Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: November, 2017

By NASHVILLE GASTROINTESTINAL SPECIALISTS
November 13, 2017
Category: GI Care

People in commercials love to talk about diarrhea and constipation, but in real life, the subjects are rarely discussed, even though they affect us all. Understanding what causes the conditions may help you avoid them.

What causes diarrhea?

Diarrhea occurs when your stools are loose, runny or completely watery. Although occasional diarrhea won't harm your health, frequent diarrhea can lead to dehydration. The condition is often caused by viruses or bacterial infections. Washing your hands frequently, particularly after touching raw foods, and cooking food completely can help reduce your chance of developing diarrhea. If you know a friend or family member is sick or has diarrhea, don't share utensils or glasses with them.

Diarrhea can also occur due to stomach irritation caused by taking antibiotics or by an intolerance to certain foods. Lactose intolerance, a condition that occurs when you have difficulty digesting sugars found in dairy products, is a common cause of diarrhea. If you've ever had to dash to the restroom after eating ice cream or pasta covered in creamy Alfredo sauce, you might have lactose intolerance.

Some health conditions can also cause diarrhea, including diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic pancreatitis and Addison's disease.

What causes constipation?

If you're constipated, it may be difficult or impossible to pass stools. Even if your trip to the restroom is successful, the stools you produce may be small and hard. Diet can play a part in constipation. Reducing your intake of dairy products, caffeine, alcohol and junk food can be helpful.

Resisting the urge to defecate can lead to constipation. If you're at work and decide to ignore the urge to go, you may not be able to produce any stools when you finally get home. Constipation can also occur if you change your diet or normal routine, don't exercise regularly or eat foods that aren't usually part of your diet when you're away from home.

Some health conditions can also cause constipation, including

  • Diabetes
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lupus

Occasional bouts of diarrhea and constipation are usually nothing to worry about, particularly if they accompany an illness. If you're frequently constipated or experience diarrhea often, it's a good idea to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions and diseases of the gastrointestinal system.


By NASHVILLE GASTROINTESTINAL SPECIALISTS
November 01, 2017
Category: GI Care
Tags: Moles   Skin Cancer  

Although moles are usually harmless, in some cases they can become cancerous, causing melanoma. For this reason, it is important to Monitoring Molesregularly examine your skin for any moles that change in size, color, shape, sensation or that bleed.  Suspicious or abnormal moles or lesions should always be examined by your dermatologist.

What to Look For

Remember the ABCDE's of melanoma when examining your moles. If your mole fits any of these criteria, you should visit your dermatologist as soon as possible.  

  • Asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half.
  • Border. The border or edges of the mole are poorly defined or irregular.
  • Color. The color of the mole is not the same throughout or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white or red.
  • Diameter. The diameter of a mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
  • Evolution. The mole is changing in size, shape or color.

Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, including the scalp, between the fingers and toes, on the soles of the feet and even under the nails. The best way to detect skin cancer in its earliest, most curable stage is by checking your skin regularly and visiting our office for a full-body skin cancer screening. Use this guide to perform a self-exam.

  • Use a mirror to examine your entire body, starting at your head and working your way to the toes. Also be sure to check difficult to see areas, including between your fingers and toes, the groin, the soles of your feet and the backs of your knees.
  • Pay special attention to the areas exposed to the most sun.
  • Don't forget to check your scalp and neck for moles. Use a handheld mirror or ask a family member to help you.
  • Develop a mental note or keep a record of all the moles on your body and what they look like. If they do change in any way (color, shape, size, border, etc.), or if any new moles look suspicious, visit your dermatologist right away.  

Skin cancer has a high cure rate if detected and treated early. The most common warning sign is a visible change on the skin, a new growth, or a change in an existing mole. Depending on the size and location of the mole, dermatologists may use different methods of mole removal. A body check performed by a dermatologist can help determine whether the moles appearing on the body are pre-cancerous or harmless.