021 551 8678
Polypectomy: Navigating the Landscape of Precancerous Lesion Removal

Polypectomy: Navigating the Landscape of Precancerous Lesion Removal

 

Polyps, abnormal tissue growths that can develop in various parts of the body, are commonly found in the colon.

When detected during a colonoscopy, these polyps may be removed through a procedure known as polypectomy.

This comprehensive guide aims to delve into the intricacies of polypectomy, exploring its purpose, the types of polyps encountered, the procedure itself, potential risks, and the significance of this intervention in preventing colorectal cancer.

 

Introduction

 

Polyps, although often benign, have the potential to transform into cancerous growths, particularly in the colon.

The importance of polypectomy lies in its role as a preventive measure, removing these precancerous lesions before they can progress.

This guide navigates through the world of polypectomy, shedding light on its significance in colorectal health.

 

Understanding Polyps and Their Types

 

Before delving into the specifics of polypectomy, it’s essential to understand the nature of polyps.

There are various types, including adenomatous polyps, hyperplastic polyps, and serrated polyps.

While most polyps are noncancerous, certain types have a higher likelihood of developing into colorectal cancer, underscoring the importance of early detection and removal.

 

Types of Polyps:

Polyps are abnormal tissue growths that can develop in various parts of the body, and they are commonly found in the colon.

The types of polyps can vary based on their characteristics and potential for malignancy. Here are some of the main types of polyps:

 

  1. Adenomatous Polyps:
  • Description:
    Adenomatous polyps are the most common type of polyps found in the colon.
  • Characteristics:
    They can be further classified into three subtypes – tubular, tubulovillous, and villous
    adenomas – based on their structure. Villous adenomas have a higher risk of developing into cancer.
  • Potential for Malignancy:
    Adenomatous polyps are considered precancerous, and their removal is crucial in preventing the development of colorectal cancer.

 

  1. Hyperplastic Polyps:
  • Description:
    Hyperplastic polyps are generally noncancerous and are more common in the rectum.
  • Characteristics:
    They are typically small and have a smoother appearance compared to adenomatous polyps.
  • Potential for Malignancy:
    While hyperplastic polyps themselves are not considered precancerous, some subtypes, especially those in the serrated category, may have an increased risk of developing into cancer.

 

  1. Serrated Polyps:
  • Description:
    Serrated polyps have a saw-toothed appearance under the microscope.
  • Characteristics: This category includes various types, such as traditional serrated adenomas, sessile serrated adenomas, and hyperplastic polyps with serrated features.
  • Potential for Malignancy: Some serrated polyps, particularly sessile serrated adenomas, are associated with an increased risk of developing into cancer.

 

  1. Inflammatory Polyps:
  • Description:
    Inflammatory polyps are typically associated with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Characteristics:
    They result from the body’s response to inflammation in the colon.
  • Potential for Malignancy:
    Inflammatory polyps themselves are not considered precancerous, but the underlying inflammation may increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

 

  1. Juvenile Polyps:
  • Description:
    Juvenile polyps are rare and are usually found in children.
  • Characteristics:
    They are typically small, and their appearance is distinctive under the microscope.
  • Potential for Malignancy:
    Juvenile polyps are generally noncancerous, but they can cause rectal bleeding and other symptoms.

 

  1. Peutz-Jeghers Polyps:
  • Description:
    Peutz-Jeghers polyps are associated with a rare genetic condition called Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
  • Characteristics:
    They are often found in the stomach and small intestine.
  • Potential for Malignancy:
    While the polyps themselves are benign, individuals with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome have an increased risk of various cancers.

 

It’s important to note that the potential for malignancy varies among different types of polyps.

Regular screenings, such as colonoscopies, are crucial for detecting and removing precancerous polyps, thus preventing the development of colorectal cancer.

Individuals should discuss their specific situation with their healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate screening and surveillance plan based on their risk factors and medical history.

 

polypectomy_procedure_early_detection

The Importance of Early Detection

 

Early detection of polyps is paramount in preventing the progression to colorectal cancer.

Regular screenings, such as colonoscopies, play a crucial role in identifying and characterizing polyps, enabling timely intervention through polypectomy.

 

Polypectomy Procedure: Step by Step

Polypectomy is a vital medical procedure performed during a colonoscopy to remove polyps found in the colon.

These polyps, although often benign, have the potential to develop into colorectal cancer.

The step-by-step guide below provides a comprehensive overview of the polypectomy procedure, emphasizing its significance in preventing the progression of precancerous lesions.

 

Preparation:

Before the polypectomy procedure, the individual undergoes thorough preparation, typically involving a clear liquid diet and bowel cleansing to ensure optimal visualization of the colon during the colonoscopy.

 

Anesthesia and Sedation:

Once the patient is prepared, the healthcare provider administers anesthesia or sedation to ensure the patient is comfortable and relaxed during the procedure. In some cases, conscious sedation is used, allowing the patient to remain awake but in a relaxed state.

 

Insertion of Colonoscope:

The gastroenterologist or endoscopist then inserts a colonoscope into the rectum. A colonoscope is a flexible tube with a light and camera at its tip, allowing the healthcare provider to visualize the inside of the colon on a monitor.

 

Identification of Polyps:

As the colonoscope is navigated through the colon, the healthcare provider carefully examines the lining for the presence of polyps. Polyps may vary in size and shape, and their characteristics influence the choice of the polypectomy technique.

 

Snare Polypectomy:

For smaller polyps, a common technique is the snare polypectomy. The gastroenterologist uses a thin wire loop (snare) at the end of the colonoscope to encircle the polyp. Once the polyp is captured, the snare is tightened, cutting the polyp from the colon wall.

 

Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR):

Larger polyps may require a more intricate technique known as Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR). This technique involves injecting a saline solution beneath the polyp to lift it away from the colon wall. The elevated polyp is then snared and removed.

 

Electrocautery:

In some cases, particularly if bleeding is a concern, electrocautery may be used during the polypectomy. This involves applying an electrical current to the snare, coagulating blood vessels and minimizing the risk of bleeding.

 

Removal and Retrieval:

Once the polyp is successfully snared or resected, it is carefully removed from the colon. Larger polyps may be cut into smaller pieces for easier retrieval.

 

Biopsy (if needed):

In certain situations, the healthcare provider may perform a biopsy of the surrounding tissue to ensure complete removal of the polyp and to assess for any potential malignancy.

 

Post-Polypectomy Inspection:

After the polypectomy, the gastroenterologist carefully inspects the treated area to ensure there is no bleeding or other complications. Any potential bleeding can be addressed immediately during the procedure.

 

Recovery and Post-Procedure Care:

Following the polypectomy, the patient is monitored in a recovery area until the effects of sedation wear off. Instructions are provided regarding diet, activity, and any signs or symptoms that should prompt a follow-up.

 

types_of_polyps

 

Types of Polypectomy Techniques

 

Various techniques are utilized in polypectomy, each tailored to the characteristics of the polyp.

Snare polypectomy involves using a wire loop to snare and remove the polyp, while EMR is employed for larger lesions. This section explores the nuances of these techniques and their application.

 

 

Beyond Polypectomy: Colorectal Health and Cancer Prevention

 

Polypectomy is a pivotal intervention in colorectal health, but it is just one aspect of a broader strategy for preventing colorectal cancer.

Lifestyle factors, regular screenings, and awareness play integral roles in maintaining optimal colorectal health.

 

polypectomy_procedure_infographic

 

Contact Dr. Deetlefs

 

In conclusion, polypectomy emerges as a powerful tool in the prevention of colorectal cancer.

By understanding the procedure, its importance, and the collaborative role of individuals and healthcare providers, we empower ourselves in the journey toward optimal colorectal health.

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.

Ironing Out the Details: A Comprehensive Guide to Iron Deficiency Anemia

Ironing Out the Details: A Comprehensive Guide to Iron Deficiency Anemia

Overview

 

Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies worldwide, affecting millions of people.

Although it’s a condition often associated with fatigue, it presents a range of symptoms and can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life.

This blog post aims to delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatments of iron deficiency anemia, helping you understand this prevalent condition better.

 

What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

 

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells due to insufficient iron in the body.

Iron is crucial for producing hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen around the body.

When your body lacks iron, it cannot produce enough hemoglobin, leading to decreased oxygen supply to your tissues, causing symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and difficulty concentrating.

 

Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia

 

Several factors can lead to iron deficiency anemia:

  • Inadequate dietary intake: Our primary source of iron is our diet. Foods rich in iron include meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals. A diet lacking these can result in an iron deficiency. 
  • Absorption issues: Conditions such as celiac disease or surgical procedures that remove parts of the stomach or small intestine can hinder the body’s ability to absorb iron efficiently. 
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women require significantly more iron to support their growing babies and the increase in their blood volume. Without adequate iron supplementation, this could lead to deficiency. 
  • Blood loss: Conditions that cause blood loss, such as heavy menstrual periods or chronic diseases like peptic ulcers and colorectal cancer, can deplete the body’s iron stores.

 

iron_deficiency_anemia_symptoms

 

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia

 

Iron deficiency anemia manifests in various ways, including:

  • Fatigue and weakness: This is often the first sign of anemia, as your tissues aren’t getting enough oxygen, causing you to feel constantly tired or weak. 
  • Pale skin: Hemoglobin gives skin its rosy color, so low levels can cause your skin to become lighter. 
  • Shortness of breath: This symptom occurs because your body attempts to increase oxygen delivery to your tissues. 
  • Headaches and dizziness: Insufficient oxygen reaching the brain can cause these symptoms. 
  • Unusual cravings: Some people with iron deficiency anemia develop cravings for non-food items like ice or dirt, a condition known as pica. 
  • Restless legs syndrome: Some people with iron deficiency experience an overwhelming urge to move their legs, particularly at night.

Diagnosing Iron Deficiency Anemia



Iron deficiency anemia is diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests.

Here are the typical steps in diagnosing this condition:

Medical History and Physical Examination:
Your doctor will start by asking about your symptoms, diet, family history, and any medicines you’re taking. They will also conduct a physical examination to look for signs of iron deficiency anemia such as pale skin, a fast or irregular heartbeat, or a swollen tongue.

Blood Tests:
The main diagnostic tool for iron deficiency anemia is blood testing.

Here are some of the most common tests used:

Complete Blood Count (CBC):
This test measures different components of your blood, including hemoglobin and hematocrit levels, as well as the size and shape of your red blood cells. In iron deficiency anemia, the hemoglobin level is low, and the red blood cells are usually smaller and paler than normal.

Serum Iron and Ferritin Tests: These tests measure the amount of iron in your blood and the amount of stored iron in your body, respectively. Both are typically low in iron deficiency anemia.

Transferrin Level and Total Iron-Binding Capacity (TIBC): Transferrin is a protein that carries iron in your blood, and TIBC measures how well your body can bind iron. In iron deficiency anemia, transferrin levels are high and TIBC is increased, as your body tries to maximize iron uptake.

Further Testing: If the cause of your iron deficiency anemia isn’t clear, your doctor might recommend further testing. This could include endoscopy to check for sources of internal bleeding, colonoscopy to look for bleeding in the colon, or tests to look for celiac disease, which can interfere with the absorption of iron from your diet.

Remember that iron deficiency anemia is a treatable condition, but it’s important to identify and address the underlying cause.

If you suspect you have iron deficiency anemia, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

anemia_diagnosis

 

Dealing With Iron Deficiency on A Daily Basis

Living with iron deficiency anemia can be challenging due to the fatigue and other symptoms associated with the condition.

Here are some strategies to manage and cope with iron deficiency anemia on a daily basis:

Follow your treatment plan: Adhere to the treatment plan set out by your doctor. This might include taking iron supplements, eating an iron-rich diet, or treating underlying medical conditions. Make sure to keep all medical appointments and contact your healthcare provider if you experience any problems with your treatment.

Eat a balanced, iron-rich diet: Include iron-rich foods in your daily diet. Lean meats, poultry, fish, iron-fortified cereals and breads, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and lentils are all excellent sources of dietary iron. Foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and bell peppers, can help enhance iron absorption.

Limit intake of foods that hinder iron absorption: Certain foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, dairy products, whole grains, and some legumes, can inhibit iron absorption if consumed at the same time as iron-rich foods or supplements.

Exercise regularly: Although it may be challenging when you’re feeling fatigued, regular moderate exercise can help stimulate your appetite, promote good sleep, and boost your energy levels. Start small and gradually increase your activity as your energy levels improve.

Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids can help combat symptoms of fatigue and help with the constipation that can sometimes occur with iron supplements.

Manage stress: Chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms of anemia. Techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, yoga, and other relaxation exercises can help manage stress levels.

Monitor your menstrual cycle: If you are a woman with heavy menstrual bleeding, discuss this with your doctor, as it can contribute to iron deficiency anemia. There may be treatment options to manage heavy periods.

Stay connected with your healthcare team: Regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider are essential to monitor your condition and adjust treatment as needed.

Remember that recovery from iron deficiency anemia often takes time and requires consistent effort. Over time, with consistent treatment and healthy lifestyle habits, you should see improvement in your symptoms.

 

iron_deficiency_anemia_guide_infogrpahic

 

Conclusion


Despite the challenges, it is reassuring to know that iron deficiency anemia is generally treatable, and most individuals experience a significant improvement in their symptoms with appropriate management.

By adhering to recommended treatments, maintaining an iron-rich diet, and staying connected with their healthcare providers, individuals with this condition can lead a healthy, fulfilling life.

For any additional information regarding iron deficiency anemia, 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 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.

Unraveling the Mystery of Crohn’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Insights

Unraveling the Mystery of Crohn’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Insights

Gain a better understanding of Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition that can affect various parts of the digestive tract.

Delve into the potential causes, common symptoms, and the diagnostic process to understand this complex autoimmune disorder better.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the lining of the digestive tract, also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

It can involve any part of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the end of the small intestine (ileum) and the beginning of the large intestine (colon).

The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can penetrate deep into the layers of the affected bowel tissue, leading to pain, discomfort, and various digestive symptoms.

The inflammation can also cause complications such as strictures (narrowing of the intestine), fistulas (abnormal connections between different parts of the intestine or between the intestine and other organs), and abscesses (pockets of infection).

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still not completely understood, but it is believed to result from a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors.

Here are some of the known causes and risk factors associated with Crohn’s disease:

Genetics:
There is a clear genetic component to Crohn’s disease, as individuals with a family history of the condition are more likely to develop it. Several genes have been identified that may increase the risk of developing Crohn’s disease, but not everyone who carries these genes will develop the condition.
 

Immune system:
Crohn’s disease is considered an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the gastrointestinal tract. This immune response leads to chronic inflammation and tissue damage. The exact reason for this abnormal immune response is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Environmental factors:
Although the exact environmental triggers of Crohn’s disease are not known, several factors have been associated with an increased risk of developing the condition. These factors include smoking and having a diet high in fat and low in fiber. It has also been suggested that infections, particularly those involving the gastrointestinal tract, may play a role in triggering Crohn’s disease in susceptible individuals.

Age:
Crohn’s disease can occur at any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in young adults between the ages of 15 and 35. However, it is important to note that the condition can develop later in life as well.

Smoking:
Smoking is a significant risk factor for the development of Crohn’s disease and is also associated with more severe disease and a higher risk of complications. Quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of developing the condition and improve the overall health of those who already have it.

crohns_symptoms

Common Symptoms of Crohn’s

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can vary widely depending on the severity of inflammation and the specific parts of the digestive tract affected. Some common symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease include:

Abdominal Pain and Cramping:
This is often experienced in the lower right part of the abdomen but can occur anywhere along the digestive tract. The pain may be mild to severe and can come and go, often worsening after meals.

Diarrhea:
Frequent loose and watery stools are a common symptom of Crohn’s disease. In some cases, diarrhea may be severe and accompanied by blood or mucus.

Fatigue:
People with Crohn’s disease often experience a general feeling of tiredness and low energy levels due to inflammation, malabsorption of nutrients, and the impact of other symptoms on daily life.

Weight loss:
Unintentional weight loss can result from a combination of reduced appetite, malabsorption of nutrients, and increased calorie expenditure due to the ongoing inflammation in the digestive tract.

Fever:
A low-grade fever can sometimes accompany active inflammation in Crohn’s disease, particularly during flare-ups.

Mouth sores:
Painful sores, or ulcers, can develop in the mouth as a result of inflammation in the digestive tract.

Perianal disease:
This includes symptoms like pain, swelling, or drainage around the anus, which can result from the formation of abscesses, fissures, or fistulas.

Nutritional deficiencies:
Crohn’s disease can cause malabsorption of nutrients, leading to deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.

Joint pain:
Arthritis or joint pain can occur in some individuals with Crohn’s disease, affecting the knees, ankles, wrists, or other joints.

Skin issues:
Some people with Crohn’s disease may develop skin problems, such as erythema nodosum (painful red nodules under the skin) or pyoderma gangrenosum (painful ulcers that develop rapidly).


Eye inflammation:
Inflammation of the eyes, such as uveitis or episcleritis, can also be a symptom of Crohn’s disease.

crohns_diagnosis_and_testing

 

Diagnosis and Testing

Diagnosing Crohn’s disease can be challenging due to its varied symptoms and the fact that it can mimic other gastrointestinal conditions.

A combination of medical history, physical examination, and various tests and procedures is often required to accurately diagnose Crohn’s disease.

Here are some of the common steps and tests involved in diagnosing the condition:

Medical History and Physical Examination:
The physician will begin by taking a detailed medical history, including information about symptoms, family history of Crohn’s disease or other gastrointestinal disorders, and any medications the patient is taking. A physical examination will follow, focusing on signs of inflammation, malnutrition, or complications related to Crohn’s disease.

Blood Tests:
Blood tests can help identify signs of inflammation, anemia, and possible nutritional deficiencies. Common blood tests include complete blood count (CBC), C-reactive protein (CRP), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).

Stool Tests:
Stool samples may be analyzed to rule out other causes of gastrointestinal symptoms, such as infections or parasites. The presence of fecal calprotectin, a protein that indicates inflammation in the intestines, can also be detected in stool samples and may be a marker for Crohn’s disease.

Imaging Studies:
Various imaging tests can help visualize the gastrointestinal tract and identify areas of inflammation, strictures, or other abnormalities. These tests may include X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound.
 

Endoscopy:
Endoscopic procedures involve inserting a flexible tube with a camera at its tip into the gastrointestinal tract to directly visualize the lining of the digestive tract and take biopsies (tissue samples) for further analysis. Two common endoscopic procedures used in diagnosing Crohn’s disease are:

Colonoscopy:
This procedure allows the physician to examine the entire colon and the end of the small intestine (ileum). Biopsies can be taken during a colonoscopy to help confirm the diagnosis.

upper_endoscopy_procedure

Upper endoscopy:
This procedure is used to examine the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). It may be performed if symptoms suggest Crohn’s disease is affecting the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Capsule endoscopy:
In some cases, a capsule endoscopy may be recommended to visualize the small intestine, which can be difficult to examine using conventional endoscopy. The patient swallows a small capsule containing a camera, which takes pictures of the digestive tract as it passes through, transmitting the images to a recording device worn by the patient.

mystery_of_crohns_infographic

Conclusion

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 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.

Understanding Ulcerative Colitis

Understanding Ulcerative Colitis

Overview of Ulcerative Colitis

 

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that primarily affects the colon and rectum. The condition causes inflammation and sores (ulcers) to develop on the inner lining of the large intestine, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and rectal bleeding.

The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is not known, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the colon and rectum.

Other factors that may contribute to the development of ulcerative colitis include genetics, environmental factors, and an imbalance of gut bacteria.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis can vary in severity and may include diarrhea, bloody stools, abdominal pain and cramping, fatigue, weight loss, and fever.

Flares of the disease can be unpredictable and may be triggered by factors such as stress, infections, or changes in diet.

Treatment for ulcerative colitis typically involves medications to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms, such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and biologics.

In this blog, we will delve into the topic of ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon and rectum.

 

Symptoms

 

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis can vary from person to person, and they may range from mild to severe.

Some of the most common symptoms of UC include:

  • Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Urgency to have a bowel movement
  • Inability to have a bowel movement despite urgency
  • Rectal pain and bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Anemia

ulcerative_colitis_diagnosis

 

Causes

 

The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, but it is thought to be a result of a combination of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors.

People with a family history of UC are at a higher risk of developing the disease.

Other factors that may contribute to the development of UC include a compromised immune system, bacterial or viral infections, and stress.

 

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of ulcerative colitis involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests.

A healthcare provider will ask about the patient’s symptoms, medical history, and family history of IBD.
A physical exam may also be conducted to check for signs of inflammation in the abdomen.

Diagnostic tests that may be used to diagnose UC include: 

Blood tests to check for signs of inflammation or infection

Blood tests can be useful in the diagnosis and management of ulcerative colitis (UC).
While there is no one specific blood test that can definitively diagnose UC, blood tests can help rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms and help monitor disease activity and response to treatment.

Some of the tests that may be ordered for UC include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC):
    This test measures the levels of different types of blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. In UC, the CBC can show signs of anemia (low red blood cell count) or inflammation (elevated white blood cell count).
  • Stool tests to check for blood, infections, or parasites
  • CT scan or MRI to evaluate the extent of inflammation and complications
  • Colonoscopy to visualize the colon and take tissue samples for biopsy

ulcerative_colitis_treatment

 

Colonoscopy Explained

 

Colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows healthcare providers to visualize the inside of the colon and rectum using a flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope. 

The procedure is used to screen for colon cancer, diagnose and treat various gastrointestinal conditions, and monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

During a colonoscopy, the patient lies on their side while the colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and advanced through the colon.

The colonoscope has a tiny camera on the end, which sends images to a monitor that the healthcare provider uses to examine the colon lining for abnormalities such as polyps, inflammation, or cancerous growths.

Before a colonoscopy, patients must follow a special diet and take laxatives to cleanse the colon.

They may also receive sedation or anesthesia to help them relax and reduce discomfort during the procedure.

If any abnormalities are found during the colonoscopy, the healthcare provider may take a biopsy or remove the abnormal tissue for further testing.

The removed tissue is then sent to a lab for analysis to determine if it is cancerous or benign.

Although colonoscopy is generally considered a safe procedure, there are some risks, including bleeding, infection, and perforation of the colon.

It is important to discuss any concerns with the healthcare provider before the procedure.

In summary, colonoscopy is a procedure that allows healthcare providers to examine the colon and rectum for abnormalities using a colonoscope.

The procedure is used to screen for conditions and diagnose and treat gastrointestinal conditions, and monitor treatment effectiveness.

Patients must prepare for the procedure by following a special diet and taking laxatives to cleanse the colon.

If abnormalities are found, a biopsy or removal of tissue may be necessary for further testing.

While generally safe, there are some risks associated with the procedure.

 

ulcerative_colitis_colonoscopy

 

Treatment

 

The treatment of ulcerative colitis may involve medications and lifestyle changes.
The goals of treatment are to reduce inflammation, manage symptoms, and prevent complications.

Medications that may be used to treat UC include: 

  • Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs) to reduce inflammation
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • Immunosuppressants to suppress the immune system
  • Biologic therapies to target specific proteins involved in inflammation
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Reducing stress
  • Quitting smoking

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected part of the colon or rectum.


Traveling with Ulcerative Colitis:

 

Traveling can be stressful for people with ulcerative colitis, as it can disrupt daily routines and access to medical care. 

It is important to stay calm during travelling, keep an emergency kit with you and stay hydrated.

 

Alternative Therapies for Ulcerative Colitis:

While conventional medical treatments are often effective for managing ulcerative colitis, some people may seek out alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or herbal remedies.

 

The Latest Research on Ulcerative Colitis:

 

Ulcerative colitis is a rapidly evolving field, with new research and treatments emerging all the time. 

In this blog post, you could highlight some of the latest research on ulcerative colitis, including advances in genetics, immunology, and microbiome research. 

ulcerative_infographic

 

Conclusion:

 


In conclusion, ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the colon and rectum.

It can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms.  Although there is no known cure for ulcerative colitis, there are a variety of treatment options available to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life for patients.

It is important for individuals with ulcerative colitis to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses their specific symptoms and needs. This may involve a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and dietary modifications.

Furthermore, it is essential to stay up to date with regular check-ups and monitoring to ensure that the disease is under control and to prevent the development of serious complications, such as colon cancer.

Living with ulcerative colitis can be challenging, but with proper care and management, it is possible to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

For any additional information regarding a Colonoscopy procedure, 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 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

Colonoscopy Explained


What is a Colonoscopy?

 

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

During the procedure, a long, flexible, and lighted instrument called a colonoscope is inserted through the rectum to visualize the entire colon.

The procedure is used to detect and diagnose conditions such as colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diverticulosis, and to remove polyps or other growths.

Why is a Colonoscopy Important

A colonoscopy is important because it allows the doctor to visually examine the inside of the colon for any abnormalities such as polyps, tumors, or inflammation.

It can help diagnose various conditions such as colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and diverticulosis.

It is also used as a screening tool to detect colon cancer in its early stages, when it is most treatable.

Additionally, if any abnormal growths are found during the procedure, they can be removed immediately, reducing the risk of future complications.

 

How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy

To prepare for a colonoscopy, you will need to follow specific instructions provided by your doctor to clean out your colon, which typically include:

 

  • Diet changes: Avoid solid foods for 1 – 2 days before the procedure and follow a clear liquid diet. 
  • Laxatives: Take prescribed or over-the counter laxatives to empty your bowels. 
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated 
  • Avoid certain medications: Stop taking certain medications such as blood thinners before procedure. 
  • Fast: Don’t eat or drink anything for 8 – 12 hours before the procedure. 

It’s important to follow the instructions provided by your doctor closely, as a clean colon is essential for a successful and safe colonoscopy.

Additionally, let your doctor know of any medications you are taking, and if you have any medical conditions or allergies.

colonoscopy_Prepare

What Happens During a Colonoscopy

During a colonoscopy, the patient is positioned on their side on an exam table and given sedation to relax and make the procedure more comfortable.

The doctor then inserts the colonoscope through the rectum and guides it through the colon.

The scope has a light and camera, allowing the doctor to see the inside of the colon and take images for later review.

If any polyps or other growths are found, the doctor can remove them during the procedure using instruments passed through the colonoscope.

The procedure typically lasts 30 minutes to an hour.

After the procedure, the patient should rest for a short time under observation, until the sedation wears off.

The patient may feel some bloating or mild cramping, but these symptoms typically resolve quickly.

The doctor will discuss the results of the colonoscopy with the patient, including any findings and the need for any further tests or treatments.

 

Risks and Potential Complications

A colonoscopy is a generally safe procedure, but like any medical procedure, there are some risks and potential complications.

These include:

  • Bleeding: There is a small risk of bleeding after the removal of a polyp or growth.
  • Perforation: In rare cases, the colonoscope may cause a tear in the colon, which can cause peritonitis (an infection of the abdominal cavity). 
  • Reaction to sedation: Some people may have an adverse reaction to the sedation used during the procedure. 
  • Discomfort: Some patients may experience discomfort or mild pain during or after the procedure. 
  • Missed lesions: While a colonoscopy is highly effective, it is not foolproof and there is a small risk that a lesion or growth may be missed.

It is important to discuss any concerns or questions about the risks and potential complications of a colonoscopy with your doctor before the procedure.

Your doctor can also explain what to expect during and after the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

 

colonoscopy_procedure

 

How to Care for Yourself After a Colonoscopy

After a colonoscopy, you should follow these steps to ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Rest: Take it easy for the rest of the day and avoid strenuous activities. 
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of clear liquids to stay hydrated. 
  • Resume normal activities: Gradually return to your normal diet and activities but avoid solid foods for a few hours after the procedure. 
  • Follow-up care: If you had any polyps or growths removed during the procedure, your doctor will let you know if any follow-up care is needed. 
  • Report any symptoms: If you experience any symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, fever, or heavy bleeding, contact your doctor immediately. 

It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and listen to your body as you recover from a colonoscopy.

If you have any concerns or questions about your recovery, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor for advice.

 

Alternatives to a Colonoscopy


There are several alternatives to a colonoscopy, including:

  • Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT): A simple blood test to detect blood in the stool, which can be a sign of colon cancer. 
  • Stool DNA test: A test that looks for abnormal DNA in the stool, which can indicate the presence of colon cancer or precancerous polyps. 
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: Similar to a colonoscopy, but only examines the lower part of the colon. 
  • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy): A non-invasive test that uses X-rays and computer software to produce images of the colon. 
  • Double-Contrast Barium Enema (DCBE): An X-ray test that uses barium to highlight the inside of the colon.

It’s important to discuss your options with your doctor, who can help determine which test is best for you based on your individual needs and risk factors.

Keep in mind that while these tests can be used to detect colon cancer or precancerous growths, a colonoscopy remains the most effective way to examine the inside of the colon and remove any growths or polyps if necessary.

colonoscopy_diagnosis

 

When to Schedule Your Next Colonoscopy

The recommended interval for scheduling your next colonoscopy depends on several factors, including:

  • Age: For average-risk individuals, the American Cancer Society recommends a first colonoscopy at age 45 or earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer. 
  • Risk factors: If you have any risk factors for colon cancer, such as a family history, personal history of polyps or colon cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease, your doctor may recommend a more frequent screening schedule. 
  • Results of previous colonoscopies: If no polyps or growths were found during your previous colonoscopy, your doctor may recommend scheduling your next colonoscopy in 10 years.If polyps were found and removed, the recommended interval may be shorter, based on the size, number, and type of polyps.

It is important to discuss your individual screening schedule with your doctor, who can help determine the right time for your next colonoscopy based on your individual health history and risk factors.

colonocopy_explained_infographic

 

Conclusion

For any additional information regarding a Colonoscopy procedure, 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 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.

Understanding a Polypectomy: Risks, Benefits, and Recovery

Understanding a Polypectomy: Risks, Benefits, and Recovery

 

What Is a Polypectomy?

 

A polypectomy is a medical procedure in which a polyp, or small growth, is removed from the body. 

Polyps can occur in a variety of places, including the colon, nose, and throat.

A Polypectomy is procedure used by doctors to remove polyps from the inner linings of the large intestine/the colon. It is usually performed during colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.

A colonoscopy is first done to detect the presence of any polyps. If any are detected, a polypectomy is performed, and the tissue is removed.

The tissue will be examined to determine if the growths are cancerous, precancerous, or benign to prevent colon cancer.

Polyps can be small, large, sessile, or pedunculated. Sessile polyps are flat and don’t have a stalk. Pedunculated polyps grow on stalks like mushrooms.

For small polyps (less than 5mm in diameter), biopsy forceps can be used for removal. Larger polyps (up to 2cm in diameter) can be removed using a snare.

After the procedure, your Gastroenterologist will remove the colonoscope and give you a chance to change and rest.

The medical staff will give you instructions explaining what to expect and the symptoms to look out for.

In most cases, polyps are benign, or non-cancerous. However, some polyps may be precancerous, or have the potential to develop into cancer.

Polypectomies are typically performed as outpatient procedures, meaning the patient does not need to stay overnight in the hospital.

The specific procedure will vary depending on the location of the polyp.

For example, a polyp in the colon may be removed during a colonoscopy, while a polyp in the nose may be removed with a nasal endoscope.

In this blog article we discuss the polypectomy procedure, risks and benefits involved.

  

What is a Polyp?

 

A polyp is a small, benign growth that protrudes from the surface of a mucous membrane.

Polyps can occur anywhere in the body where there is mucous membrane, but they are most commonly found in the nose, sinuses, and colon.

While most polyps are benign, some can become cancerous. Polyps are usually treated by removal, either by surgery or endoscopy.

 

polypectomy_polyp_removal

 

Types of Polypectomies

 

There are several different types of polypectomies, depending on the location and type of polyp being removed.

The most common type of polypectomy is a colonoscopy, in which polyps are removed from the colon (large intestine).

Other types of polypectomies include endometrial polypectomies (removal of polyps from the lining of the uterus), gastric polypectomies (removal of polyps from the stomach), and bronchial polypectomies (removal of polyps from the airway).

 

What Are the Risks of a Polypectomy?

 

A polypectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to remove polyps from the colon.
Polyps are growths that can develop on the lining of the colon.

While most polyps are benign, or noncancerous, some can develop into cancer.

The risks of a polypectomy include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Perforation of the colon 

Bleeding is the most common complication, and usually occurs during or immediately after the procedure.

Infection and perforation are rare but more serious complications that can occur. Infection can develop if the colon is not properly cleaned before the procedure.

Perforation can occur if the polyp is removed without proper cautery, or if the colon is nicked during the procedure.

Overall, the risks of a polypectomy are low. The procedure is typically safe, and complications are rare.

However, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks that should be discussed with your doctor prior to having the procedure.polypectomy_benefits

What Are the Benefits of Undergoing a Polypectomy?

 

Polyps can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous), and although most polyps are benign, removal is still recommended because some polyps can develop into cancer over time.

There are several benefits of undergoing a polypectomy.

First, it can help to prevent colon cancer by removing precancerous polyps before they have a chance to become cancerous.

Second, it can help to relieve symptoms such as bleeding or changes in bowel habits that may be caused by polyps.

Third, it can help to improve the overall health of the colon by removing polyps that could potentially cause problems in the future.

Overall, a polypectomy is a safe and effective way to remove polyps from the colon or rectum.

If you have any concerns about polyps or your risk for colon cancer, be sure to talk to your doctor.

 

What Is Recovery Like After a Polypectomy?

 

Recovery from a polypectomy is typically fairly easy, and most people can go home the same day as the procedure. However, there are a few things you can do to help make the recovery process go more smoothly.

Recovery is generally quick. Minor side effects such as gassiness, bloating, and cramps usually resolve within 24 hours.

With a more involved procedure, a full recovery can take up to two weeks.

First, it’s important to get plenty of rest. This will help your body heal and reduce the risk of complications.

You should also take it easy for the first few days after the procedure. Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting. Drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet to help your body recover.

If you have any pain, your doctor may prescribe medication. Be sure to take it as directed. You may also have some bleeding or drainage from the incision site.

This is normal and should eventually stop. If you have any concerns about your recovery, be sure to contact your doctor.

 

polypectomy_procedure

 

Signs You Might Need a Polypectomy

 

If you have been diagnosed with a polyp, your doctor may recommend a polypectomy to remove it.

However, not all polyps need to be removed and your doctor will determine if a polypectomy is necessary.

There are a few signs that may indicate that you need a polypectomy, which include: 

  • If the polyp is large
  • If the polyp is bleeding
  • If the polyp is causing pain or other symptoms
  • If the polyp is located in a difficult to reach area

If you have any of these signs, your doctor will likely recommend a polypectomy.
During the procedure, a small camera is inserted into the colon and the polyp is removed.
 

A polypectomy is generally a safe and effective procedure with a low risk of complications.

 

polypectomy_prevent

 

How You Can Prevent Polyps

 

There are a few things you can do to help prevent polyps from forming in the first place.

First, eat a healthy diet that is low in fat and sugar. Get plenty of fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Second, exercise regularly.

Third, avoid smoking.

And fourth, if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

If you have any family members with polyps or other gastrointestinal problems, be sure to let your doctor know.

 polypectomy_infgraphic


Conclusion

 

The most important thing to do after a polypectomy is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This means eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Doing these things will help to lower the risk of polyps from returning.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding a polypectomy, please contact your physician.

For any additional information regarding a polypectomy, 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.