Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: December, 2021

By Advanced Gastroenterology Group
December 23, 2021
Tags: Lactose Intolerant  
Lactose IntolerantIs your morning latte suddenly making your stomach do flips? Do you experience gastrointestinal upset whenever you enjoy a cheesy slice of pizza? Any gastroenterologist knows that this can be disheartening; fortunately, they can help provide the relief you need so that you can go back to enjoying the foods and drinks you love. But first, it’s important to know whether you should come in for an evaluation.

Do I have lactose intolerance?

Since many things can cause an upset stomach and GI distress, it can be difficult to know whether or not it’s dairy that’s truly the culprit. Of course, if you experience any of these symptoms about 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming dairy products, then it’s time to speak with one of our doctors to find out if it could be lactose intolerance. Here are some of the symptoms you might experience after ingesting dairy products: 
  • Belly and stomach cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Bloating
How is lactose intolerance diagnosed?

If you suspect that you might be lactose intolerant, it’s a good idea to start tracking everything from whether you consumed milk or other dairy products beforehand and what symptoms you are experiencing to what medications or vitamins you are currently taking.

Our gastroenterologists can determine whether or not you have lactose intolerance through these simple tests:

Lactose tolerance test: This is the most commonly used diagnostic test, which requires the patient to consume a liquid containing a high concentration of lactose. Once consumed, we will perform blood tests to see how glucose within the body reacts to lactose. If glucose levels stay the same rather than rising then your body isn’t able to digest lactose properly.

Hydrogen breath test: Another test in which you have to consume a lactose-filled drink, the hydrogen breath test uses your breath rather than your blood to check hydrogen levels. Bodies that don’t digest lactose properly will affect the colon, which in turn will produce hydrogen and other gases that go through the gastrointestinal system and out through your breath. By measuring the amount of hydrogen on your breath we can also determine whether you might be lactose intolerant.

Stool acidity test: This is most commonly used in infants and young children who may be lactose intolerant. If lactose isn’t digested properly it will create lactic acid within the stool, which can then be tested and detected.

How is lactose intolerance treated?

Avoiding lactose is often the simplest way to prevent symptom flare-ups. These days, there are a ton of lactose-free and dairy-free milk, cheeses, and ice creams, so you shouldn’t have to necessarily cut foods you love from your diet; however, there are over-the-counter supplements that you can take beforehand that can help you better digest dairy if you do decide to eat out or treat yourself to some ice cream.

If you are dealing with digestive issues that you think could be caused by dairy, then it’s a good idea to turn to a gastroenterologist who can perform the appropriate diagnostic testing to determine what’s causing your issues.

By Advanced Gastroenterology Group
December 08, 2021
Tags: Fecal Incontinence  
IncontinenceAre you having trouble making it to the bathroom in time? Do you notice issues such as leakage, particularly when passing gas? If so, these are signs of fecal or bowel incontinence. While this is an issue that may occur with older age, there are a variety of reasons why someone may deal with this problem. Here’s what you should know about incontinence and how a gastroenterologist will treat it.

What is fecal incontinence?

Whenever there is trouble controlling the bowels this is often known as fecal or anal incontinence. Fecal incontinence can appear as stool leakage when passing gas or during physical activity. You may feel as if you can’t control your bowel movement or you may feel like you’re not going to make it to the bathroom in time. You may even see stool in your underwear. In more severe instances, a person may experience a total loss of bowel control.

Why does fecal incontinence occur?

There are several reasons why someone might deal with this problem. Some of the most common reasons include:
  • Damage to the muscles of the anus (common after childbirth)
  • Previous anal surgeries
  • Nervous system injury or disorder
  • Severe constipation (more common in the elderly)
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Rectal prolapse
Often, there is more than one cause for bowel incontinence. A gastroenterologist will be able to help you determine what is causing this issue.

How is fecal incontinence treated?

A lot will depend on the underlying cause. For example, finding ways to better manage your inflammatory bowel disease can greatly improve bowel incontinence. There are certain exercises and therapies that your doctor may recommend such as Kegel exercises or biofeedback if you are dealing with damaged or weakened anal muscles. Patients whose bowel incontinence is due to diarrhea or constipation may be given certain medications such as anti-diarrheal medications or laxatives to improve their bowels. For certain structural issues such as rectal prolapse, your gastroenterologist may recommend surgery to repair the damage.

Since bowel incontinence is a sign of an underlying health problem, it’s important that you turn to a gastroenterologist as soon as possible to find out what’s causing your incontinence, as well as the best way to treat it.

By Advanced Gastroenterology Group
December 02, 2021
Tags: Perianal Abscess  
Perianal AbscessNoticing a painful lump or bump near the anus? We know this might be a rather embarrassing topic, and one you may wish to simply ignore; however, naturally, you may be worried or freaked out about this lump. This lump could be a perianal abscess, which causes a large, painful boil-like bump in this exact region. This bump is the result of a bacterial infection that often affects one or more glands around the anus. Fortunately, a gastroenterologist can easily diagnose and help you treat your perianal abscess.

What causes a perianal abscess?

Just like bacteria and debris that gets trapped under the skin results in a pimple, trapped bacteria in the glands around the anal canal can continue to build up until it develops a boil-like bump near the rectum. This is most common in male infants under one year old. A perianal abscess is not to be confused with a perirectal abscess, which is a deep pelvic infection that can be the result of inflammatory bowel disease.

How is a perianal abscess diagnosed?

It’s fairly easy for a gastroenterologist to diagnose a perianal abscess. All that’s needed is a simple physical examination of the area. Since the infection can spread, it’s important to seek treatment from a medical expert to prevent this from happening.
 
How is a perianal abscess treated?

In some cases, the abscess may be treated with simple home care such as Sitz baths and warm soaks a couple of times a day to help the abscess naturally drain on its own. If this happens further treatment may not be necessary; however, if the infection has spread, your gastroenterologist may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. If the abscess doesn’t drain on its own, your doctor can safely drain the abscess. Do not pop or try to drain the abscess yourself, as this could spread the infection. Since this problem can return, it’s important to keep the area clean to prevent future infections.

If you notice a large, painful lump around the rectum or anus, it’s natural to be concerned. Fortunately, a gastroenterologist is going to be the medical specialist you’ll want to turn to for answers and treatment.