Early Detection is Key!
Acid Reflux Treatment Q & A
What’s Acid Reflux?
A ring of muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes when food passes through it. When it doesn’t close properly or if it opens frequently, the acid in the individual’s stomach will move into the esophagus. This particular condition is acid reflux orgastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux causes the patient to have heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the chest. The pain or discomfort may be located anywhere from the abdomen up to the chest. The individual may experience a sour or bitter taste in his or her mouth or throat. Generally, a person has GERD when these symptoms occur at least twice per week. Other less common symptoms are possible, such as bloating, bloody or black stool, bloody vomit, difficulty swallowing, nausea, hiccups that don’t ease up, or burping. Some people experience weight loss without an explanation. Wheezing, a chronic dry throat or hoarseness is possible as well.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
In some instances, it’s caused by a hiatal hernia. This common cause of acid reflux occurs when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm. When this occurs, it pushes the acid in a person’s stomach into the esophagus.
Other factors may also contribute to acid reflux. Being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk. Certain habits can flare up symptoms, such as eating large meals and lying down, snacking too close to bedtime, eating citrus fruits or tomatoes, or consuming fatty foods. Other foods and beverages that aggravate the condition include chocolate, onion, mint, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, carbonated beverages, garlic, or spicy foods. Smoking, pregnancy, and certain medications can influence the condition also.
How Is It Treated?
In some cases, diet and lifestyle changes are enough. In addition to avoiding certain foods and drinks, the person may need to wear loose clothing, sleep upright for naps, and avoid eating close to bedtime. Medications are sometimes necessary. Antacids, foaming agents, H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors, and prokinetics may all help.
Capsule endoscopy is used to examine the lining in the gastrointestinal tract for any abnormalities. It is helpful in taking pictures of the digestive tract including esophagus, stomach and especially small intestine. Small intestine is a difficult area to reach through conventional endoscopy and other imaging tests as it lies between the stomach and large intestine. The capsule contains a camera, a bulb, battery and a transmitter. The camera takes thousands of pictures of the digestive tract during its passage through the digestive tract and transmits it to a recorder worn as a belt on the waist for about 24 hours to store the images.
Used to Diagnose
Tumors in the small intestine
Celiac disease and polyps of the small intestine
It is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions before and after the procedure otherwise the test may need to be repeated in case the images are not clear.
The doctor or nurse will give you a list of food and drink items you have to avoid before the capsule endoscopy. Fast for 12 hours. Delay or not to take any medicines.
You will also have to ensure that your bowels are completely clean. For this you might either be given cleansing liquids or oral laxatives.
Steps of the capsule endoscopy process include:
You will be asked to swallow a very large capsule. This capsule has one or two video cameras (chips), a light bulb, a battery and a radio transmitter embedded in it.
You will be asked to wear a radio receiver to receive the signals from the capsule. This receiver is to be worn on the waist.
As the capsule passes through the digestive tract, it continuously takes photographs.
These photographs are transmitted via the radio transmitter.
The radio receiver receives these signals.
After 24 hours, the images are downloaded from the receiver for viewing by the doctor.The capsule is usually flushed out with the stools.
If you do not see the capsule in the stool, please contact your doctor. Your doctor may take few days to a week to analyze the video and would tell you the results of the test.
As with any procedure, capsule endoscopy involves certain risks and potential complications. It is a non-invasive and safe procedure. The only risk is that at times the capsule gets stuck in the digestive tract and doesn’t come out even after two weeks. This is not a serious risk. The doctor will wait for some more time for it to come out on its own but if it causes bowel obstruction it is taken out through conventional endoscopy or last resort is surgery.
Capsule endoscopy is a best way to look inside the small intestine. But it cannot allow for any treatment of a condition or disease.
Limitations of Capsule Endoscopy
The pictures captured could be blurred as the capsule may move rapidly in the system. This could lead to some abnormalities being missed.
Sometimes the capsule may move very slowly. This results in the battery being drained out before the entire digestive system is photographed.
The capsule itself can become an obstruction in the small intestine if the intestine has become narrow due to tumors or scarring.
Time consuming process of viewing thousands of photographs by the doctor.
Celiac Disease Q & A
What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the consumption of gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) triggers an intestinal immune response. It causes damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are consumed. Celiac disease is not the same thing as a gluten allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity.
What Are The Symptoms Of Celiac Disease?
Although the majority of people with Celiac disease are symptomatic, some people may have no symptoms at all. What are the symptoms of celiac disease?
Symptoms can include:
Digestive problems such as abdominal bloating, pain, gas, diarrhea, pale stools, and weight loss
A severe skin rash known as dermatitis herpetiformis
Iron deficiency anemia, or low blood count
Musculoskeletal issues including muscle cramps and joint or bone pain
Growth problems and failure to thrive in children
Tingling sensation in the legs caused by low calcium and nerve damage
Aphthous ulcers, these are sores in the mouth
Absent menstrual periods
How Is Celiac Diagnosed?
The first step towards diagnosing celiac disease is to take a full medical history and physical exam. If celiac disease is suspected, a blood drawing will be taken to be tested. A variety of tests will be done that can point towards a diagnosis of celiac. If a celiac panel is positive, the diagnosis must be confirmed by biopsy during an endoscopy because this test is much more accurate than the celiac panel. This is done under sedation, at which time the physician examines and takes biopsies of the small intestine with a thin, lighted, flexible endoscope.
How Is Celiac Treated?
It is very important to follow a gluten free diet if you have a known diagnosis of celiac disease. Over time, complete observance to a strict gluten free diet will allow the inflammation in the small intestine to lessen and healing to begin. Any ingestion of gluten can cause a flare in symptoms, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. Foods to avoid on a gluten free diet include:
It is important to read the ingredient labels on items bought in the grocery store to see if there is any source of gluten in the product. It is also important to ask servers when eating out if meals contain hidden sources of gluten, or if meals may be cooked in ways that contaminate food with gluten.
Colon Cancer Screening
Colon Cancer Screening Q & A
What Is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer occurs when healthy cells in the colon develop errors in their DNA. When a cell’s DNA is damaged and becomes cancerous, cells continue to divide — even when new cells aren’t needed. As the cells continue to gather, they form a tumor. With time, the cancer cells can grow to invade and destroy normal tissue nearby and can possibly spread to other parts of the body.
When Should I Have A Colon Cancer Screening?
If you’re over the age of 50, have a family history of colon cancer, or if you have suspicious symptoms that concern you, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Atif Shahzad for a colon cancer screening. Items to watch for which could indicate cancer include:
Blood in the stool
Unexplained stomach pain
Narrower than normal stool
Unusual changes in bowel patterns
Should I Have A Colon Cancer Screening If I Have No Symptoms?
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America for men. More and more cancers can be treated and cured when they are caught early on. Fortunately, most colorectal cancers are preventable with proper cancer screenings. Proper screenings are a crucial part of cancer prevention. Screenings ensure that early detection allows for the removal of precancerous polyps. Getting regular checkups and colon cancer screenings is the best way to find cancer early, making a cure more likely.
Are There Options When It Comes To Colon Cancer Screening?
Depending on the person’s age and family medical history, there are many screening procedures. If screening tests are recommended, they can include a barium enema, a stool testing, or a colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is currently the best test to diagnose and treat colon cancer. Schedule your colonoscopy today with Dr. Shahzad
Colonoscopy Q & A
What Is A Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a test used by a physician to examine the large intestine and rectum for any changes or abnormalities. A colonoscope is a long flexible tube attached with a tiny camera to the end of it, is inserted in the patient’s rectum and colon to get a visual of the inner workings and scan for possible problems. The doctor may suggest this procedure to identify causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation or diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal complaints. The colonoscopy is also commonly used in colon cancer screenings and used to check for polyps and remove them.
How Do I Prepare For The Colonoscopy?
Before this test is performed, you will need to clean out your colon. Your doctor will give you specific instructions before your test but most of the time preparation consists of:
One to two days before a colonoscopy, you will stop eating solid foods and drink only clear fluids, such as water, tea, coffee, clear juices, clear broths, flavored ice pops, and gelatin (such as Jell-O). avoid red and orange jello/drinks as they look like blood.
Your doctor will recommend a medicine for you to use to prepare for your colonoscopy. It will most likely be a prescription laxative tablet and/or a laxative solution.
Drink plenty of clear fluids during the prep so you will not get dehydrated. This will also help clean out your colon completely after you finish the colon prep.
Stop drinking clear liquids 6 to 8 hours before the colonoscopy.
Will Any Aftercare Be Necessary?
Following the procedure, the patient will usually spend about an hour resting in the doctor’s office or hospital to allow the sedative to wear off. The patient will need someone to drive him or her home. He or she may feel bloated or gassy for a few hours until any excess air is released from the colon. If any polyps are removed, the patient may notice a small amount of blood in the next bowel movement. The doctor will be in touch with the results of the test and suggestions for any follow-up appointments.
Colitis Q & A
What Is Colitis?
Colitis is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the colon and the onset of ulcers (open sores) that are filled with pus and mucus. The cause of colitis is unknown, although medical experts suggest that one possible cause is a malfunction of the immune system. Diet and stress can worsen symptoms of colitis. There also appears to be a link between heredity and colitis because the disease is more prevalent among people who have family members with colitis.
There are different types of colitis:
Crohn’s Disease – Affects any part of the digestive tract.
Left-Sided Colitis – Begins at the rectum and spreads to the splenic flexure (a bend in the colon near the spleen); causes abdominal pain in the left side of the abdomen.
Ischemic Colitis – Caused by reduced blood flow to the colon, typically due to blocked or narrowed blood vessels.
Pan-Ulcerative Colitis – Affects the entire colon.
Proctosigmoiditis – Affects the rectum and the sigmoid colon (lower portion of the rectum located right above the rectum).
Ulcerative Proctitis – Primarily affects the rectum.
Infectious colitis from a bacteria acute
What Are The Symptoms?
Symptoms of colitis can range from mild to severe and may include:
Abdominal and/or rectal pain
Diarrhea with blood or pus
Increased urge to defecate and/or inability to defecate despite urgency
Rectal bleeding and/or blood in the stool
Unexplained weight loss
Can It Be Treated And Cured?
For acute bacterial colitis antibioitcs can usually resolve the problem once a bacteria is identified. In Contrast, there is no known cure for chronic colitis like Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. and in some cases, it can lead to more serious, life-threatening conditions; however, proper treatment can significantly reduce symptoms and bring the disease into long-term remission. Patients with colitis in The Woodlands / Spring and Kingwood / Humble, Texas area, should schedule a consult with Dr. Shahzad to be properly evaluated and treated.
Diarrhea Q & A
What Is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is loose or watery bowel movements that are larger in volume than normal and occur more frequently than normal. A typical bout of diarrhea lasts a day or two, but sometimes it can be more chronic and last for weeks. Chronic diarrhea can be a sign of more serious gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Less serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can also be accompanied by chronic diarrhea.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Several things can cause diarrhea. Eating too much food and/or eating too fast—or both—can cause diarrhea. When food travels through the colon too quickly for the colon to absorb liquid from the food, it becomes a watery stool instead of a solid one. Viruses such as viral hepatitis can cause diarrhea as can bacteria from contaminated food and water.
Diarrhea is also a common side effect of certain medications, like antibiotics. People who are lactose and fructose intolerant may experience diarrhea after eating dairy and fruit. Some artificial sweeteners cause diarrhea. Certain medical conditions, such as colitis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common post-op symptom experienced by persons who have had abdominal surgery or gallbladder removal.
Should I See A Doctor?
Adults with diarrhea that lasts longer than two days are advised to see a doctor, just to be on the safe side. Other accompanying symptoms that warrant a doctor’s visit include:
Black or bloody stools
Dry mouth, excessive thirst, low urine output
Dizziness or light headedness
Fever above 102 F
Severe abdominal pain
Children with diarrhea lasting longer than 24 hours should be taken to a doctor right away, especially if it is accompanied by fever, black or bloody stools, dry mouth, drowsiness, irritability, or any other symptoms of concern.
If you have chronic diarrhea and live in the The Woodlands/Spring/Conroe and Kingwood/Humble area, give the office of Dr. Atif Shahzad a call today to come in for an examination and see what course of treatment will work best for you.
Gastro-Intestinal Cancer Screening
Gastrointestinal cancer is cancer that affects the organs in the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, small and large intestine, anus and rectum. It is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of normal cells that make up the digestive tract. The exact cause of gastrointestinal cancer is not clear. However, certain risk factors such as excessive alcohol intake, smoking, advanced age, diet rich in animal fat and salt, poorly preserved food and obesity may increase your risk of developing gastrointestinal cancer.
Symptoms of gastrointestinal cancer may include abdominal pain, discomfort or tenderness, change in shape, frequency or consistency of bowels, blood in stool, bloating, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss.
WHAT ARE HEMORRHOIDS?
Hemorrhoids refer to a condition where the veins in the lower rectum and around the anus get swollen, dilated and inflamed which may result in pain, itching, irritation, burning and sometimes bleeding.
Hemorrhoids are nothing to feel ashamed about. Nearly 75% of all Americans have hemorrhoids at some time in their lives. Dr. Shahzad is a highly specialized and experienced gastroenterologist with a focus on the treatment of minimally invasive internal hemorrhoid treament. He is the founder of Advanced Gastroenterology Center and has locations in Spring/The Woodlands/Conroe/ Humble/Kingwood that is dedicated to treating gastrointestinal problems. He has helped hundreds of patients in the greater Houston area alleviate their hemorrhoid discomfort and pain with the help of hemorrhoid banding, or rubber band ligation treatment.
Hemorrhoid banding is fast, reliable, and painless and works for more than 95% of hemorrhoid patients. The procedure is performed within the office and is significantly cheaper than other alternatives. It’s important to consult an expert gastroenterologist like Dr. Shahzad if you feel anal pain or discomfort because as a hemorrhoid grows, the number of non-surgical options decreases.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Q & A
What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the intestines that creates abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. The symptoms can differ from day to day. The cause of the condition can be different for different people. IBS can be the result of digestive issues, stress, or anxiety. Those with IBS might also have uniquely sensitive intestines or problems with intestinal muscle movement. Particular foods, stress, hormonal changes, and certain antibiotics can trigger discomfort and symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of IBS?
Symptoms of IBS can include:
Changes in bowel movement patterns
Bloating and surplus gas
Discomfort the lower abdomen
Mucus in the stool
A person is more likely to have the condition if these symptoms last at least six months, there is abdominal pain at least three days a month for at least three months, and if at least two of the following apply:
The discomfort is relieved by a bowel movement
The discomfort is connected to a change in how often there is a bowel movement
The discomfort is connected to a change in the consistency or appearance of the stool
Are There Other Indications Of IBS?
Other symptoms which do not affect the intestines directly can be connected to IBS, including:
Anxiety or depression
An unpleasant taste in the mouth
Sleep problems, such as insomnia, not caused by symptoms
Sexual issues, including pain during sex or reduced sexual desire
Heart palpitations, feeling as if the heart skips a beat or is fluttering
Urinary symptoms like the frequent or urgent need to urinate, difficulty starting the urine stream, or difficulty emptying the bladder
Symptoms usually occur after eating, during times of stress, and during menstruation. IBS is a chronic condition, however , Dr Shahzad has many options at the practice which can help a person find relief and get back to enjoying life.
RECTAL BLEEDING SPECIALIST
The occurrence of blood in the rectal area can be alarming, especially if pain does not accompany it. Dr. Atif Shahzad, MD, is a qualified gastroenterologist in The Woodlands / Spring and Kingwood / Humble, Texas area who specializes in treating patients with rectal bleeding.
Rectal Bleeding Q & A
What Is Rectal Bleeding?
Rectal bleeding is the passing of blood from the anus. The bleeding typically stems from the lower colon or rectum. Rectal bleeding may occur as a presence of blood in your stool, or you may notice it when you wipe after a bowel movement. Blood from the rectum may range in color from bright to dark red to a dark tar color. Rectal bleeding may or may not be accompanied by pain.
What Causes Rectal Bleeding?
Several medical conditions can cause rectal bleeding. The most common causes are anal fissures (tears in the skin of the anus), chronic constipation, polyps in the colon, hard stools, and hemorrhoids. Less common causes include: anal and colon cancer, colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulosis, diarrhea, and rectal prolapse.
Should I Go To The Emergency Room?
You should see a doctor if you have rectal bleeding that lasts longer than one or two days, and it is causing much concern. If your rectal bleeding is heavy and continuous and is accompanied by anal pain and/or severe abdominal pain, immediately go—or have someone take you—to the nearest emergency room. If you have rectal bleeding accompanied by the following symptoms, immediately call 911 (or have someone call 911 for you):
Cold, clammy skin
Dizziness or light-headedness, fainting
Low urine output
Rapid, shallow breathing
Severe abdominal pain
Are You Experiencing Rectal Bleeding?
Rectal bleeding, no matter how minimal it is, should not be taken lightly. Often it a symptom of an underlying, more serious condition that may become life-threatening if left untreated.
Dr. Atif Shahzad, MD, is a board-certified gastroenterologist who specializes in treating various gastrointestinal disorders and has successfully treated many patients with rectal bleeding in The Woodlands / Spring/ Conroe and Kingwood / Humble, Texas area. If you are experiencing rectal bleeding, call the offices of Dr. Shahzad today to schedule an appointment 281-893-4488.