more times a week but haven’t seen a doctor? Leaving GERD untreated can lead to chronic inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, which can alter the esophageal lining over time. These changes in the lining of the esophagus can progress into a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. It’s important that you turn to our Lima, OH, gastroenterologists early on before GERD has a chance to progress into this disorder.

What is Barrett’s esophagus?

When acid and bile from the stomach travel back up through the esophagus, it irritates the lining. Over time, if acid reflux isn’t properly controlled, this constant exposure of acid and bile can cause the lining of the esophagus to turn red, resembling the intestinal lining rather than the standard mucosal lining. While intestinal lining is certainly more durable it is also more likely to deal with cellular changes that could increase the risk for esophageal cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms of GERD?

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of GERD so you know when it’s time to turn to our Lima, OH, gastroenterologist for an evaluation. By treating GERD through medications and lifestyle changes we may be able to prevent Barrett’s esophagus from developing over time. Warning signs of GERD include,

  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Belching
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Persistent or recurring sore throat
  • Chronic cough
  • Regurgitation
  • Hoarseness

How is Barrett’s esophagus treated?

If you have had GERD for more than five years you must turn to our gastroenterologists every 3-5 years for Barrett’s esophagus screenings. The type of treatment options available to you will depend on your overall health, your age, the severity of your symptoms and whether or not you have dysplasia (abnormal cells). Medications such as proton pump inhibitors are commonly prescribed to prevent further damage to the lining of the esophagus.

If dysplasia is present, an endoscopic ablative therapy such as radiofrequency ablation or photodynamic therapy will be performed to kill the abnormal cells. Surgery or an endoscopic mucosal resection may also be necessary to remove affected areas of esophageal tissue.

If you are dealing with acid reflux regularly it’s important that you turn to our Lima, OH, gastroenterologist for answers. Call Gastrointestinal Associates at (419) 227-8209 to schedule an evaluation with our team of experts.

May 27, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Heartburn  

At Gastro-intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, our team of gastroenterologists see and treat a common digestive problem: heartburn. Also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, heartburn can, and should, be managed for better GI health.

The details on heartburn

If you have frequent heartburn, you're not alone. Approximately 60 million adults in the United States do, says the American College of Gastroenterology. Usually described as a burning pain behind the breastbone, GERD happens when stomach contents back up into the esophagus, resulting in:

  • Extreme discomfort after meals and at bedtime
  • Food entrapment in the esophagus
  • Bad breath
  • Chronic, hacking cough
  • Nausea and vomiting

Many heartburn sufferers have a hiatal hernia, a protrusion of part of the stomach through the diaphragm. Others experience heartburn repeatedly because of:

  • Smoking
  • A diet high in fats and acidic foods
  • Obesity
  • Tight clothes
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • A poorly functioning sphincter between the stomach and esophagus

Diagnosis and treatment of heartburn

Whatever the reason for your heartburn symptoms, you should investigate them to avoid more serious problems such as stomach ulcers or a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett's esophagus.

At Gastro-intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, your GI physician will review your heartburn symptoms and possibly do an endoscopic examination with a lighted tube and camera. It's important to visualize the interior of the upper GI tract to look for areas of erosion, bleeding or polyps which could be cancerous. The doctor can take tissue samples for biopsy as needed and also discover structural abnormalities, such as a hiatal hernia.

Your treatment plan for heartburn will fit your unique GI needs. The doctor may advise:

  • Losing weight
  • Quitting all tobacco products
  • Limiting your alcohol intake
  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals
  • Wearing clothing which fits loosely at the waist
  • Reducing the intake of spicy, fatty and acidic foods
  • Taking proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec), H2 antagonists (Pepcid) or antacids daily

Feel your very best

With the help of the caring team at Gasto-intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, you can manage heartburn for better GI health and overall well-being. For a consultation with one of our highly-qualified physicians, please call the office at (419) 227-8209.

April 10, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Acid Reflux  

How your gastroenterologists in Lima, OH, can help with acid reflux

Heartburn is a common, and generally innocuous, issue. However, if it does occur frequently, you might have acid reflux. Chronic acid reflux is a problem that can lead to damaged tissue in your esophagus. Fortunately, there are effective ways to find relief from this condition. The gastroenterologists at Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, offer a wide variety of gastrointestinal services, including treatment for acid reflux—read on to learn more.

More about acid reflux and its treatment approaches

Acid reflux is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and affects over 60 million people in the United States, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. The condition is caused by stomach acid flowing up from your stomach into your esophagus. When you have acid reflux, it means the sphincter muscle that closes off your esophagus isn’t working properly, so stomach acid can flow upward.

When you have acid reflux, you may experience:

  • Frequent sore throats
  • Frequent bad breath
  • Tooth sensitivity and erosion
  • Wheezing or dry coughing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest or abdominal pain

If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms listed above, you can try some simple remedies at home like these:

  • Taking over-the-counter antacids
  • Remaining upright at least 2 to 3 hours after eating
  • Avoiding eating right before you go to bed
  • Limiting or eliminating spicy foods from your diet
  • Eating small meals and avoiding large ones
  • Quitting smoking and losing weight
  • Avoiding exercises that press on your abdomen
  • Avoiding wearing belts

If you suffer from severe acid reflux, your gastroenterologist can help. At Gastro-Intestinal Associates, your doctor may recommend prescription medications, such as antacids, and modifications to your diet and lifestyle.

To learn more about acid reflux, please visit the acid reflux section on the website at http://www.giassociateslima.com/acid-reflux.html

Contact us

You don’t have to suffer from acid reflux. You can find relief by calling the gastroenterologists of Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, at (419) 227-8209.

March 09, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Polyp  

Find out why colon polyps are not something to ignore.

A colon polyp is a growth that develops within the lining of the colon. While some polyps are benign, others can turn into colorectal cancer. Since many of these polyps don’t cause symptoms, it’s important that you turn to our Lima, OH, gastroenterologists for regular screenings.

What are the risk factors for colon polyps?

While doctors don’t yet know the cause of these polyps, there are certain factors that could put someone at an increased risk for developing them. These factors include:

  • Being over 50 years old
  • Being obese or overweight
  • A personal history of polyps
  • A family history of polyps or colon cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain heredity disorders
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Eating a diet that is high in fat
  • Living an inactive lifestyle

While you can’t change all of these risk factors, there are certain factors that you can influence. By leading a healthier lifestyle alone, you can greatly reduce your chances of colon polyps. Talk with your doctors about the changes and steps that you can make to improve your digestive health.

What are the symptoms and signs of a colon polyp?

As we mentioned earlier, colon polyps often don’t cause symptoms, which is why routine screenings are crucial; however, some people with polyps may notice:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Bowel changes (constipation or diarrhea)
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Changes in stool color (black stools could indicate bleeding)
  • Iron-deficiency anemia (caused by bleeding polyps)

When should I start getting regular colorectal cancer screenings?

The only way to detect a polyp is through a traditional colonoscopy at our Lima office. Both men and women who are low risk for developing colorectal cancer should receive their first screening by the time they turn 50 years old. Those at a moderate to high risk for colorectal cancer may want to get screened even earlier. When and how often you receive a screening is something to discuss with your gastroenterologist.

Concerned? Give us a call

Is it time to schedule your routine colonoscopy? Have questions about what a gastroenterologist can offer you? If so, call Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, today at (419) 227-8209. We are happy to answer your questions and schedule your next appointment.

February 19, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Hemorrhoids  

When over-the-counter products don't help your hemorrhoid symptoms, it's time to visit the gastroenterologists at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio in Lima, OH. The doctors offer several treatments that can shrink your hemorrhoids and ease your pain.

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen, protruding blood vessels that occur inside or outside your anus and rectum. They can be caused by straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, using laxatives or enemas too often, or chronic diarrhea or constipation. Your risk of developing hemorrhoids may be related to your age or genetics. If other members of your family have hemorrhoids, you may be more likely to develop them.

Hemorrhoid symptoms can include itching, pain, and bleeding during bowel movements. The swollen blood vessels often more noticeable when you strain during a bowel movement.

Are hemorrhoids dangerous?

Hemorrhoids usually aren't a sign of a serious health problem, although the itching and pain can be incredibly annoying. It's important to visit a gastroenterologist if you notice bleeding from your anus. In many cases, bleeding is related to hemorrhoids, but it's important to rule out more serious conditions and diseases.

How are hemorrhoids treated?

Your gastroenterologist may recommend one or more of these treatments during your visit to their Lima office:

  • Rubber Band Ligation: Your gastroenterologist places a tiny rubber band around the hemorrhoid, which cuts off its blood supply. After a few days, the hemorrhoid falls off.
  • Sclerotherapy: This treatment method involves injecting a chemical into the hemorrhoid, causing it to shrink. Several injections may be needed to completely remove hemorrhoids.
  • Coagulation: Exposing the vessels in hemorrhoids to light or heat causes them to harden, shrivel, and fall off.
  • Stapling: Used for internal hemorrhoids, stapling also stops blood from reaching the hemorrhoids.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy: If other treatments aren't effective or your hemorrhoid is large, your gastroenterologist may recommend surgical removal. The surgery is performed under anesthesia and requires a longer recovery period than other removal methods.

Would you like to finally get rid of your hemorrhoids? Your Lima, OH, gastroenterologists at The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio can help ease your pain. Call them at (419) 227-8209 to schedule an appointment.

November 19, 2019
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Abdominal Pain  

Are you dealing with belly pain? Just about everyone at one point or another will experience a stomachache, and they can have numerous causes. Most of the causes aren't serious and can be diagnosed and treated. However, sometimes it's is a sign of a serious condition. Gastro Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH offers a range of treatments for this condition. Here are 7 steps to manage stomach pain.

1. Call your doctor. Make an appointment with our gastroenterologist in Lima OH if your pain lasts more than a few days. Because abdominal pain is such a vague symptom, calling a doctor could help you figure out if you need to worry. If you have severe pain, head to an urgent-care center right away.

2. Skip the coffee. If acid reflux is causing your stomachache, consider cutting down or, even better, cutting out caffeine. If you think coffee could be the culprit, try eliminating it for several days a week. The only way to know is to limit it for a defined period of time and see if your pain goes away.

3. Go to the gym. Exercise helps digestive problems, so following through with your daily workout could relieve your digestive problems. Just don’t push your body if the discomfort makes movement unbearable. If your stomach pain isn’t going away, hold off on exercise until you know what’s wrong and can treat it.

4. Take OTC medicine. Look to over-the-counter medications for pain relief. Acetaminophen is often used to treat abdominal pain. Stay away from non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen because they can irritate your stomach. Proton-pump inhibitors are safe and effective at reducing a burning/heartburn type of pain. They reduce acid by blocking acid production in the stomach.

5. Try an anti-gas drug. The over-the-counter anti-gas drug simethicone can ease your discomfort when you’re feeling gassy. Because our bodies don’t absorb simethicone, the medicine doesn’t have any common side effects, so patients can use it four times a day without concern.

6. Pop an antacid. For an over-the-counter option that isn’t so severe, give an antacid a try. Antacids may give you some immediate pain relief. But they’re targeting the symptom, not any underlying health condition, so talk to our Lima, OH gastroenterologist if your pain doesn’t improve.

7. Treat it with heat. Heating pads have been used for decades to remedy stomachaches and menstrual pain. Placing a heating pad or hot pack on your stomach can help relieve pain. Heat relaxes tense muscles and eases indigestion, so taking a warm bath may also help to ease the symptoms of an upset stomach.

Stand up to abdominal pain and start enjoying life again! Call the gastroenterologists at Gastro Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH at 419-227-8209 right now to schedule an appointment. Our treatments will ease your pain and help you get back to a healthy and happy life.