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What is ERCP and What Are the Procedure’s Benefits?

What is ERCP and What Are the Procedure’s Benefits?

   ercp_procedure_benefitsWhat Is ERCP?

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) uses an endoscope, or thin, flexible tube, to create an image of the inside of the bile ducts (cholangitis), pancreatic duct, spleen, and lymph nodes.

In patients with biliary obstruction, cholangitis, or suspected pancreatic cancer, ERCP can assess for disease and guide treatment.

ERCP is performed as an outpatient procedure with sedation and anaesthesia, and it generally takes less than 2 hours.

 

The Benefits of ERCP Include:

-Viewing the inside of the bile ducts

-Confirming disease

-Providing a map for potential treatments

-Finding the source of a blockage

-Determining if a blockage is severe

-Determining the severity of a suspected cancer

-MRI

-PET imaging

-Ultrasound

 

The Procedure

E.R.C.P is an acronym for Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography.

It is a medical procedure used by your doctor to diagnose liver conditions if liver function is compromised.

E.R.C.P. may be advised for diagnosing gallstones, treatments of certain pancreatic diseases, and managing some digestive disorders.

These types of conditions are difficult to diagnose without this type of endoscopic imaging.

A special tube is inserted into the mouth and throat, which is then expanded to reach past the stomach and into the pancreatic duct. The endoscope allows the doctor to view the inside of the ducts.

In a lot of cases this procedure is used to find the problem from the inside, taking pictures of the stomach for example.

The procedure also allows things to be inserted inside to help with any complications, such as the removal of stones from the gall bladder to help with pain.

ERCP has a lot of benefits, such as finding the problem from the inside, things being inserted to help alleviate the problem, and the benefits of a healthier intestine.

 

ercp_procedure_and_benefits

What Happens During the Procedure?

Endoplasmic reticulum cisternae (ER, or simply cisternae) are the spaces of the hepatocyte. They are further divided into rough and smooth ER.

The hepatocyte functions in the liver’s detoxification process and lipid metabolism, so any changes in the hepatocyte’s ER could affect these functions.

This can be seen in hepatocytes with steatosis and hepatocyte injury. Changes that occur in hepatocyte ER can lead to the development of chronic liver diseases like that seen in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Ethology and pathogenesis of these changes in hepatocytes remain unknown. 

These changes in hepatocyte ER may be caused by an aggregation of Tau protein (α-synuclein) in hepatocyte ER.

This aggregation of Tau protein (α-synuclein) may be responsible for the changes in hepatocyte ER.

These changes in hepatocyte ER can be seen in hepatocytes with steatosis and hepatocyte injury.

 

How ERCP Works

ERCP is an endoscopic procedure that assesses and treats problems in the bile duct and pancreas. ERCP is endoscopic because we use a long, thin tube to examine and treat the patient.

An endoscope is a thin tube that is inserted into your mouth and end endows the viewer with a sight like no other.

Endoscopic video and light systems allow the viewer to see and diagnose problems and to treat them. ERCP is an imaging procedure that utilizes an endoscope to visualize the bile ducts of the gallbladder, pancreas, and duodenum sometimes.

The radiographer feeds the bile ducts over the end of the tube.

The radiographer may also inject contrast into the bile duct, which shows up on CSF so they can see the problem better. Sometimes the radiographer will need to remove stones, stones, or tumors to treat the patient.

 

 

what_is_ercp_and_benefits

Types of ERCP: 

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, is the use of an endoscope to treat various problems in the bile ducts and pancreas. There are two different types of ERCP.

The first type, called mechanical ERCP, uses insertion of an endoscope to mechanically clear an obstruction in the duct if it fails to do so naturally.

The second type, called chemical ERCP, involves injection of fluid into or around an obstruction in the duct.

 

ercp_procedure_and_benefits

Benefits of ERCP

The Procedure has many benefits, one being it provides a method of removing pancreatic stones.

It can also be used to diagnose pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and pancreatic trauma via the insertion of a small tube used to collect a sample of tissue from the pancreas.

ERCP can be the solution to many pancreatic diseases and is one of the most minimally invasive procedures available to treat these diseases.

 

How Long Does It Take?

ERCP is a surgical procedure where a probe is used to view and treat problems in the bile and pancreatic duct. It is usually done by sedation or general anaesthesia.

It takes forty-five minutes to an hour to complete the procedure.

 

How Safe Is the Procedure?

ERCP is one of those procedures that has been improving over the years, with physicians taking increasingly clearer and safer images of the small intestine and surrounding areas of the body.

Different types of doctors will have different procedures that their patients may need to get treatment for and/or diagnosed for.

The ERCP procedure itself, is something that can be done safely overall as long as there are no complications, or any sort of damage being done to other parts of the body inadvertently.

Overall, ERCP isn’t an overly complicated procedure if it’s performed by a highly trained physician, who can prepare you properly before they begin.

 

Is It Right for You

ERCP offers a different perspective other than a traditional endoscopy.

In patients that have a stricture or other obstruction in their bile duct, this test could be beneficial to evaluate the size of the stricture and the bile duct.

Without a strong foothold at the common bile duct, a surgical procedure to remove the obstruction might be needed to diagnose and treat the obstruction.

ERCP is a minimally invasive procedure. The patient can go home a few hours after the procedure. And it is an outpatient procedure.

Granted, this procedure may not be the best option for everyone, but if you have been diagnosed or suspect you have a stricture or other obstructions in your bile duct, then ERCP may be the exam for you. 

Who Should Not Be Referred for Procedure?

Patients with the following disorders should not be referred for this procedure:

  • During pregnancy
  • Unhealthy liver
  • Poor kidney function
  • Bleeding or clotting disorders

 

ercp_procedure_benefits

Conclusion

An ERCP is Used to Observe, Diagnose and Screen the:

  • Diseases of the gallbladder
  • Biliary system
  • Pancreas
  • Liver

In addition, ERCP can be used to treat problems in these parts of the digestive system.

Dr Deetlefs has admitting rights and performs endoscopies at both Mediclinic Milnerton and Life Vincent Pallotti Hospitals.

To learn more about the complexity of your gut and the opportunity for you to contribute to the scientific pursuit of gastrointestinal knowledge, visit our Cape Town office or visit our website.

We are gastroenterologist experts using patient-focused GI treatment and procedures in Cape Town.

If you haven’t been scheduled for a colonoscopy and want to get one, make an appointment now.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

Connect with Us

© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Colon Polyps: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Colon Polyps: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

 colon_polyps_signs_symptoms_infographic Overview

Gastrointestinal colon polyps are small, benign tumors that grow on the inner lining of your large intestines. Polyps can be present on the surface of the intestine or inside the intestine.

They are not cancerous and do not spread to other parts of the body. However, polyps can become cancerous. Gastrointestinal polyps are easy to diagnose.

There are many methods for diagnosing them including colonoscopy, wherein a scope is inserted from the anus to examine the outer large intestine.

Polyps can grow anywhere in the large intestine and tumours can grow on the inner lining of the intestine or on the surfaces of the small intestine.

In this article you will get some more information on colon polyps and which symptoms to look for, diagnosis and treatments offered.

 

What are Colon Polyps?

Colon polyps are growths of tissue that develop in the colon, which is also known as the large intestine. While they might come in several sizes, these growths can easily become cancerous.

Having too many fat cells or having too little exercising and eating healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 will raise this risk.

Colon polyps can also come from your genes and giving people a reason to always look out after themselves even if it isn’t an option for you. Therefore, more research on improving treatments needs to be made.

Colorectal polyps are small, fleshy growths that form on the inner lining of the large intestine. They can occur in both noncancerous and cancerous tissues and appear as small, fleshy growths.

While it’s not uncommon to see your doctor for a yearly screening, there are many easy yet effective steps you can take to protect your colorectal health.

Be sure to eat plenty of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes; exercise regularly; drink lots of water; maintain a healthy weight; reduce your consumption of saturated fats (such as those found in red meat) and salt (many processed foods contain added salt).
 

Signs and Symptoms of Polyps

Some of the most common signs of polyps include rectal bleeding, rectal bleeding and abdominal pain.

Although some people can often get away with simple microsurgeries to get rid of the cancer, repeat surgeries may still be required.

Even if performed carefully and properly, cancer can recur after bowel surgery. Ask your doctor to refer you for a colonoscopy if your see any of these signs and symptoms of polyps in yourself or a loved one.

Inflammation in the area may be a sign that a polyp is in a precancerous stage in some cases, they need to be removed.

When symptoms or signs occur, they may include:

  • Bloody stool
  • Black Stool
  • Weakness
  • Light-headedness
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation if the polyp is very large and obstructs the colon
  • Intestinal obstruction including abdominal pain and distention, nausea, and vomiting.

colon_polyps_signs_symptoms_treatment

Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Colon Polyps

Colon polyps are typically identified through colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy is where a tube is inserted into the anus and it is used to view the lining of the rectum, the lower part of the large intestine, the lowest part of the small intestine, and the cecum, which is located at the point where the small intestine empties into the large intestine.

The procedure can also detect anomalies in these areas. If polyps are found, they can be removed during the colonoscopy.

These tests can also help find colorectal cancer in its early stages.

Virtual Colonoscopy – Virtual colonoscopy is a special X-ray examination of the colon using low dose computed tomography (CT) and is a less invasive procedure than a conventional colonoscopy.

As the popularity of virtual colonoscopy continues to grow, some healthcare consultant across the world is recommending that students at highest risk for developing bowel cancer, who are more likely to suffer early onset of the disease than older patients, undergo screening tests more regularly.

This test looks for changes in the lining of your digestive tract on a monitor instead of an actual colonoscopy.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy – This is an endoscopic procedure that allows your doctor to do an examination of the rectum and lower colon.   A sigmoidoscope consists of a thin flexible lighted tube with a camera at the tip to visualize the area.

Stool-based Test – These tests look at the stool (feces) for possible signs of colorectal cancer or polyps and can be done at home. A stool-based test however does need to be done more often. 

 

How to Prepare for Colonoscopy

The most important thing that you need to know before going into a colonoscopy is that it is an invasive procedure.

In order for you to be as prepared as possible for your colonoscopy, you need to start preparing the day before your procedure.

Diligent studies have shown that colonoscopy is one of the most effective ways to detect early signs of colon cancer in humans.

While anticipatory anxiety can make preparing for a bowel prep seem more trouble than it’s worth, it is essential to prepare adequately in order to maximize the effectiveness of this screening procedure.

When you are scheduled for a routine examination, it is important for you to coordinate with your health care provider in advance in order to ensure that you are able to complete this procedure in full.

Whether or not you’ve had a colonoscopy before, this process will likely differ in some aspects from your previous experience, making preparation all the more essential.

Bowel prep medication will be prescribed by your doctor to ensure you are fully prepped for your colonoscopy.

That way, your doctor will have a clear view of your colon and ileocecal valve.

Therefore, it is vital not to eat or drink anything before going in for a colonoscopy.

 

Treatment of Gastrointestinal Colon Polyps

There are many different types of treatment options available for gastrointestinal colon polyps.

One of these treatment options is to remove the polyps.

If your doctor decides to remove the polyps, during this procedure your surgeon will need to cut the polyps away from the colon wall, and then resect the polyps as far as they can reach within the colon.

The treatment option that your doctor chooses should depend on the location and size of the polyps.

If you want to determine if you need surgery to remove the polyps, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy.
 

colon_polyps_symptoms

Prevention of Gastrointestinal Colon Polyps

 

 

In order to prevent polyps from forming, you should reduce your risk of getting one on a regular basis.

  1. Diet – Eating foods that are high in fiber is a great way to increase the weight and density of the stool, which helps minimize the chances of an abnormality being able to break free from the lining.

Food high in fiber:

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Avocados
  • Popcorn
  • Whole Grains
  • Apples
  • Dried Fruits
  • Potatoes
  • Nuts
  1. Exercise regularly – a greater frequency of bowel movements means increased risk for polyps. Limit your intake of red meat and processed food, as they have been proven to have additional harmful side-effects for health beyond their nutritional value.

colon_polyps_signs_symptoms_infographic

Conclusion

 

 

No one should ever ignore symptoms like fecal blood because this could lead to serious health issues for yourself and loved ones.

Understanding symptoms is important when finding preventions for unwanted conditions in your body.

Dr Deetlefs has admitting rights and performs endoscopies at both Mediclinic Milnerton and Life Vincent Pallotti Hospitals.

To learn more about the complexity of your gut and the opportunity for you to contribute to the scientific pursuit of gastrointestinal knowledge, visit our Cape Town office or visit our website.

We are gastroenterologist experts using patient-focused GI treatment and procedures in Cape Town.

If you haven’t been scheduled for a colonoscopy and want to get one, make an appointment now.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

Connect with Us

© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

IBD: What You Should Know About Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

IBD: What You Should Know About Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

recurrent_abdominal_pain_casues_symptoms

What is IBD

 

Inflammatory bowel disease, the umbrella term to describe a range of disorders that involve chronic inflammation of your digestive tract.

There are two types of inflammatory bowel disease:

Ulcerative Colitis – Also known as UC, is a long-term condition that affects the large intestine. It causes inflammation and sores on the colon and rectum.

The inflammation and ulcers often bleed and produce pus, which can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain and can lead to dehydration and weight loss.

Crohn’s Disease – Crohn’s Disease, also known as regional enteritis or ileitis, is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract.

Crohn’s Disease causes stomach pain, severe diarrhea, weight loss, and problems with the bowels.

 

Ulcerative Colitis Explained

 

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, lifelong condition that inflames and damages the large intestine.

The inflammation usually affects the rectum and the lining of the colon, which is called the mucosa. 

The inflammation can be silent, not causing any symptoms, although in some cases, ulcerative colitis can lead to rectal bleeding and abdominal cramps. 
 ulcerative_colitis_explained

Signs And Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis include frequent bowel movements, rectal pain, abdominal cramps, nausea, and they are in the order of severity.

It also may lead to:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Fever

Complications from the long-term inflammation of ulcerative colitis may include:

Your doctor can prescribe medication to alleviate pain for this disorder.

 

causes_of_ulcerative_colitis


Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

 
The primary cause of ulcerative colitis is not known.

What we do know is that the immune system is involved. In many people, there is a genetic predisposition to ulcerative colitis. 

In addition, there are infections that can trigger the immune system to attack the colon.

Finally, there are an abundance of bacteria in the colon that can produce substances that cause inflammation. This inflammation will then cause ulcers in the colon.

 

How Common is Ulcerative Colitis

One out of every three people living in the United States will be diagnosed with a disease of the gastrointestinal tract during their lifetime.

It is estimated that over 700,000 people in the United States gets affected by ulcerative colitis and is found in all parts of the world.

Gastrointestinal diseases can be debilitating and include severe disorders such as Ulcerative Colitis.

However, some Gastrointestinal diseases are not as severe as others such as Gastroparesis and IBS.

Gastroparesis is a condition of the stomach that impairs it from functioning properly. IBS is irritable bowel syndrome. 

IBS causes the intestines to become over-distended and produce diarrhea.


How Ulcerative Colitis can be Diagnosed
 

Ulcerative colitis is usually diagnosed by Colonoscopy that is done by your Gastroenterologist.

The following treatments for Ulcerative Colitis include:

  • Immunomodulators
  • Antibiotics
  • Steroids
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Surgery

treatment_options_for_ulcerative_colitis

 

Treatment Options for Ulcerative Colitis

Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis is aimed at restoring the diseased colon to a healthy condition.

The treatment of choice is the combination of drug therapies that are formulated to work in different ways to reduce inflammation, get rid of infection, and get the body working to heal the intestine.

 

Crohn’s Disease Explained

 

The digestive system is the human body’s food-processing centre.

From the mouth to the anus, the gastrointestinal tract processes the food we eat.
Along the way, the body absorbs nutrients, eliminates waste, and protects against outside invasion.

Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to attack the lining of your digestive track.

This attack produces inflammation that leads to:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight Loss

Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition and has no certain cure, but diet adjustments can provide some relief.

 

crohns_disease_symptoms

 

Signs And Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

The following are the common Crohn’s disease symptoms. 

  • IBS
  • Constipation
  • A blockage or injury to the large intestine (colon)
  • Abdominal pain
  • A blockage in the small intestine can cause abdominal pain or cramping
  • Discomfort while passing gas (stomach acid backs up into the large intestine) 
  • Dizziness 
  • Difficulty passing air 
  • Upper abdominal pain 
  • Vomiting 
  • Malnutrition
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite 

Should you experience any of the above symptoms, you should see a doctor and get professional help in treating your disease as this can affect your quality of life.

 

How Crohn’s Disease Can Be Diagnosed


The diagnosis of Crohn’s disease is done on physical examination, various lab tests, clinical studies and MRI scans.

Diagnostic tests for Crohn’s disease can be classified as:

Blood test:

A blood tests check for white blood cells that may indicate inflammation or infection.
The test also checks for low red blood cell count, or anemia.

Stool test:

This test looks at a sample of your stool to check for bacteria or parasites.
It can rule out infections that cause chronic diarrhea.

 

Colonoscopy:

Your doctor threads a long, thin tube called an endoscope through your mouth and into your throat. An attached camera allows your doctor to see inside.

During an upper endoscopy, your doctor may also take tissue samples.

 

Tips for Managing Crohn’s Disease

 

It is always advised that you have a gluten-free diet, so that you reduce the amount of gut bacterial strains that are more likely to cause a Crohn’s disease flare.

Opt for healthy low-fiber diet.

This includes fresh foods, especially vegetables. It is good to add plenty of fiber in your diet. This is essential, so that you can better absorb essential nutrients.

 

Best food for Crohn’s disease flare-ups:

  • Oatmeal
  • Grains
  • Low-fiber fruits
  • Peeled or poached fruit
  • Prepared vegetables
  • Juices
  • Lean meat
  • Oily fish

 

Foods to Avoid:

  • High-fiber foods
  • Vegetables with their peels
  • Popcorn, nuts and whole grains
  • Raw green vegetables
  • Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower
  • Red meat
  • Unhealthful fats, such as those in butter, coconut oil, and margarine
  • Salty foods, including processed foods and ready meals
  • Fruits with skins and seeds
  • Spicy foods
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Foods containing sugar alcohols, including many low-sugar or sugar-free products 

healthy_eatin_ulcerative_colitis

Treatment Options for Crohn’s Disease


Antibiotics may be used to cure Crohn’s disease.

The medication that a doctor will prescribe depends on the severity of the symptoms.

The severity of the symptoms depends on the frequency of your attacks.

As the frequency of your attacks increases, the severity of your disease symptoms will also increase.

Blood tests are used to test your levels of platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells. Platelets and white blood cells help the blood to clot.

Currently, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease.

However, some measures can be taken to improve the quality of life for those who suffer from it.

These typically include:

  • Dietary restrictions
  • Physical therapy
  • Usage of anti-inflammatory drugs like steroids and thiopurines.

 

IBD_Crohns_ulcerative_colitis

 

There Is Hope…


Autoimmune diseases are genetic disorders that have a person’s immune system attacking its own healthy cells.

The symptoms are physical signs and not just a big picture of the patient’s health.

Although these remedies might alleviate the pain, it is recommended to get a professional diagnosis from your doctor or gastroenterologist in order to discuss the way forward.

If you would like to book an appointment with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist or would simply like more information on a particular GI topic, don’t hesitate to use our online booking form or call Dr. Deetlefs at 021 551 867.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

Connect with Us

© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Gastroscopy: Benefits and Risks Explained

Gastroscopy: Benefits and Risks Explained

 Overview 

In a gastroscopy the contents of the stomach, duodenum and upper jejunum are inspected by inserting a flexible tube with a camera lens called an endoscope.

This endoscope goes through your mouth and down your oesophagus taking pictures of the inside of these areas.

The procedure is usually done as a day patient, that means that you do not need to spend the night in hospital.

When necessary, during the examination, a number of small procedures can also be carried out. These procedures may include:

  • Taking a small tissue sample (biopsy)
  • Stopping bleeding from an ulcer
  • Removal of polyps

What is a Gastroscopy

Abdominal pain is arguably the most common complaint among men and women, with women being more susceptible to one specific type of pain known as functional abdominal pain.

Functional abdominal pain refers to recurrent abdominal pain and is one of the most common childhood and adolescent complaints. It is true pain that can be quite severe.

Functional abdominal pain syndrome (FAPS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder, which involves chronic or frequent pain that does not result from a specific, identifiable cause.

The vast majority of children and adolescents with recurrent abdominal pain have functional abdominal pain or “non-organic” pain, which means the pain is not caused by physical abnormalities.

It’s an extremely unpleasant sensation that can be likened to severe menstrual cramping accompanied by bloating and nausea.

The endoscope is inserted through the mouth, down the oesophagus, stomach and into the duodenum through a tiny opening called the stoma.

The endoscope is then advanced towards the oesophagus, where it enters through the oesophageal (or oesophageal) pouch, or the oesophagus (which connects to the stomach).

Gastroscopy is one of the most common outpatient procedures in gastroenterology, and is performed on patients in many different ways, including the following:

Gastro Barium Swallow

A barium swallow, also called an esophagogram, is an imaging test that checks for problems in your upper GI tract. 

Your upper GI tract includes your mouth, back of the throat, oesophagus, stomach, and first part of your small intestine.

Angiography

Angiography is an imaging test that uses X-rays to view your body’s blood vessels. The X-rays provided by an angiography are called angiograms.

This test is used to study narrow, blocked, enlarged, or malformed arteries or veins in many parts of your body, including your brain, heart, abdomen, and legs.

gastroscopy_procedure explaiend


Gastroscopy Procedure Explained

An endoscope is similar to a video camera.

When a gastroscopy is performed, a doctor inserts the camera and, with help from two small stents called guidewires, guides the camera through the food pipe and into the body.

During the procedure, the gastroscopy camera can capture X-ray images and video of the food pipe and other internal organs of the body.

The video image is combined with other diagnostic information gathered during the endoscope procedure to help determine a problem.

First, the gastroscopy camera is inserted into the stomach. This is usually done through a small opening called a trocar in the stomach.

The trocar is then pushed through the food pipe to the duodenum (first part of the small intestine)

Located between the stomach and the middle part of the small intestine, or jejunum.

After foods mix with stomach acid, they move into the duodenum, where they mix with bile from the gallbladder and digestive juices from the pancreas.

The absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients begins in the duodenum.

 

gastroscopy_risks_and_benefits_explained

Common Uses for Gastroscopy

 The procedure can be used to:  

  • Check on a problem with food, such as reflux, vomiting and acid reflux, which can cause chest pain or difficulty swallowing.
  • Check for any signs of chronic pancreatitis, such as abdominal pain and food intolerance.
  • Check the liver for abnormalities, such as a viral infection.
  • Check for internal bleeding or trauma, or any underlying problem with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
  • During the procedure, a small instrument called an endoscope is used to look inside the GI tract.

The endoscope is inserted into the nose, down the throat, into the stomach and duodenum and into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum.

Gastroscopy Benefits

The gastroscopy helps to diagnose a number of conditions including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and duodenal ulcers.  

GERD is a long-term condition in which the oesophagus becomes irritated and irritated food moves backwards up into the oesophagus and the stomach. 

Doctors use gastroscopy to look at the stomach from the front and side and make a diagnosis. 

It may be used to see if the stomach lining has become damaged, ulcerated, or inflamed. 

The procedure takes only 15 minutes, and a gastroscopy may be done at home after asking a few questions. The surgery can be done under general anaesthetic, although you may have to stay in hospital for the night.  

A gastroscopy is not used to look at the stomach after a patient eats food.
 

risks_with_gastroscopy


Risks Associated with A Gastroscopy

The most common risk of a gastroscopy is vomiting.

To prevent this, the endoscope is passed down the throat and the patient may swallow a barbiturate or an anti-emetic. If there is an allergic reaction, it may stop the procedure.

Occasionally, a gastric or oesophageal obstruction, which may prevent the stomach from emptying, may be detected with a gastroscopy.

This can be treated by allowing the gas time to move around the stomach and remove the obstruction.

In most cases, the procedure is done under local or general anaesthesia.

Upper endoscopy is a safe procedure and complications are uncommon. 

The following is a list of possible complications: 

Aspiration (inhaling) of food or fluids into the lungs, the risk of which can be minimised by not eating or drinking for the recommended period of time before the examination.

The endoscope can cause a tear or hole in the tissue being examined. This is a serious complication but fortunately occurs only rarely.

Bleeding can occur from biopsies or the removal of polyps, although it is usually minimal and stops quickly on its own or can be easily controlled.

Reactions to the sedative medications are possible; the endoscopy team (doctors and nurses) will ask about previous medication allergies or reactions and about health problems such as heart, lung, kidney, or liver disease. 

Providing this information to the team ensures a safer examination. 

The medications may produce irritation in the vein at the site of the intravenous line. If redness, swelling, or discomfort occurs, you should call your doctor. 

The following signs and symptoms should be reported immediately:

  • Severe abdominal pain (more than gas cramps)
  • A firm, distended abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Any temperature elevation
  • Difficulty swallowing or severe throat pain
  • A crunching feeling under the skin of the neck

What Should I Expect After a Gastroscopy?

Most patients tolerate endoscopy very well and feel fine afterwards. Some fatigue is common after the examination, and you should plan to take it easy and relax the rest of the day.

The doctor can describe the result of the examination before you leave the hospital.

If biopsies have been taken or polyps removed your doctor will discuss further follow-up arrangements with you.

First 24 hours after your procedure:

  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Do not drive or use heavy machines
  • Do not make important decisions or sign any legal papers
  • Do not take any sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or medicines that make you drowsy
     

gastroscopy_benefits_and_risks_explained

 

Find a GI Specialist

There are various reason a patient might need to see a gastroenterologists.

The digestive system, also referred to as the gut or the gastrointestinal tract, is as important as any other system in the body and should be given the same level of care as others.

For further information on the procedures we perform, as well as how they can assist in diagnosing illnesses, contact Dr. Deetlefs today to schedule your appointment.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

Connect with Us

© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Recurrent Abdominal Pain – The Causes & Treatment of This Unpleasant Condition

Recurrent Abdominal Pain – The Causes & Treatment of This Unpleasant Condition

recurrent_abdominal_pain_casues_symptoms 

What is Abdominal Pain

 

Recurrent abdominal pain also referred to as RAP or ROP can be identified by a combination of nausea, vomiting, weight loss and pains in the abdomen.

This is a symptom of a problem that may need further medical care.

In most instances, recurrent abdominal pain can be caused by a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.

It is also possible to have RAP with different symptoms such as cramping and severe stomach aches.

It isn’t constant or agonizing to care for proper treatment, especially since pain might be alarming at first, however recurrent abdominal ache situations can fortunately be diagnosed and treated.

There is no need to suffer from frequent abdominal aches.

Let’s see how RAP can be caused, diagnosed and treated.
 

Main Causes of Abdominal Pain

 

The most common cause of abdominal pain is indigestion, or more specifically gastritis.

This occurs when the lining of the stomach becomes irritated from any number of ailments, including stress, overeating and consumption of certain foods.

Another reason for pain in the stomach area could be a hernia, which occurs when fat pushes through a weak point in your abdominal muscles.

Some other reasons that pain could occur in your gut include appendicitis and hepatitis, both of which are difficult to say without proper diagnosis.

If you’re experiencing any sort of discomfort in your abdomen you should see a doctor right away because these conditions can escalate quickly and lead to deadly consequences if left completely untreated.
 

causes_of_abdominal_pain

 

Different Types / Variants of Abdominal Pain

When it comes to abdominal pain, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.

That said, there are several different ways of tackling the issue of stomach pain.

The following is a rough overview of different variants of abdominal pain.

Ideally, it’s always worth going in for a proper medical examination in case things are more serious than you think. 

  • Sharp Pain in Upper Right Abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Burning Sensation or Upper Stomach Pain
  • Sharp Pain in Lower Right Side of the Abdomen
  • Diarrhea Abdominal Pain
  • Abdominal Pain with Bloating
  • Bloody Diarrhea and Cramping
  • Bodily Discomfort with Constipation or Diarrhea

 

Symptoms Associated with Abdominal Pain

 

The way you feel when you have abdominal pains varies from person to person, but there are a few consistent symptoms that everyone can identify with.

Although it is not possible to get a diagnosis from the list of abdominal pain symptoms alone, these areas of concern should put people out of their misery by ruling out certain conditions.

However, it is important to remember that even though the pain appears localised to an area of the abdomen, they can still be caused by any organ within the body – not just the abdominal organs themselves.

Here are some of the symptoms associated with abdominal pain:

  • Bloating
  • Gas  
  • Indigestion
  • Discomfort in the upper left or right; middle; or lower left or right abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux)
  • Heartburn
  • Chest discomfort
  • Belching
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic discomfort

recurrent_abdominal_pain_symptoms

 

How to Diagnose and Treat Abdominal Pain


Abdominal pain is arguably the most common complaint among men and women, with women being more susceptible to one specific type of pain known as functional abdominal pain.

It’s an extremely unpleasant sensation that can be likened to severe menstrual cramping accompanied by bloating and nausea.

Men can express pain in different ways, such as gastroenteritis or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which indicates that they will need a different approach when diagnosing their problem.

It’s vital experts figure out what is exactly causing the abdomen pain so it can be treated efficiently and effectively.

The causes of abdominal pain vary broadly and therefore each case must be dealt with on its own terms through a thorough evaluation and proper diagnosis process.
 

diagnosing_abdominal_pain

 

Home Remedies to Cure Abdominal Pain

 

Some common home remedies to cure abdominal pain include: 

Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great natural remedy to many digestive problems. It helps to balance the acidity of the stomach, which we need in order to properly digest food.
 

Abdominal Massage
If you have been experiencing stomach pain and constipation, a gentle abdominal massage can help move things along and relieve the intestinal blockages that may be causing the stomach pain.

Gently massage this area with your forefinger and middle finger in a clockwise motion to stimulate muscle contractions and break up food that may be stuck in the intestines, due to overeating.

Breath Work
When you are stressed, your body enters a state of “fight or flight” – not “rest and digest”. This can make digestion difficult, which can lead to stomach-ache.

To help with digestion, take 3-5 deep breaths in and out before you sit down to eat. This will recentre your body and shift your focus to digesting food. If you start experiencing stomach-aches, try this trick before the meal starts!

Drink Water
Water is a key nutrient that helps hydrate the colon, speed up elimination and support the small intestine bacteria.

Drinking enough water daily can help prevent constipation and acid reflux. One way to remember to drink plenty of water is by downloading one of these free water-drinking apps.

Ginger
Ginger is a fantastic natural stimulant to digestion, like apple cider vinegar. 

If you have fresh ginger in your house or can quickly go out to the grocery store to get some, break off about 1 centimeter of it and chew on it for a few minutes.

Aloe Juice
When you’re suffering from a sunburn, it’s common to turn to aloe. The plant has been used for centuries to soothe skin and heal wounds, but aloe can have a number of other benefits as well. One of those is that it can be soothing for the cells in your digestive tract.

Bone Broth
Bone broth is rich in both collagen and gelatine, which help to repair damage to cells.

If you eat a nutrient-poor diet, have a known digestive health condition, or have taken medications that may have compromised the integrity of the digestive tract, cellular damage may have occurred, and bone broth can be extremely healing.  Here’s how to make your own.

Peppermint Essential Oil
The benefits of ginger and apple cider vinegar are well documented, and research suggests that peppermint oil offers similar benefits.

Peppermint oil is a great substitute for ginger or apple cider vinegar if these ingredients aren’t available due to illness or travel. It can also be used to treat muscle spasms in the stomach lining and colon.

 Lemon Tea or Water
Lemons are another go-to for digestive health remedies. Lemons also help to entice proper digestive secretions to ensure your food is properly broken down and moving along in your system.

If your stomach isn’t feeling so great after a meal, make a hot lemon tea, or simply add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to a cup of water.

 

recurrent_abdominal_pain_casues_symptoms

  

Summary


Although these remedies might alleviate the pain, it is recommended to get a professional diagnosis from your doctor or gastroenterologist in order to discuss the way forward.

If you would like to book an appointment with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist or would simply like more information on a particular GI topic, don’t hesitate to use our online booking form or call Dr. Deetlefs at 021 551 867. 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

Connect with Us

© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Iron Deficiency Anemia: A Comprehensive Guide

Iron Deficiency Anemia: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction
 

Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia — a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues.

Iron deficiency is a common issue amongst people from all age groups. It can lead to anemia.

In this comprehensive guide, we provide an analysis on the symptoms, causes, and possible ways to prevent and treat the condition. 

 

What is Iron Deficiency Anemia

 

For some people, life can be a daily struggle. For a person with a blood disorder, a chronic illness, or a serious injury, staying healthy can be a never-ending battle.

There is a new weapon in the fight against the physical, mental, and emotional stresses that impact our daily lives – iron deficiency anemia.

Iron is an important nutrient needed to prevent anemia. Anemia occurs when there is a lack of healthy red blood cells.

Your body gets iron from food, so anemia can occur if you do not have enough iron in your diet. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia worldwide.

The World Health Organization estimates that 30% of the world’s population is anaemic, and half of that is due to iron deficiency.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the important facts to consider and guide you when dealing with iron deficiency. 

What are the Symptoms of Anemia

 

Every year, 150 million people worldwide are affected by anemia, and more than half of them don’t even know they have it.

That’s because anemia comes without any symptoms. Most of the time the only way to detect an iron deficiency is through blood work.

However, some symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent Urination
  • Pale or yellow skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Exhaustion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hair loss
  • Flaky Skin
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling or pins and needles sensation in the hands or feet
  • Mental Confusion

More severe symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low Heart Rate
  • Palpitations
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Heart Failure  

iron_deficiency_fatigue

 

How to Diagnose Anemia
 

Anemia can be diagnosed by your doctor based on the following parameters:

Blood Glucose Test
The medical experts believe that you can diagnosis anemia based on the blood glucose levels.
If your blood glucose level is above normal, it can be diagnosed as a cause of anemia. Anemia is a common cause of diabetes.

Electrolytes Test
Electrolytes test helps in diagnosing the condition of anemia by measuring the concentration of various electrolytes in the blood.

Ferritin Test
It’s a simple blood test that will reveal the amount of ferritin in the blood. The more iron, the greater the amount of ferritin, which indicates anemia.

Haemoglobin Test
Lower than normal haemoglobin levels indicate anemia.
The normal haemoglobin range is generally defined as 13.2 to 16.6 grams (g) of haemoglobin per decilitre (dL) of blood for men and 11.6 to 15. g/dL for women.

Additional Diagnostic Tests:

Endoscopy
Doctors often check for bleeding from a hiatal hernia, an ulcer or the stomach with the aid of endoscopy. In this procedure, a thin, lighted tube equipped with a video camera is passed down your throat to your stomach.

This allows your doctor to view the tube that runs from your mouth to your stomach (oesophagus) and your stomach to look for sources of bleeding.

Colonoscopy
To rule out lower intestinal sources of bleeding, your doctor may recommend a procedure called a colonoscopy.

A thin, flexible tube equipped with a video camera is inserted into the rectum and guided to your colon.

You’re usually sedated during this test. A colonoscopy allows your doctor to view inside some or all of your colon and rectum to look for internal bleeding.

Ultrasound
Women may also have a pelvic ultrasound to look for the cause of excess menstrual bleeding, such as uterine fibroids.

These tests may be ordered by your doctor after a trial period of treatment with iron supplements.

iron_deficiency_diet

 

How to Prevent Anemia and What Iron Rich Diet to Follow

 

The best way to prevent anemia is to eat a healthy well-balanced diet.
The best food sources of iron are as follows: 

  • Meat – especially red meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Tofu
  • Beans

But not all people can eat these foods as they may be vegetarians or have other food allergies.

For those who can’t, the following are good sources of iron:

  • Cereals
  • Meat alternatives
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

Alternative Prevention Measures

  • Smoking
  • Weight Gain
  • Low consumption of iron-rich foods
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Low levels of intake of calcium and vitamin D 

foods_high_in_iron

 

How to Treat Anemia Naturally at Home

 

You just can’t work hard enough, or lose enough weight, and your iron deficiency is probably caused by something you eat and drink every day – and even more so, in women than men.

But there is a simple way you can help yourself, and it doesn’t involve expensive supplements, “superfoods,” herbs or injections.

You can get your body to be able to absorb all that precious iron you’re getting from meat, eggs and sturdy greens by cutting back on substances that inhibit the absorption of this mineral from your food.

Many people are unaware of how a few lifestyle changes can make the entire difference. Preventing the condition is a lot easier and requires only minor lifestyle adjustments.

Here we detail what you need to do:

Weighing yourself regularly
Do not ignore this simple yet effective method. If you do not have enough iron in your diet, check your weight regularly to know your actual body weight. A deficiency in iron can lead to anemia, so be it.

Eat foods rich in iron
Vitamin C rich fruits, beans, leafy greens, lentils, meat, chicken, etc are iron-rich foods. The amount of iron in these foods is sufficient to prevent anemia.

Move more often
Always try and include a few vigorous exercises like swimming, jogging or running in your weekly routine.

Take iron supplements
The most commonly used treatment for anemia is the oral iron supplements. They are available over the counter.

Iron supplements, also known as iron salts and iron pills, are a number of iron formulations used to treat and prevent iron deficiency including iron deficiency anemia.

For prevention they are only recommended in those with poor absorption, heavy menstrual periods, pregnancy, hemodialysis, or a diet low in iron.

iron_deficiency_supplements

 

The Difference Between Iron Deficiency Anemia and Normal Low Iron Levels

 

The main difference between iron deficiency anemia and having normal low iron levels is that anemia causes you to become tired, weak, and pale.

When the macrophages — which are involved in immune function — can’t make enough haemoglobin to help them fight infections the way they normally do, you begin suffering from lack of nutrients.

You can also experience depression, trouble concentrating or thinking clearly, irritability, vision problems (or changes), restless leg syndrome (RLS), tingling hands or feet (paraesthesia), temperament changes including excessive moodiness, impatience, or sadness.

Of course, it’s possible for all of these things to appear on their own for multiple reasons having nothing to do with anemia.

Nutritional deficiencies are rarely diagnosed based on symptoms alone so if any of these apply to you, you might want to get your iron tested by your doctor.

 

 

iron_deficiency_anemia_infographic

 

Get in Touch with GI Experts

 

With the abundance of essential nutrients and vitamins, your body would most likely be able to fight any form of anemia.

To learn more about the complexity of your gut and the opportunity for you to contribute to the scientific pursuit of gastrointestinal knowledge, contact Dr. Deetlefs or peruse our website.

We are gastroenterologist experts using patient-focused GI treatment and procedures in Cape Town.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

Connect with Us

© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.