Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: January, 2022

By Gastroenterology Specialists, Inc.
January 26, 2022
Tags: Colon Polyps  
Colon and Rectal PolypsHas a gastroenterologist just found colon polyps during your routine colonoscopy? If so, you may be wondering what these masses are, why they occur, and if this could put you at an increased risk for colorectal cancer. We have the answers you are looking for.

What are colon polyps?

A polyp is typically a benign growth that develops in the lining of the rectum or colon. They can vary in size and are often found in the colon. Polyps are very common in adults, particularly older adults. In fact, an average 60-year-old who doesn’t have any risk factors still has a 25 percent chance of developing polyps. While some polyps can be cancerous, most are harmless.

What can increase my risk for colon polyps?

Older age is the most common risk factor for polyps. If there is a history of colon polyps or colon cancer in your family then you may also be more likely to develop polyps. Other risk factors include,
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Having diabetes
  • Smoking or using tobacco products
  • Having inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis)
Do polyps cause symptoms?

Most polyps do not cause any symptoms; however, if the polyp is large enough it could cause blood in the stool or rectal bleeding. Sometimes a sigmoidoscopy, which allows our GI doctor to look at the lower section of the colon, can detect the presence of a polyp. In this case, our doctor will then recommend a colonoscopy to have the polyp removed. While there are other screening tools available for detecting polyps, the most accurate tool is a colonoscopy.

How is a polyp removed?

If we find polyps during your colonoscopy we can easily remove them at the same time as your procedure. There are several ways in which your doctor can remove a polyp. The most common method is a wire loop biopsy or through a polyp resection (burning the polyp with an electrical current). Since the lining of the bowels is not sensitive, these methods will not cause discomfort. Sometimes a laboratory will examine the removed polyp to look for cancerous cells.

If you need to schedule a routine colonoscopy, or you have a family history of colon polyps and you’re concerned, call your gastroenterologist today to learn more about the preventive steps you can start taking today to protect your digestive health.

By Gastroenterology Specialists, Inc.
January 12, 2022
Tags: Hiatal Hernia  
Hiatal HerniaDo you deal with constant acid reflux? Is heartburn commonplace? Do you feel full quickly after eating? If so, these could all be signs of a condition known as a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia happens when part of the stomach pushes through the opening in the diaphragm (the hiatus), which connects to the stomach. While some people may never even know that they have a hiatal hernia, sometimes it can cause digestive issues for others. That’s when you should turn to a gastroenterologist for answers.

What causes a hiatal hernia?

Any kind of intense or increased pressure in this area of the abdomen can lead to a hiatal hernia. Pressure in this area of the digestive tract can occur as a result of,
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Heavy lifting or intense physical exertion
  • Straining
What are the signs and symptoms of a hiatal hernia?

You could have a hiatal hernia and not even know it. Most people don’t even realize that they have one; however, others may deal with certain digestive issues such as,
  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Stomach discomfort
Sometimes symptoms of a hiatal hernia can be confused with gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Your gastroenterologist will be able to determine which problem is causing your symptoms and provide you with the appropriate treatment options.

Does a hiatal hernia require treatment?

If your hiatal hernia isn’t causing you any issues then you may never need to have it treated; however, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above you’ll want to see your gastroenterologist for an evaluation. Simple lifestyle changes may be all you need to get your symptoms under control. These changes include,
  • Maintaining a healthy weight (or losing weight if overweight or obese)
  • Eating smaller portions
  • Avoiding belts or tight pants that put pressure around the middle
  • Avoiding acidic, spicy, fatty, greasy, and fried foods
  • Avoiding carbonated beverages as well as caffeine and alcohol
  • Not eating 3-4 hours before bedtime
  • Quitting smoking
  • Elevating your head while you sleep
  • Not lying down immediately after eating
Taking an over-the-counter antacid can also help manage mild or occasional heartburn symptoms but should not be used regularly for more than two weeks. If you find that your symptoms persist for several weeks, it’s time to see your gastroenterologist.

A gastroenterologist is the ideal medical specialist to turn to when heartburn, regurgitation, acid reflux, and other digestive issues plague you. If a hiatal hernia is a culprit, we can help you find effective solutions to manage your symptoms.