Digestive Friendly Holiday Meal

A large part of most holidays is sharing a meal with friends and family. These meals most commonly consist of rich ingredients that make us feel heavy, bloated, and uncomfortable afterwards.

Enjoy your classic holiday meal without the uncomfortable aftermath by limiting difficult-to-digest carbohydrates. According to the Digestive Health Institute, limiting the types of carbs that have gut “fermentation potential” will help you avoid painful digestion and constipation.

The holiday favorite ‘Turkey Dinner’ can be rich in difficult-to-digest carbohydrates. Although this meal is not gut-friendly, it does not mean you need to throw out your traditional meal. Check out this adaptation of your traditional ‘Turkey Dinner’ that you can enjoy without the discomfort of difficult digestion.

Holidays are meant to be spent enjoying time with family and friends. Don’t spend your holiday in pain and discomfort due to difficult digestion and constipation. If you are experiencing chronic constipation, consult with one of Regional Gi’s qualified gastroenterologists. Schedule your appointment by visiting www.regionalgi.com/contact.

For more information on constipation, digestive health, and other services offered at Regional Gi, please visit www.regionalgi.com.

Foods to Avoid Constipation

Battling constipation, or looking to avoid constipation entirely? One thing that can help ease symptoms of constipation or avoid it entirely, is your diet. The key to a healthy diet that will regulate your bowel movements, is fiber.

So how do you implement more fiber into your diet? According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases including fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, cereals, and wheat breads can help regulate bowel health. Additionally, you can drink water and other fluids, such as fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups, to help the fiber in your diet work better.

A large part of regulating bowel health and stool, is reducing how much food with little or no fiber is included in your diet. Foods that can cause constipation that you want to avoid include cheese, chips, fast food, ice cream, fatty meat, and prepared and processed foods. Eating too much of these can cause blockage, and ultimately constipation.

When implementing a high fiber diet, be sure to add fiber slowly, so that your body gets used to the change. Before implementing a high fiber diet to treat or avoid constipation, talk with your doctor to plan a diet with the right amount of fiber for you. At Regional Gi, our knowledgeable and experienced gastroenterologists are equipped to help all your constipation needs.

For more information on constipation and services offered at Regional Gi, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Constipation

For those struggling with constipation, immediate diagnosis and treatment is imperative. Diagnosing constipation is most often based on the patients prevailing symptoms and bowel habits.

Following the initial diagnosis, your gastroenterologist may order laboratory tests to rule out underlying medical conditions. Further diagnosis may require x-ray examination or colonoscopy. Once a diagnosis is completed by your gastroenterologist, immediate treatment is recommended. Most often, constipation can be relieved simply by increasing fluid or fiber intake. Laxatives may be necessary. Exercise and living a healthy lifestyle will also contribute to more normal bowel function.

If you are experiencing chronic constipation or unexplained or persistent changes in bowel habits, make an appointment with our experience gastroenterologists. For more information and services offered at Regional Gi, please contact us today.

What Are Gallstones?

Gallstones are small pebbles of hardened bile that form in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is an organ that sits under the liver and stores bile after it’s produced by the liver. Following a meal, the gallbladder is responsible for emptying bile into the small intestine. Chemical imbalances in the substances that make up bile causes the production of gallstones. Imbalances typically include high amounts of cholesterol and fats that then interfere with normal gallbladder function.

Gallstones can range in size from stones as tiny as a grain of sand to as large as golf balls. Many people with gallstones do not experience symptoms such as pain or swelling. In other cases, sudden pain is most often experienced in the upper right abdomen as a result of a severe gallbladder attack. These attacks may often follow heavy meals.

Gallstones affect approximately one million people every year. Women are at an increased risk for acquiring gallstones. In generally, those who are at risk of developing gallstones typically include:

  • Women ages 20-60
  • Men and women ages 60+
  • Men and women who are overweight
  • Men and women who go on “crash” diets or lose weight quickly
  • Pregnant women or women who have used birth control pills or estrogen

Gallstones are one of the leading causes of gallbladder pancreatitis. Without proper management, pancreatitis caused by gallstones can cause severe pain in the abdomen and lead to more serious problems such as nutritional deficiencies.

Don’t let your gallstone go untreated! Ask a physician if you are at risk for gallbladder pancreatitis. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Regional Gi’s board-certified specialists, please visit www.regionalgi.com/contact.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Gallstone Pancreatitis?

Gallstone pancreatitis (acute pancreatitis) is the result of gallstones passing through the common bile duct and impinging on the main pancreatic duct. The main function of the pancreas is to produce enzymes necessary to digest food. The pancreas is also responsible for making insulin, the hormone needed to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Pancreatitis caused by gallstones can cause severe pain in the abdomen and lead to serious health problems such as nutritional deficiencies.

Symptoms of gallstone pancreatitis can begin as pain in the upper abdomen. Mild pain may become worse after eating and commonly lasts for several days. Pain from a swollen and tender abdomen may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever and/or rapid pulse. Gallstone pancreatitis can be a life-threatening disease and immediate evaluation by a physician is necessary if someone with gallstones suddenly develops severe abdominal pain. The best way to prevent gallstones from forming is by protecting your pancreas and choosing to live a healthy, active lifestyle.

Eating a low-fat diet of whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables can help prevent gallstone pancreatitis

People who are overweight are more likely to develop gallstones in their lifetime and are at a greater risk for developing gallstone pancreatitis. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and shedding extra pounds can dramatically prevent the formation of gallstones.

Regional Gi specializes in the treatment of those affected by major gastrointestinal conditions including colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, acid reflux, stomach ulcers, liver disease and pancreatic cancer.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit www.regionalgi.com/contact. We look forward to serving you!

The ABC’s of Hepatitis. Do You Know The Difference?

Viral hepatitis refers to infections caused by viruses that attack the liver. Severe chronic cases of viral hepatitis can lead to life-threatening liver cirrhosis, liver failure or even liver cancer. Do you know the difference between these varying conditions?

Mode of Transmission / Prevention:

  • Hepatitis A: Contaminated food and water. There is a safe HAV vaccine.
  • Hepatitis B: Infected blood, sex and needles. From an infected mother to her newborn. There is a safe HBV vaccine.
  • Hepatitis C: Infected blood and needles. There is no vaccine.
  • Hepatitis D: Must already have hepatitis B. Infected blood, sex and needles. From an infected mother to her newborn. Get the hepatitis B vaccine.
  • Hepatitis E: Contaminated water. There is no vaccine.

(Hepatitis B Foundation, Feb. 2014)

Interested in Learning More?

Are you concerned about your health? Allow Regional Gi’s professional and caring specialists to answer your questions. For more, please visit www.regionalgi.com/contact. We look forward to serving you!

How Does GERD Affect the Esophagus?

Occasional heartburn or acid reflux is not uncommon. In fact, many suffer from frequent throat or stomach pain. However, if you experience it two or more times a week, you may be at risk for serious complications.

Repeated exposure to harmful stomach acid can dramatically affect the lining of the esophagus. Those with severe cases of heartburn and acid reflux may be diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease. If left untreated, many sufferers may develop esophagitis or severe inflammation of the esophagus.

Complications of Untreated GERD
If both conditions are not brought under control, stomach acid may continue to further damage your esophagus. Repeated damage may lead to further complications including:

Preventing Further Damage
Treatment is dependent upon the cause and severity of esophageal discomfort. It is important to talk to your doctor. In many instances, a simple dietary modification may alleviate sufferers symptoms.

Interested in Learning More?
Are you concerned about your symptoms? Regional Gi will treat you with the professionalism, honesty and care that you deserve. To schedule your appointment, please visit www.regionalgi.com/contact.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a severe infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis c virus. According to the World Health Organization, the virus can cause both acute and chronic infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Approximately 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver diseases.

Acute HCV infection is usually asymptomatic. Occasionally, acute infection can cause yellowing of the skin or eyes; fever; fatigue; nausea and vomiting. Patients with chronic HCV infection may develop end stage liver disease including cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma.

Can Hepatitis C be Treated?
Diagnosis of HCV is typically made in patients with abnormal liver enzymes. A liver biopsy may be necessary to determine the degree of inflammation and/or permanent damage to the liver. The standard of care for hepatitis C is changing rapidly. Current therapy regiments include a combination of weekly interferon and ribavirin injections. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C.

Are You at Risk?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you get tested for hepatitis C if you:

  • Received blood from a donor who had the disease
  • Have ever injected drugs
  • Had a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before July 1992
  • Received a blood product used to treat clotting problems before 1987
  • Were born between 1945 and 1965
  • Have ever been on long-term kidney dialysis
  • Have HIV
  • Were born to a mother with hepatitis C

Interested in Learning More?
Regional Gi specializes in the study, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract — esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines — and its related organs. Connect with us online by visiting www.regionalgi.com/contact. We look forward to serving you!

What is Cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is the end-stage of chronic liver disease. It is characterized by severe scarring on the liver. Hepatitis C, fatty liver disease and alcohol use are the most common causes of cirrhosis.

Scarring prevents normal blood flow through the liver and excretion of biles into the intestine. Patients often develop yellowing of the skin or eyes. Fluid may accumulate in the abdominal cavity and lower extremities. Blood toxins in the brain may cause confusion, a condition known as hepatic encephalopathy. Enlarged veins may develop in the esophagus and stomach known as varices. These can rupture and produce severe gastrointestinal bleeding.

Can Cirrhosis be Treated?
Typically, liver damage from cirrhosis cannot be reversed. An underlying form of chronic liver disease should be identified, as specific therapy may be available to prevent further deterioration of the liver. Specific treatment for symptoms such as encephalopathy, ascites and gastrointestinal bleeding are available. Please refer to these specific gastrointestinal conditions for further information.

Interested in Learning More?
As Lancaster’s leading gastrointestinal specialty practice, Regional Gi provides caring, highly skilled and uniquely accessible support. We are proud to offer same or next day appointments for urgent situations. For additional information or to contact a member of our professional health care team, please contact us. We look forward to serving you.