Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: March, 2022

By Gastroenterology Specialists, Inc.
March 30, 2022
Gallbladder AttackYour gallbladder is a small organ on the upper right side of your abdomen that’s responsible for storing and releasing bile to aid in digestion. As with any organ or system in the body, problems can occur. When bile and minerals develop into deposits or gallstones in the gallbladder, this can lead to very severe and sudden pain. Recognizing the signs of a gallbladder attack can mean getting the quicker care you need from a gastroenterologist.

What is a gallbladder attack?

A gallbladder attack is often what happens when there is a gallstone blockage in the duct of the gallbladder. Symptoms can last where from a few minutes to a few hours, but it’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you are dealing with severe abdominal pain. The attack may go away on its own without any complications, but it’s still important that you schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist to make sure that your symptoms are due to a gallbladder attack and to rule out other potential health problems.

What are the signs and symptoms of a gallbladder attack?

Wondering if you could be dealing with a gallbladder attack? You could be if you are experiencing:
  • A dull, sharp, or cramping pain in the upper right side or center of the abdomen
  • Pain that radiates to the back or shoulder blades
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (also known as jaundice)
Are there risk factors for gallstones?

As with most health problems, certain risk factors could increase your chances of developing gallstones. You may be more likely to experience gallstones during your lifetime if:
  • You have a family history of gallstones or gallbladder problems
  • You are obese or overweight
  • You have a low-fiber, high-cholesterol diet
  • You take certain medications such as birth control or hormone replacement therapy
  • You have diabetes
  • You are pregnant
  • You are over 40 years old
  • You have been diagnosed with liver disease
How is a gallbladder attack treated?

If the gallstone is passed on its own without problems then no treatment is necessary; however, sometimes medications or shockwaves are used to break up the gallstones. If you are dealing with recurring gallbladder pain, your gastroenterologist may recommend having your gallbladder removed.

If you are dealing with severe or sudden abdominal pain it’s important to seek immediate medical attention, as a gallbladder attack isn’t the only thing that can lead to sudden stomach pain. If you find yourself dealing with frequent gallbladder issues you may wish to speak with a gastroenterologist about whether to have the organ removed.

By Gastroenterology Specialists, Inc.
March 10, 2022
Category: GI Care
Tags: Colostomy Bags  
Colostomy BagsWhen there is an injury or health problem that impacts the digestive tract and you’re unable to pass stool on your own you may need a colostomy bag. If you or someone you love needs a colostomy bag, it’s natural to have questions about how they will work, as well as care instructions. A gastroenterologist can answer any and all questions, and alleviate concerns around getting a colostomy.

When is a colostomy needed?

A colostomy may be something that’s needed for only a short period while other individuals may require a colostomy bag for life. When the colon doesn’t work properly or the bowels need time to heal, a colostomy bag can ensure that stool passes through an opening in the colon and into the bag rather than through the anus. Conditions or health problems that may require a temporary colostomy include:
  • Trauma or injury to the rectum, anus, or colon
  • Diverticulitis
  • Bowel obstructions
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
A permanent colostomy may be necessary for advanced stages of colorectal cancer or untreatable fecal incontinence, or when part of the rectum or anus needs to be removed (often due to disease).

What is a colostomy?

A colostomy is a surgical procedure performed by a gastroenterologist or gastric surgeon in which they create an opening in the abdominal wall (known as a stoma) through which a colostomy bag can be connected. When stool passes through the colon it will no longer exit through the anus but instead through a colostomy bag.

Do I always have to wear my colostomy bag?

Today, clothes can very discreetly hide a colostomy bag so this shouldn’t be a problem and most people feel comfortable wearing their colostomy bag all the time for peace of mind; however, in some instances, you may be able to detect when you’re going to have a bowel movement, and you may decide to use your colostomy bags only during these times.

Can you reverse a colostomy?

If your colostomy was temporary, your gastroenterologist will discuss the reversal process with you. You will continue to come in for routine checkups and monitoring after your colostomy to determine the best time for a reversal. In most cases, it can take several years before a reversal surgery is performed and your health will be a determining factor in whether this surgery is right for you.

If you have questions about colostomy bags, how they work, or how to care for them, call your gastroenterologist today. They can provide you with the information you need to make living with a colostomy bag easier.