Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for category: Gastroenterology Conditions

By NASHVILLE GASTROINTESTINAL SPECIALISTS
July 20, 2020
Tags: Celiac Disease  
Celiac DiseaseNowadays, hearing the term “celiac disease” seems rather commonplace. Perhaps you even know someone who has it; however, many people assume celiac disease and gluten intolerance are the same things, but true celiac disease is much more serious. This autoimmune disorder is triggered whenever a person consumes food that contains gluten. Instead of just experiencing digestive upset (as those with gluten intolerance may), those with celiac disease incur damage to their small intestines, which in turn affects how the body absorbs nutrients.

While people can develop celiac disease at any age, it’s often hereditary (meaning that if you have a family member with this condition then you are more likely to develop the celiac disease yourself). Since this disease can lead to serious health problems such as infertility, anemia, and type 1 diabetes, it’s important to see a doctor if you suspect that you might have celiac disease.

The most common symptoms of Celiac disease involve digestive problems and may include:
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Increased gas
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Foul-smelling or pale stools (more common in children)
Along with digestive complaints, people with celiac disease (especially adults) may experience other issues that they may not even realize is caused by celiac disease. These symptoms include:
  • An itchy, widespread rash
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ulcers of the mouth
  • Joint pain
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet
Diagnosing Celiac Disease
If you believe you might have celiac disease you must see a gastroenterologist right away; however, you don’t want to change up your diet before seeing a doctor, as avoiding gluten could affect your test results. Two blood tests are most often used to check your body’s immune response to gluten. If there is an indication that you could have celiac disease based on your blood test results, then your doctor may recommend an endoscopy to check the lining of the small intestines for damage.

Treating Celiac Disease
The only way to truly manage celiac disease is to stick to a gluten-free diet. This means staying vigilant when reading labels, as gluten isn’t just found in food but also medications and non-food items such as lipsticks, nutritional supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and toothpaste. If you are dealing with anemia or other nutritional deficiencies as a result of celiac your doctor may also prescribe certain medications such as iron, vitamin B12, or vitamin D.
By NASHVILLE GASTROINTESTINAL SPECIALISTS
May 15, 2020
Tags: Hemorrhoids  

HemorrhoidsIf you are experiencing rectal pain or noticing specks of blood on your toilet paper you might be dealing with hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids, also referred to as piles, are swollen veins that form either inside or outside the rectum. While hemorrhoids are more common as a person gets older, this condition can happen to anyone. Here’s what you should know about this common rectal problem and how you can treat it.

What causes hemorrhoids?

If you have family members that deal with hemorrhoids, you may be more likely to get them too. Any kind of pressure that’s placed on the rectum and impacts the flow of blood can cause these veins to swell. Pressure may be caused by:

  • Constipation and straining during bowel movements
  • Heavy lifting or intense physical activity
  • Being overweight or obese
  • A poor diet that is low in fiber
  • Pregnancy
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle

How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?

If you’ve never had hemorrhoids before you may want to see your gastroenterologist for a diagnosis, especially if you are experiencing persistent rectal bleeding. Your doctor will go through your medical history and ask questions about your symptoms before performing an exam. A simple rectal exam is usually all that’s needed to diagnose external hemorrhoids. In order to diagnose internal hemorrhoids, you may require further testing such as a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.

How are hemorrhoids treated?

Sometimes hemorrhoids will go away on their own, so you won’t require special care or treatment. Home remedies include:

  • Adding more fiber to your diet
  • Avoiding straining during bowel movements
  • Staying hydrated to aid in better digestion
  • Taking a Sitz bath several times a day to ease any pain and discomfort

There are also over-the-counter medications that can alleviate symptoms including pain and itching. If your symptoms persist after using these medications you should talk with your doctor. If the hemorrhoid is large or isn’t responding to other treatment options then your GI doctor may recommend surgery. There are many minimally invasive surgical techniques that can be used to get rid of hemorrhoids.

If you notice rectal pain, bleeding or discomfort that leaves you concerned or worried about your health it’s important that you talk with your gastroenterologist to find out if you need further evaluation. While hemorrhoids may clear on their own, if you don’t experience relief a doctor will be able to help.