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Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors of Anemia and How to Prevent Them

Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors of Anemia and How to Prevent Them

Overview of Anemia

Anemia is a medical condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells which is needed to carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.

There are many different types and causes of anemia of which Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type.

Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron to make hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells (RBC’s) that carries oxygen.

Untreated IDA can cause problems such as fatigue and lack of energy. IDA is the most common form of anemia worldwide.

Anemia can also make you feel cold and weak. You may also have trouble breathing, and your heart may have to work harder to pump blood.

Other causes of anemia include blood loss, certain chronic diseases, and bone marrow problems.
Anemia can be serious, but it’s often treatable.

If you think you may be at risk for anemia, or are experiencing symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor.

We discuss everything you need to know about Anemia and how you can prevent this from affecting your quality of life.

 

What is Anemia

 

If you’re feeling tired and run down, it could be more than just the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You could be experiencing iron deficiency anemia.

Anemia is a blood disorder that occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells in the body.
Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

There are many different types of anemia, each with its own cause.

Some types of anemia are more serious than others. The most common type of anemia is iron-deficiency anemia.

It occurs when the body does not have enough iron. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.

 

 

Types of Anemia

There are three types of anemia:

Iron Deficiency Anemia: This is the most common type of anemia. It is caused by not getting enough iron in the diet or by losing too much blood.

Blood Loss Anemia: This type of anemia can be caused by bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, heavy menstrual bleeding, or blood loss from injury or surgery.

Chronic Disease Anemia: This type of anemia can be caused by certain chronic medication.


Causes of Anemia

 

Anemia is a condition that can be caused by a variety of factors.

Common causes include:

  • Blood loss
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Certain medications or treatments

Anemia can be a serious condition, so it is important to get treatment.

 

Symptoms of Anemia

There are a variety of symptoms associated with anemia. They can range from mild to severe and can include the following:

  • Headache
  • Frequent urination
  • Yellow skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Exhaustion
  • Mental Confusion
  • Pale skin, dry skin, or easily bruised skin
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Tingling or pins and needles sensation in the hands and feet
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sore tongue
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling cold
  • Vomiting
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Change in sense of taste

In children a lack of attention, delayed development of motor skills and learning problems can occur.

If you think you may be experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis.

anemia_causes_symptoms_risks

 

How is Anemia Diagnosed?

 

To diagnose anemia, your doctor will likely take your medical history, do a physical exam, and order a blood test.

The blood test will measure your hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. A low hemoglobin level is an indicator of anemia.

The type and number of blood and other tests will depend on the type of anemia your provider believes you have.

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

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

Risk Factors of Anemia

 

There are many different types of anemia, each with its own set of causes. However, there are some general risk factors that can increase your chances of developing this condition.

These include:

  • A family history of anemia
  • Certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, kidney disease, or cancer
  • Certain medications, such as those used to treat cancer or HIV
  • A diet low in iron, folate, or vitamin B12
  • Pregnancy
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Chronic inflammation

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of anemia.

Women
There are many different types of anemia, each with its own set of risk factors. But women are at particular risk for some types of anemia.

Here’s a look at some of the risk factors for anemia in women. One of the most common types of anemia is iron-deficiency anemia. This form of anemia is caused by a lack of iron in the body.

Women are at particular risk for iron-deficiency anemia because of blood loss during menstruation.

If you have heavy menstrual periods, you may be at risk for iron-deficiency anemia.

Children
There are some general risk factors that can increase a child’s chances of developing anemia.

One of the most common risk factors is a lack of iron in the diet. Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells, and a diet lacking in iron can lead to anemia.

Other risk factors include a lack of other nutrients such as folate and vitamin B12, chronic illnesses and blood loss.

anemia_healthy_diet

Anemia and Pregnancy

 

Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe. Pregnant women are especially at risk for anemia because of the increased demand for iron during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the body needs more iron to make more blood to supply oxygen to the growing fetus.

The body needs iron to make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. There are several risk factors for anemia during pregnancy.

One is simply not having enough iron in the diet. Another is bleeding, which can occur during pregnancy, childbirth, or after a miscarriage.

Bleeding can also occur from other causes, such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, or nosebleeds. Certain medical conditions can also lead to anemia.
 

How to Prevent Anemia


There are several ways to prevent anemia.

Eating a diet that includes iron-rich foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, beans, and leafy green vegetables, can help prevent anemia.

Taking a daily multivitamin that contains iron can also help.

If you have any chronic medical conditions or take medications that can cause anemia, your doctor may recommend additional treatments or supplements.

anemia_infographic

 

Contact the Experts

 

Anemia can be a serious condition, but there are things that you can do to manage it and keep yourself healthy.

Work with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan that is right for you, and make sure to follow all of their instructions.

Be sure to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, and get regular checkups to make sure that your anemia is under control.

Dr Eduan prides himself on his ability to help his patients to the best of his ability by embracing good listening skills, effective communication, compassion and knowledge and skill honed during years of private gastroenterology practice.

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.

Colonoscopy Explained: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Colonoscopy Explained: What to Expect and How to Prepare

What Is a Colonoscopy?

 

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

The colon and rectum are part of the digestive system.

The colonoscopy procedure involves inserting a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) into the rectum.

The colonoscope has a camera at the end which allows the doctor to see the inside of the colon and rectum.

A colonoscopy can be used to diagnose and treat various conditions of the colon and rectum, such as colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastrointestinal bleeding.

A colonoscopy is generally a safe and well-tolerated procedure.

In this article we will discuss everything you need to know about this procedure and more.

 

Why Is a Colonoscopy Performed?

 

The purpose of a colonoscopy is to screen for and detect potential problems, such as colorectal cancer or polyps.

It is considered to be the best method for diagnosing and detecting certain conditions of the colon.

If any abnormal areas are detected, biopsy (tissue sampling) or colon polyp removal will be done.

importance_of_a_colonoscopy


The Importance of a Colonoscopy?

 

A routine screening can avoid many colorectal cancers.

Catching colon cancer in its early stages and seeing a doctor regularly will ensure that your condition is monitored and treated effectively.

 

What Happens During a Colonoscopy?

 

A flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope is used.

This tube is about the thickness of your little finger and has a tiny video camera at its tip.

Your doctor will ask you to lie on your left side on an exam table. Sedation or anesthesia is usually recommended. 

The colonoscope will be inserted into your rectum. The scope contains a light and a tube which allows your doctor to pump air into your colon.  This method allows a better view of the lining of your colon.

As it moves through your colon, the tiny video camera sends images to an external monitor which makes it possible for your doctor to view the inside of your colon.

This procedure normally takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

Colonoscopy_cancer_importance

 

The Different Types of Colonoscopies

 

There are two types of colonoscopies: diagnostic and therapeutic.

Diagnostic colonoscopy is performed to find the cause of bleeding or other symptoms, such as abdominal pain or a change in bowel habits.

Therapeutic colonoscopy is performed to treat conditions, such as remove polyps or take biopsies.

What Are the Risks of a Colonoscopy?

 

A colonoscopy is a common medical procedure used to screen for colorectal cancer.

While the procedure is generally safe, there are a few potential risks involved.

These risks include:

– Perforation: A colonoscopy involves inserting a long, thin tube into the rectum and colon. In rare cases, this tube can cause a small tear in the lining of the bowel, known as a perforation. This can lead to infection or internal bleeding.

– Bleeding: The colonoscopy procedure can sometimes cause bleeding from the bowel. This bleeding is usually minor and stops on its own. In rare cases, more serious bleeding may occur and require treatment.

– Infection: There is a slight chance of your body having a reaction to the sedative used during the exam.

How To Prepare for A Colonoscopy

 

If you have been scheduled for a colonoscopy, you may be wondering what to expect and how to prepare.

Before colonoscopy, your colon must be completely cleaned out so that the doctor can see any abnormal areas.

Without proper preparation the colonoscopy will not be successful and may have to be repeated.

To clean the colon, you will need to follow the prescribed diet and take a strong laxative to empty your bowels.

Your doctor’s office will provide specific instructions about how you should prepare for colonoscopy.

Be sure to read these instructions ahead of time so you will be prepared for the prep. If you have questions, contact the doctor in advance.

You will need to avoid solid food for at least one day before the test. You should also drink plenty of fluids on the day before the test.

You can drink clear liquids up to several hours before your procedure, including water, clear juice (apple, grape), Energade or similar alternative, clear soup (beef, chicken, or vegetable), coffee or tea (without milk) or jelly (avoid red jelly).

The day or night before the colonoscopy, you will take a laxative. It consists of a powder that is mixed with water.

The most common laxative treatment is called “Klean-Prep”.

You can add some lemon squash to hide the unpleasant taste. Refrigerating the solution can make it easier to drink.

Drinking this solution may be the most unpleasant part of the exam. You will begin to have watery diarrhoea within a short time after drinking the solution.

If you become nauseated or vomit while drinking the solution, call your doctor or nurse for instructions.  

colonoscopy_preparation

 What Can I Expect After a Colonoscopy?

 

After the colonoscopy, you will be observed in a recovery area until the effects of the sedative medication wear off.

The most common complaint after colonoscopy is a feeling of bloating and gas cramps. You may also feel groggy from the sedation medications. You should not return to work or drive that day.

Most people are able to eat normally after the test.

Ask your doctor when it is safe to restart aspirin and other blood- thinning medications.

 

How Often Should You Get Screened for Colon Cancer?

 

So, how often should you get screened for colon cancer? The answer is simple: every 10 years beginning at age 50.

But why is screening so important?

Screening tests like colonoscopies can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.

In fact, colon cancer death rates have declined by 30% over the last two decades thanks to screening and early detection.

Screening for colon cancer is important for everyone over the age of 50.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about how often you should be screened.

 

How to Choose a Colonoscopy Doctor?

 

If you’re considering a colonoscopy, you’ll want to choose a doctor you feel comfortable with.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision:

– Ask for recommendations from family and friends. If someone you trust has had a good experience with a particular doctor, that’s a good place to start.

– Check with your insurance company. They may have a list of approved providers.

– Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, take the time to read reviews and check out the doctor’s credentials.

Schedule a consultation. This is your chance to ask questions and get a feel for the doctor’s bedside manner.

– Trust your gut.

colonoscopy_explained_infographic

 

Contact Dr. Deetlefs

 

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

A colonoscopy is a quick and painless procedure that can save your life.

It’s important to know what to expect and how to prepare so you can be as comfortable as possible during the procedure.

Dr Eduan prides himself on his ability to help his patients to the best of his ability by embracing good listening skills, effective communication, compassion and knowledge and skill honed during years of private gastroenterology practice.

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.

Ulcerative Colitis: Your Complete Guide

Ulcerative Colitis: Your Complete Guide

What is Ulcerative Colitis

 

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition of the large intestine which over time irritate and damage the digestive tract and can lead to rectal bleeding or bloody stool.

This can usually be accompanied with diarrhea and cramps. There is not only pain associated with Ulcerative Colitis but also irritation of inflamed area, low-grade fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is defined as inflammation of the large intestine.

It can occur in any part of the colon but tends to affect the rectum and sigmoid colon to a greater extent than it does the rest of the colon, which is where IBD symptoms are typically worse.

The only reason UC symptoms are usually localised to one area of the gastrointestinal tract is because unlike Crohn’s disease patients, whose immune system can attack anywhere on their digestive tract, UC sufferers will generally mount an immune response only in their large intestine.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have IBD in your small intestine – what it means is that your immune system attacks your small intestine at a slower rate or without a full-on inflammatory response.

This article will cover a large area in explaining what Ulcerative Colitis typically is, the symptoms thereof and how to avoid triggers and flare-ups.

 

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

 

The majority with ulcerative colitis has mild to moderate symptoms.

The direction of ulcerative colitis may additionally vary, with some humans having long periods of remission.

Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal Pain
  • Abdominal pain or abdominal cramping
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Defecate urgency
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody stool

ulcerative_colitis_symptoms

 

Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

 

The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, but it is believed to be the result of a combination of environmental, immunologic, and genetic factors.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis may include abdominal pain, cramping, urgency, diarrhea, and blood in the stool.

Treatment for ulcerative colitis may include medications, diet, lifestyle changes, and surgery.

 

Diagnosis

 

Gastroenterologists may additionally use a selection of tests on the way to apprehend what’s occurring with a patient who’s suspected of getting ulcerative colitis, but it is normally a colonoscopy with biopsies that is used to make the prognosis.

Treatments for Ulcerative Colitis

 

Ulcerative colitis is, unfortunately, incurable.

When you have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, it’s crucial to see your doctor to discover the first-class manner to treat it.

With the proper care, you are able to control your circumstance and lead a complete and productive life.

Some of the most common treatments for ulcerative colitis include:

  • Anti-diarrheal medication
  • Pain relievers
  • Iron supplements
  • Antispasmodics
  • Surgery

 ulcerative_colitis_guide

 

            Ulcerative Colitis Diet Guide            

 

Eating a diet high in fiber can help to alleviate some of the problems associated with Ulcerative Colitis but there are other things that can be done to lessen the pain and discomfort too.

What are the best foods to eat when you have Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease?

The key word here is animal protein. Animal proteins in the form of fish, seafood and poultry are your best allies.

The reason for this is because they are easy on your system and rapidly absorbed by the digestive tract without causing inflammation in your bowels the way that red meat can (even if its grass fed it can still cause issues down the road).

Focus on low GI carbs such as sweet potatoes, yams, or regular potatoes.

However, avoid white bread or sugary snacks like sweets.

You should also avoid fruit juices while on this diet too since they quickly spike your blood sugar levels which will only aggravate a flare up of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease and increase inflammation in your body.

 

Natural Ways to Reduce UC

 

By utilising lifestyle choices, it is possible to help prevent the onset of ulcerative colitis and reduce any symptoms that are already present.

These changes in one’s lifestyle need to be adopted for the long-term in order to achieve maximum results.

Remember, when looking at various supplements and herbal remedies, you need to have a solid understanding of what your condition is, in order to prevent any danger or confusion if you wish not only to reduce UC ulcerative colitis but also prevent flare-ups.

While there is no cure for ulcerative colitis, you will find that there are many different things you can do to reduce your chances of getting flare ups and make yourself feel far better for longer periods at a time.

For starters, encourage yourself to eat healthier by reducing the amount of fatty, processed foods in your diet and try out a few different recipes using some interesting spices and herbs.

You should also try eating more fruit and vegetables every day, particularly citrus varieties or those that contain lots of water like tomatoes or cucumbers.

You will be adding valuable fiber to your diet, which helps food pass through the intestine more easily.

ulcerative_colitis_healthy_diet

 

Managing Flare-ups

 

Flare-ups can be incredibly painful, so it’s important to manage them effectively to ensure that you can maintain a healthy quality of life.

Although flare-ups can happen for seemingly no reason, there are certain things you can do to reduce their frequency and severity.

  • Reduce stress by, for example meditating, doing yoga, or eating more healthily and drinking more water.
  • Cut your alcohol consumption if you’re not doing so already
  • Try supplementing with fish oils or evening primrose oil – they both may help reduce flare-ups
  • Try keeping a food journal for everyday use. This way you can keep track of what you eat and the reaction your body gives when eating certain foods.
  • Limit your fiber intake
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day
  • Talk to a dietician
  • Relaxation exercise

You should usually see your GP again when you have a flare up because they need to assess whether you need conjunctional treatment (antibiotics) or steroids.

 

Risk Factors

 

Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory colitis (IBD) and is a long-term condition characterized by severe inflammation that affects the large intestine and the lining of the rectum.

Here are 9 risk factors for ulcerative colitis:

  • Genetics 
  • Autoimmune reaction 
  • Smoking 
  • Anti-Inflammatory drugs 
  • Antibiotics

ulcerative_colitis_infographic

 

When To See a Doctor

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

Dr Eduan prides himself on his ability to help his patients to the best of his ability by embracing good listening skills, effective communication, compassion and knowledge and skill honed during years of private gastroenterology practice.

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.

Gastrointestinal Cancer Explained

Gastrointestinal Cancer Explained

What is Gastrointestinal Cancer

 

Gastrointestinal cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the lining of the stomach, esophagus, small intestine, colon, rectum, or bile ducts.

Cancerous tumors invade nearby tissues and organs and can spread to other body areas.

It is usually made up of cells that start in the lining of the digestive tract, or gastrointestinal tract, but it can start in the pancreas, stomach or esophagus.

Cancers in the gastrointestinal tract are found in the mucous lining that protects the organs, the immune system and the blood stream.

During the past century, cancer research has undergone significant changes. It has grown to become a mainstream of medical sciences and has even developed into a medical service.

It is no longer a disease to be taken lightly because it is a dangerous disease that can easily destroy our lives.

We touch a few important points in this article relating to GI cancer and how to look out for signs thereof and what the treatment options are.

Stages of GI Cancer


Cancer begins inside the GI tract as small numbers of abnormal cells that have the ability to grow and divide uncontrollably.

These cancerous cells are not able to communicate with our healthy body cells or produce necessary proteins and chemicals they need to survive.

Despite having problems, these growing cancerous cells go unnoticed by our immune system. Because our immune system cannot “see” them, it does not attack and kill the abnormal cells.

As the number of these cancerous cells increases over time (progressive growth), so does the chance for other symptoms to appear.

Some symptoms depend on where in your body the tumor is located, how large it is, and how fast it grows.

These stage state expressions are used when describing certain stages of disease severity at diagnosis based on testing already conducted or clinical signs already present on physical examination.

The stages of GI cancer are important because they are the basis of doctor’s recommendations and treatment planning.

To ensure you have the best outcome, it’s important to understand what stage you might be at to know what sort of treatment available and which options are more likely to work.

The most common tests that can determine your stage of cancer include a colonoscopy, an endoscopy or blood tests.

While there isn’t always a set way for getting through each phase, there are some rules that may apply in the standard staging procedure.

Most cancers in the esophagus tend to affect men over 50 and nearly 80% of them can be found detected in stage 1.

When it comes to larynx cancer, 50% present only in Stage 3 so early detection is essential.

This method also applies for gastric cancer with 80% presented as advanced when they’re actually caught on time as Stage I or early Stage II between 55 and 60 years old on average.

 

gastro_cancer_signs

 

Signs and Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Cancer

 

In the early stages of gastric cancer, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Indigestion or stomach discomfort
  • Bloated after eating
  • Nausea
  • A loss of appetite
  • Heartburn

One of the most difficult aspects of gastrointestinal cancer is the lack of immediate symptoms.

Many patients find out they have cancer when they go to their doctor for vague abdominal pain or notice swelling in the upper part of their stomach (indicating a tumor).

Early diagnosis is the key to beating this terrible disease, so if you’ve noticed any unusual symptoms that aren’t going away and don’t seem to be going away on their own, then you definitely should see your doctor about them.

The more severe symptoms include weight loss, vomiting and nausea.

If you have to use laxatives more than once a week, you are also at risk for developing certain types of GI cancer.

One key symptom that’s easier to overlook is a change in bowel habits – from eating healthy food to losing weight without trying dieting or developing difficulty eating solid foods because diarrhea has set in.

Should you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, contact your doctor to book an appointment.

Diagnosis of GI Cancer

 

 

Some of the most common diagnostic tests for gastrointestinal cancers include colonoscopy, endoscopy, biopsy, and imaging. 

Endoscopy
Endoscopic tests are used to look inside the body using an instrument called an endoscope. 

An endoscope is a flexible tube with a light and tiny camera attached to it. Endoscopic tests might include these nonsurgical procedures:

Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is an exam of the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract, which is called the colon or large intestine (bowel).

Colonoscopy is a safe procedure that provides information other tests may not be able to give.

Patients who require colonoscopy often have questions and concerns about the procedure.

Colonoscopy is performed by inserting a device called a colonoscope into the anus and advanced through the entire colon

The procedure generally takes between 10 minutes and one hour.

 

Upper GI Endoscopy
Examines the lining of the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, including the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

gastrointestinal_cancer_diagnosis

 

Risk Factors of GI Cancer

 

There are several factors that have been implicated in the development of Gi cancer.

These include age, family history, race and ethnicity, and gender.

Getting an early diagnosis is important in catching cancer before it spreads, and treatment can commence earlier than if it’s caught after spread.

Those with the following risk factors are more likely to develop Gi cancer:

  • Stomach Polyps
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • A diet high in salty and smoked foods
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Family history of stomach cancer 

Prevention

 

In order to reduce the risk of stomach cancer, you can:

Stop Smoking:
Smoking increases your risk of stomach cancer.  Not only stomach cancer but many other types of cancer.

Reduce the amount of salty or smoked foods:
Protect your stomach and limit the intake of salt and smoked foods.

Maintain a Healthy Weight:
If you’re overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about strategies to help you lose weight. Aim for a slow and steady weight loss of 1 or 2 kilograms per week.


Choose a Diet Full of Fruits and Vegetables:
Try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet each day.
Choose a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.

 

Why Cancer Screening Is Important

 

The general concept behind screening is to find abnormal tissues or diseases early, before the symptoms appear or before they cause other health problems.

Cancer screening for GI tract cancers, for example, looks for the tumor itself and in the first stages of growth when it is more easily treatable than at a later stage when it has progressed to an advanced state.

Early detection means treatment often starts immediately; patients have less pronounced signs or symptoms; and GI cancers can be cured in more cases than not.
 

gastrointestinal_cancer_infographic

 

Get in Touch with GI Expert Dr. Deetlefs

 

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

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

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and wish you make an appointment with Dr. Deetlefs, get in contact with his practice and book your appointment.

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.

What Is Crohn’s Disease?

What Is Crohn’s Disease?

what_is_crohns_disease_infographic When you think of Crohn’s disease, you usually think of a bloated stomach, lack of appetite and cramps.

But did you know there many other symptoms of Crohn’s?

They are all unique, as every person is different. You might not have all or even any of them. It’s important to remember that a symptom you experience doesn’t mean that you have Crohn’s.

If you experience any of the symptoms below, see your healthcare professional.

In this article we discuss everything you need to know about Crohn’s disease and how to live a healthy life despite this disease.

 

Introduction to Crohn’s Disease?


Crohn’s Disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the gastrointestinal tract.

The disease is named after Dr. Burrill Crohn, who first described the condition in 1932. Crohn’s disease is a type of IBD that is marked by inflammation in the lining of the small intestine.

The inflammation can occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it is most commonly found in the last section of the small intestine, called the ileum.

People with Crohn’s disease often experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fever.

The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can also lead to the development of ulcers in the digestive tract known as Ulcerative Colitis.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?

 

This chronic condition can cause inflammation, pain and other symptoms in different parts of the digestive system.

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Bloody Stool
  • Mouth Sores

Other possible symptoms include:

  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Skin lesions
  • Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
  • Kidney stones
  • Iron deficiency
  • Delayed growth in children

Crohn’s disease is a serious condition and can lead to many possible complications, including malnutrition, dehydration, intestinal blockages, and cancer.

Treatment for Crohn’s disease typically involves medications and surgery.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

crohns_disease_treatment

 

What Are the Causes of Crohn’s Disease?

 

The cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but there are several theories about what may trigger the disease.

Some possible causes of Crohn’s disease include:

Genetic factors: Crohn’s disease may be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Some people may be more likely to develop Crohn’s disease because they inherit genes that make them more susceptible to the disease.

Bacterial infection: It is possible that a bacterial infection may trigger Crohn’s disease. The bacteria may enter the gastrointestinal tract through the mouth or nose and cause inflammation and damage to the intestinal lining.

Smoking:  Cigarette smoking could double your risk of Crohn’s disease.

 

Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease


To diagnose Crohn’s disease, doctors take a medical history and perform a physical exam. They may order blood tests, stool tests, a sigmoidoscopy, or a colonoscopy.

Additionally, they may also use a device called a capsule endoscopy, which is a pill that takes a picture of the small intestine.

The three most common ways to diagnose Crohn’s disease are discussed below.

Blood Test – Blood tests are one of the most used testing methods for diagnosing Crohn’s disease.  Doctors can use blood samples to check for signs of infection in your blood. If you have an increased level of white blood cells in your blood, it may be a sign of infection or inflammation in your body.

Stool Test – Your doctor might want to order a stool test to check if you have blood in your stool.  To have blood in your stool is normally a sign that you have digestive problems such as Crohn’s disease.

Sigmoidoscopy – A sigmoidoscopy is a procedure to examine the inside of the rectum and sigmoid colon. A sigmoidoscope is inserted into the rectum and advanced into the sigmoid colon. This allows the doctor to view the lining of the rectum and sigmoid colon and to detect any abnormalities.

Colonoscopy – A colonoscopy is a screening test for colon cancer. It is a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end is inserted through the anus and passed through the rectum and into the colon. The test is used to look for polyps, which are small growths on the lining of the colon that can become cancerous.

Capsule Endoscopy – Capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic test that uses a small camera to take pictures of the inside of your small intestine. This test is used to help diagnose problems in the small intestine, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and tumors.

 

what_is_crohns_disease_colonoscopy

 

What Is the Treatment for Crohn’s Disease?


There is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, but there are treatments that can help lessen the symptoms.

Treatment may include medication, diet and lifestyle changes, and surgery.

Food Preparation and Meal Planning


Although everyone is different and no one-size-fits-all when it comes to food, these tips can help you find your rhythm and guide you to a better daily nutrition.

  • Eat 4 – 6 small meals per day
  • Drink enough liquids such as water, broth, tomato juice
  • Prepare your meals in advance
  • Use simple technique when cooking like boil, grill, steam or poach. Try not to deep fry and techniques using a lot of oil or butter.
  • Use a food journal to keep track of what you eat and when you experience Crohn’s symptoms.

 

What Are the Possible Complications of Crohn’s Disease?

 

Some of the most common complications include:

– Inflammation of the joints, skin, or eyes

– Rectal bleeding

– Ulcers in the intestine

– Swelling of the intestinal wall

– Structures or narrowing of the intestine

 – Malabsorption of nutrients

– Abscesses

– Inflammation of the pouch created by surgery to treat Crohn’s Disease

– Cancer of the intestine

It is important for people with Crohn’s disease to be aware of the potential complications and take steps to prevent them from occurring.

 

The Relationship of Diet and Crohn’s Disease

 

There is no one food that Crohn’s disease patients must avoid, but there are some general dietary guidelines that can be helpful.

Patients with Crohn’s disease should aim to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

It’s important to avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar, as these can aggravate symptoms.

Some specific foods that may be troublesome for Crohn’s patients include nuts, seeds, cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower), and dairy products.

It’s also important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, as dehydration can aggravate symptoms. Some patients find that drinking caffeine or alcohol can worsen symptoms.

It is important to listen to your body and take note of the reaction your body shows after consuming some foods. 

what_is_crohns_disease_infographic

Conclusion

 

If you are worried about Crohn’s there are some easy steps to take to improve your condition, regardless of what your specific diagnosis is.

These follow-up measures include taking good care of yourself; eating a healthy diet; avoiding alcohol; controlling stress through exercise, meditation or yoga; and using probiotics to improve gut health.

For any additional information regarding Crohn’s disease, it’s best to find a trusted and experienced Gastroenterologist who can answer your questions clearly, recommend appropriate solutions, and perform tests with precision and expertise.

Dr. Deetlefs has earned the reputation of a trusted health expert providing consultative, diagnostic, and therapeutic endoscopic and related services to patients in Cape Town and beyond. 

Dr. Deetlefs can be contacted to confirm the estimated breakdown should you be interested in having the procedure done. 

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.

Important Questions to Ask Your Gastroenterologist About Ulcerative Colitis

Important Questions to Ask Your Gastroenterologist About Ulcerative Colitis

How To Know If You Have Ulcerative Colitis

 

 Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine.

 UC is a condition that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the lining of the rectum and colon.

Symptoms vary, but may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, and weight loss. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and may include medicines, diet changes, and surgery.

Many people with ulcerative colitis need to take medicines to control their condition.

UC is a chronic disease, which means that it lasts for a long time and can’t be cured but it can be treated to keep it under control.

 If you think you may have ulcerative colitis, there are some key signs and symptoms to look out for.

In this article we will discuss everything you need to know about Ulcerative Colitis and which symptoms to look out for.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor for a diagnosis.

Treatment options include medications, surgery, and lifestyle changes.

 

What Are the Causes of Ulcerative Colitis?


Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the rectum and colon.

While the cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, abnormal immune response, genetics, microbiome, and environmental factors are all believed to contribute to the disease.

Research suggests that ulcerative colitis could be triggered by an interaction between a virus or bacterial infection in the colon and the body’s immune response.

 

How Is Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosed?

 

Blood Test:  Having a blood test done can show signs of infection or anemia. Anemia is a low level of iron in your blood. This can indicate that you have bleeding in the colon or rectum.

Stool Samples:  A stool sample is needed to diagnose ulcerative colitis. This is a sample of the stool that is taken and tested in a lab. This test is used to look for signs of the disease.

Endoscopic Tests:  One of the tests that can be used to diagnose ulcerative colitis is an endoscopic examination. During this test, a doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end into the rectum. This allows the doctor to see the inside of the colon and look for any signs of inflammation or damage.

 

symptoms_of_ulcerative_colitis

 

 

What Are the Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?

 

Symptoms can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps, and Urgency to have a bowel movement.

There are many signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis, but some of the most common symptoms are as follows: 

  • Ulcers in the rectum
  • Blood in the stool (hemorrhoids)
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Urgency to have a bowel movement
  • Low appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Joint pain
  • Skin lesions
  • Mouth ulcers

The severity of symptoms can also vary, with some people having only minor symptoms and others having very severe symptoms that require hospitalization.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor for a diagnosis.

 

How to Manage Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?

 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing ulcerative colitis, as the symptoms can vary from person to person.

However, there are a few general tips that can help to control the symptoms of ulcerative colitis:

  • Pain relievers
  • Antispasmodics
  • Iron Supplements
  • Anti-diarrheal medications 

 

ulcerative_colitis_diet_plan

 

Should You Be Treated with Medication or Surgery?

 

The disease is marked by periods of remission and relapse.

Medication and surgery are both potential treatments for ulcerative colitis. Medication can help calm the inflammation. Which treatment is best depends on the individual case.

Treatment options include medications such as steroids and immune suppressing drugs, diet, lifestyle changes, and surgery.

Surgery is often necessary when medication fails to control the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

 

Types Of Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis, Doctor’s Approach and The Right Medicines for You?

Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, and corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation and pain. Surgery may also be necessary to remove the section of the intestine affected by the disease. 

Lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications and stress management can also help manage symptoms of ulcerative

 

Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan and Meal Suggestions

 

If you have ulcerative colitis, it’s worth your while to pay attention to what you eat.  Your diet can play a big role in managing symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

Some foods that may aggravate symptoms of ulcerative colitis include spicy foods, dairy products, and caffeine.

It is important to avoid these foods if they cause problems. In addition, it is important to eat plenty of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods help to keep the intestines healthy and can help to reduce symptoms.

So, what foods and nutrients can help reduce the pain and manage the condition?

Nutrient-rich foods
Nutrient-rich foods can help fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied, which may help reduce the frequency of bathroom visits. Here are some examples:

Fruits

  • Citrus fruits
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Cherries
  • Pomegranates
  • Honeydew melons
  • Avocados

Vegetables

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Onions

Food Diary
Be on top of things, stay organised and make a food diary.  Track the good and the bad in terms of what you eat and when you have flare-ups. 

This way you would know exactly which foods to stay clear of and get to really know your gut.

This will take some time and patience, but this way you will exactly be able to know what works for you and what doesn’t.   It will be worth it in the end.

Simple tweaks in your daily meal prep can make it easier to enjoy some foods, for example rather steaming veggies or switching to low-fat dairy.

Watch Out For:

  • Seeds
  • Spicy foods
  • Popcorn
  • Meat
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • High fiber foods
  • Dried fruits
  • Dried beans
  • Peas
  • Refined sugar
  • Nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

 ulcerative_colitis_diet

 

 

 

How To Exercise While Suffering from Ulcerative Colitis

 

Exercise is often recommended to people suffering from Ulcerative Colitis as a way to manage the symptoms of the disease.

 However, for many people with Ulcerative Colitis, exercise can be difficult or even impossible.

Exercise can help reduce inflammation in the intestine and improve bowel function. It can also help improve mood and overall well-being.

There are a number of exercises that can be helpful for people with ulcerative colitis, including:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Yoga

 Swimming is a great exercise for people with ulcerative colitis because it is gentle on the gut and doesn’t require any jarring movements.

Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility and strength. It is also a good way to reduce stress and anxiety.

Anyone with ulcerative colitis should consult with a doctor before starting an exercise.

How to Improve Quality of Life with UC

 

 There are several things that you can do to improve quality of life with UC.

First, make sure that you are taking your medications as prescribed.

Second, make sure that you are eating a healthy diet.

Third, make sure that you are getting enough exercise.

And fourth, make sure that you are getting enough rest.

If you follow these tips, you can improve your quality of life with UC.

 

ulcerative_colitis_infographic

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

For any additional information regarding a ulcerative colitis, it’s best to find a trusted and experienced Gastroenterologist who can answer your questions clearly, recommend appropriate solutions, and perform tests with precision and expertise.

 

Dr. Deetlefs has earned the reputation of a trusted health expert providing consultative, diagnostic, and therapeutic endoscopic and related services to patients in Cape Town and beyond. 

 

Dr. Deetlefs can be contacted to confirm the estimated breakdown should you be interested in having the procedure done. 

 

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.