Gerd Or Reflux? Whatever Name You Use For This Tummy Condition, It’S No Fun.

by Jason Hallman November 30, 2015

Dr. Jason Hallman is a gastroenterologist with Digestive Disease Associates. He cares for patients at North Florida Endoscopy Center on the campus of North Florida Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Jason Hallman is a gastroenterologist with Digestive Disease Associates. He cares for patients at North Florida Endoscopy Center on the campus of North Florida Regional Medical Center.

Misery loves company, right?

If that old saying is true, then people who suffer from a stomach condition known as either simply Reflux or (not so simply) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD for short, do have plenty of company. Consider these statistics. Sixty percent of the adult population will experience some type of GERD within a 12-month period, and 20 to 30 percent will have weekly symptoms. Approximately seven million people in the United States have some symptoms of GERD. If you are one of them, you probably know what it is. And having plenty of company doesn’t make the misery this conditions causes any better. The good news is that taking action does.

Symptoms

GERD happens when the acid that is normally in your stomach backs up into the esophagus. The symptoms include:

  • Burning in the chest, known as heartburn
  • Burning in the throat or an acid taste in the throat
  • Stomach or chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Having a raspy voice or a sore throat
  • Unexplained cough

What To Do

Some people can manage their acid reflux on their own by changing their eating habits or taking nonprescription medicines. You should see a doctor if:

Your symptoms are severe or last a long time You cannot seem to control your symptoms on your own Have trouble swallowing, or feel as though food gets “stuck” on the way down Lose weight when you are not trying to Have chest pain Choke when you eat

Treatments for GERD include medicines that work to reduce the amount of stomach acid produced. Depending upon your symptoms, a doctor also might need to perform an upper endoscopy which allows direct visualization of the esophagus and stomach.

Just One Thing: The Basics Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

by Lauren Gajda November 20, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual learner. So for this week’s Just One Thing, I thought why not tell you information about a disorder that affects more women than men but do it in a fun way that’s easy to read and understand.

Enter… the infographic. This week’s topic is about the basics of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

ibs-infographic

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar to you? Some people live with IBS and have no idea.

The range of 25 to 45 million people living with IBS is so large because many people are living with it and don’t even know it. If you think you may be one of them, it’s time to talk with your doctor.

Just One Thing to Think About…

Just One Thing: Pay Attention To Your Digestive System

by Lauren Gajda November 6, 2015

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ladies, it’s time to talk about plumbing. No, not the plumping that happens when your pipe at home breaks and water goes everywhere. The plumbing of your body.

We know you may not think it’s polite to talk about our digestive system, but it’s so important that we’re turning the spotlight on Digestive Health for the entire month of November.

So, did you know that everyone’s plumbing is different? Some people go to the bathroom three times a week, and it’s considered normal. Others go three times a day, which can also be considered normal. The most important thing is paying attention to when your body starts acting differently because that’s when you may need some plumbing work.

The warning signs are pretty similar for many digestive disorders – stomach pain, nausea, bloating, gas…. You can read more about common conditions, symptoms and treatments in the articles we’ve posted so far for our Digestive Health Spotlight Series. For now, we ask that you just pay attention.

If three times a day turns into three times a week, it may be time to take yourself in for a service check. Just One Thing to Think About.

Digestive Disorders Affecting More Women Than Men

by Lauren Gajda November 6, 2015

Did you know that some digestive disorders affect more women than men? In this WCJB TV-20 Medical Spotlight, Gastroenterologist Dr. Renata Wajsman discusses how acid reflux and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) tend to affect more women than men. Why? When should you go to the doctor? What are the treatment options? Watch the video to get the answers you’ve been looking for.

Is This Hard To Digest?

by Lauren Gajda November 6, 2015

Talking about your body’s plumbing may be difficult for some people. You don’t exactly go out for dinner with girlfriends and want to talk about how you haven’t gone to bathroom in four days. And listening to someone talk about their plumping is not easy to digest either. The problem with not talking about the plumbing problems is that they don’t get resolved and, in some cases, they just get worse.

Now, we’re not saying you have to talk with your girlfriends about your digestive difficulties over a glass of wine, but talking with your doctor should be a priority. There are so many digestive conditions out there, so for November, we’re turning the focus on dealing with digestive difficulties. What are the most common issues and how can you put an end to them? We’re starting here with a simple article of the eight most common ones.

DIGESTIVE DIFFICULT #1: REFLUX OR GERD

In a recent study, it was reported that 6 percent of people reported experience reflux symptoms daily, and 14 percent experience symptoms at least weekly. Now you know why we consider this one of the most common digestive difficulties.

When symptoms are frequent, it may indicate that a person has GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). GERD can be painful because it’s basically when the stomach’s content come back up into the esophagus.

Common Symptoms:

  • Heartburn
  • Sour taste in mouth
  • Hypersalivation
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Dry cough

Common Treatments:

  • Drugs that reduce acid levels, such as Aciphex, Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec and Protonix
  • Drugs that reduce H2 blockers, such as Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac

In severe cases of GERD, surgeons have the ability to tighten a loose muscle between the stomach and the esophagus. At North Florida Regional Medical Center, we can do this surgery laparoscopically.

DIGESTIVE DIFFICULT #2: PEPTIC ULCERS

Did you know that 25 million Americans will get a peptic ulcer at some point in their lives? Peptic ulcers are sores in the lining of the stomach or first stretch of the small intestine. Some causes of peptic ulcers include smoking and alcohol use. If left untreated, peptic ulcers can be very dangerous and lead to serious infection.Common Symptoms:

  • Burning pain in the middle or upper stomach between meals or at night
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting

Common Treatments:

  • Proton pump medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Surgery

DIGESTIVE DIFFICULT #3: GALLSTONES

Each year, nearly 1 million Americans are diagnosed with gallstones, which are little pebbles primarily made up of cholesterol and bile salts. Getting rid of them usually requires having your gallbladder removed, which is one of the most common US surgeries.

Common Symptoms:

  • Pain in upper abdomen and upper back
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Gas

Common Treatments:

  • Surgery to remove the gallbladder

DIGESTIVE DIFFICULT #4: LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

Between 30 million and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. That means they lack an enzyme needed to digest the main sugar in milk.

Common Symptoms:

  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Common Treatments:

  • Over-the-counter pills to replace lactase in your body

DIGESTIVE DIFFICULT #5: DIVERTICULITIS

While it’s been reported that 3 in 5 Americans who are 70 years of age or older have abnormal bulges called diverticula somewhere in the walls of their colon, only 20 percent will experience inflammation or infection in those bulges. Those complications are called diverticulitis.

Common Symptoms:

  • Pain in lower left side of your stomach
  • Fever and chills
  • Bloating and gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Common Treatments:

  • Antibiotics
  • Surgery

DIGESTIVE DIFFICULT #6: INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE

The two most common forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Common Symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss

Common Treatments:

  • Prescription of a combination of anti-inflammatories, steroids and immunosuppressants
  • Antibiotics
  • Surgery

Both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis typically arise from a deficiency in one’s immune system that leads to the body’s attach of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

DIGESTIVE DIFFICULT #7: CELIAC DISEASE

Only about 1 percent of the US population has celiac disease, which is an autoimmune and digestive disorder that triggers an attack on one’s small intestine when gluten is introduced to the diet.

Common Symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

Common Treatments:

  • There is no cure for celiac disease, but most people manage it with a gluten-free diet.

DIGESTIVE DIFFICULT #8: CONSTIPATION

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Just because you fail to have a bowel movement, does not necessarily mean you are constipated. People think they have to have a bowel movement every day, but the truth is, anywhere between three times a day and three times a week is normal.Common Symptoms:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Have not had a bowel movement in days

Common Treatments:

  • Over-the-counter remedies like Milk of Magnesia
  • Laxatives

Constipation is best avoided through regular exercise, a diet high in fiber and hydration. It’s best to see a doctor if you have not had a bowel movement in a week because constipation can lead to more serious issues, such as hemorrhoids or anal fissure.

While this may seem like a lot of information, this is just a brief overview. We will have so much more information to share with you throughout the month. Stay tuned.

Resources:
http://health.usnews.com/
www.webmd.com
Image acknowledgement for front page image: Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net