Could you have diverticulosis? Our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker of Houston Digestive Disease Consultants, shares some information about the condition.
What is diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis occurs when small pouches form in the wall of your large intestine. Thirty-five percent of people 50 and younger and 58 percent of people 60 and older have the condition, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.
How can I tell if I have diverticulosis?
You probably won't experience any symptoms if you have diverticulosis. Many people only find out they have the condition when tests are performed to diagnose another condition or disease. If you do develop symptoms, you may notice bloating, pain in the lower left part of your abdomen or constipation. Symptoms are more likely to occur if you have diverticulitis, which occurs when the pouches become infected or inflamed. Fortunately, most people who have diverticulosis will never experience diverticulitis.
What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain and tenderness
- Constipation or diarrhea
How is diverticulitis treated?
If you have diverticulitis, you'll need to take an antibiotic to treat the infection. You may also be advised to follow a liquid diet for a few days. You may spend a few days receiving intravenous antibiotics in the hospital if you suffer a severe attack. Surgery may be needed to treat bowel obstructions, abscesses or perforations.
How can I reduce the chance of developing diverticulosis or diverticulitis?
Drinking plenty of water and eating a high fiber diet can help digested food pass through your colon more quickly and may reduce your risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and exercising regularly may also be helpful. If you do develop diverticulitis symptoms, it's important to call our Houston office as soon as possible, particularly if your symptoms severe. The infection won't go away on its own, and obstructions and other serious consequences may be life-threatening if you don't receive prompt treatment.
Are you concerned that your abdominal pain may be a sign of diverticular disease? Call our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Shivshanker of Houston Digestive Disease Consultants, at (713) 777-2555 to schedule an appointment.
What your gastroenterologist in Houston wants you to know
Gastroenterology is a complex medical specialty dealing with diseases and conditions of the stomach and digestive system. Gastroenterologists, also called stomach doctors, can diagnose and treat ulcers, colon and rectal issues, and digestive problems. Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker at Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants in Houston, TX, wants to share some frequently asked questions and answers about gastroenterology.
What is an endoscopy?
An endoscopy involves using a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera attached on the end. The tool, known as an endoscope, is threaded down your esophagus and allows your doctor to see the tissue in your esophagus and upper digestive tract. An endoscopy can detect peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal disease or GERD, and bleeding in your upper digestive tract.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is similar to an endoscopy; however, the thin, flexible tube is placed up through the rectum and allows your doctor to view your lower intestine, colon and rectum. A colonoscopy can detect colon cancer, colitis, Crohn’s disease, polyps, growths and gastrointestinal bleeding.
What is an ulcer?
An ulcer is an irritation or lesion in your stomach caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori. An overabundance of this bacterium causes an infection which can result in an ulcer. Ulcers can also develop from taking pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen for a long period of time.
How can I know if I have an ulcer?
Ulcers don’t always cause symptoms, making them difficult to diagnose. There are some typical signs and symptoms to look for including burning stomach pain, a full or bloated feeling, nausea, excess stomach acid, increasing pain between meals and during the night, and problems eating foods that are high in fat.
What are the signs of colon cancer?
Colon cancer can be deadly, which is why it is recommended to have a colonoscopy after the age of 50. There are some signs to look for if you think you might have colon cancer. Typical signs and symptoms include chronic abdominal pain and cramping, rapid loss of weight, fatigue, weakness, chronic constipation or diarrhea, and dark, tarry stools which may be an indication of blood in your stools.
These are just a few of the questions your gastroenterologist frequently answers. For more answers about gastroenterology conditions and treatment, call Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker at Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants with two convenient office locations in Houston, TX. Call today!
Colorectal cancer is highly preventative and can be detected through tests even before symptoms arise. Your gastroenterologist in Houston, TX, Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker from Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants, can examine you and determine whether a colonoscopy is advisable for your health. Generally, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy suggests anyone over 50 or individuals under 50 with a family history to be screened.
Signs That A Colonoscopy is Needed
On top of the age guidelines set forth, there are a variety of symptoms that should signal that a colonoscopy may need to be performed. For instance, if someone is having suspicious bowel symptoms such as blood in the stool or unexplained pain or cramping, it may be a good idea to have this important test. Also, individuals with Crohn’s or Ulcerative colitis or a woman diagnosed with ovarian or uterine cancer before age 50 both may need colonoscopies. Your gastroenterologist in Houston Dr. Shivshanker from Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants can have a detailed conversation with you about your symptoms and determine whether or not this test is one that you should have administered.
It’s important to note that even individuals without any symptoms with a family history of colorectal cancer may need a colonoscopy. These high-risk groups have surveillance colonoscopy just to protect their health on a regular basis. The age this begins depends on each patient. Ultimately, this test can save lives as colon cancer is known for spreading fast throughout the rest of abdominal area. While it may be uncomfortable, it is able to detect serious things going on inside that you cannot determine without this procedure. Your Houston, TX gastroenterologist, Dr. Shivshanker from Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants, can help you determine whether a colonoscopy might be advisable in your situation. To schedule a consultation, call 713-777-2555 today.
Rectal bleeding can be rather unnerving. Find out if colon polyps could be to blame.
If you have colon polyps you may not even know it. Sometimes the only way people find out that they have this issue is when our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker, performs a bowel examination. However, some people with colon polyps may, in fact, experience symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Rectal bleeding (this can also be a sign of a minor tear or hemorrhoids)
- Stool color changes (stool that contains blood may look black)
- Diarrhea or constipation that lasts more than one week
- Nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting (if the colon polyp obstructs the bowels)
When should you visit our Houston, TX, GI doctor?
It’s always a good idea to pick up the phone and give us a call if you are dealing with blood in your stool, abdominal pain or changes in your bowels that last longer than one week.
If you have a family history of colon cancer or if you are 50 years old or older, you should be getting routine screenings for polyps.
Are polyps a cause for concern?
Some colon polyp may be cancerous or become cancerous, which is why it’s so important that they are caught early and removed. The earlier they are detected and treated the less likely that they will be cancerous.
How are colon polyps removed?
During a bowel exam we can usually remove the polyp with special instruments. If the polyp is rather large, we may inject a special liquid into it to lift it away from neighboring healthy tissue so that it’s easier to remove. If the polyp is too large or is too difficult to remove through a traditional exam then we will need to perform surgery. Once the polyp is removed it is tested to make sure that it is benign.
Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants is dedicated to providing the very best gastrointestinal medical care. Whether you are experiencing symptoms of a colon polyp or you are dealing with suspicious stomach problems, let our GI medical experts in Houston, TX, treat your issues.
Acid reflux is a digestive disease that affects approximately 7 million people in the United States. Caused by stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus, it has roots in many different habits and conditions. At Houseton Digestive Diseases Consultants in Houston, TX our gastroenterologist, Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker, is committed to helping their patients determine the source of their acid reflux in order to help them find relief from the discomfort. A few of the most common causes of reflux are listed here:
The diaphragm is a muscular structure that separates the stomach from the chest area of the body. A hiatal hernia causes the stomach to become displaced above the diaphragm, making it easier for acid to rise into the esophagus. A hiatal hernia is often just a physical abnormality, so your Houston gastroenterologist may prescribe medication to reduce or neutralize acid production to help lessen the reflux symptoms. A small number of patients may require surgery to reposition the stomach and diaphragm, although this is usually reserved for emergency complications, which are rare.
Foods and drinks that contain fat, caffeine, alcohol or citrus ingredients can all contribute to reflux. You may need to keep a food diary for a week or so to determine what your triggers are. If you notice an increase in reflux symptoms after a cup of coffee, for example, your Houston gastroenterologist suggests switching to green tea. You may also need to limit your intake of alcohol and avoid lemonade, orange juice, soda and other highly acidic beverages. For more reasons than preventing reflux, try to abstain from a diet high in fat.
There are many other temporary and ongoing conditions that may cause reflux. About 25% of pregnant women notice an increase in reflux symptoms, especially as their pregnancy progresses. People who regularly take aspirin, ibuprofen or blood thinning medications are also at risk for developing reflux. Lying down immediately after eating is also a common cause.
You don't have to suffer with reflux any longer. Contact Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants today to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Shivshanker!
Hemorrhoids are a big pain in the butt, literally. They are particularly frustrating to manage because they're located in a place that you use very often. If you have recurring issues with hemorrhoids, take the time to learn more about what causes them, how you can treat them and how to avoid them altogether.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are painful veiny lumps that develop around the anus. They form due to pressure on the veins around the rectum and pelvis area. You can have either external or internal hemorrhoids (or both). Internal hemorrhoids develop inside of the anus, while external ones grow outside of the opening. Both are extremely painful. You can clearly tell when you have external hemorrhoids because you can see or feel them bulging from the anal area. If you see blood, or mucus, in your stool or the toilet after going to the bathroom, that is a possible sign of internal hemorrhoids.
Straining when having a bowel movement mostly causes hemorrhoids. Pushing hard to expel feces causes those veins to enlarge and become swollen. So if you have ongoing issues with constipation, this could be a chronic issue. Having a baby can also cause hemorrhoids because the mother must strain to push out her baby. Sitting for long periods of time in an uncomfortable position, such as on a rock or the cement, could also put undue pressure on the anal muscles, causing hemorrhoids.
While hemorrhoids do not usually present a serious medical concern, they can cause a number of negative side effects related to the pain. Knowing that a bowel movement will be painful could make you avoid moving your bowels regularly. Also, just sitting at a desk for work could become more of a chore than you ever imagine.
An over-the-counter or prescribed hemorrhoid cream is the usual solution for hemorrhoids. The cream slowly reduces the swelling. In more serious situations, a doctor may have to place bands at the base of the protruding veins to reduce their size slowly or perform a surgery. A hemorrhoidectomy is the traditional surgery, where the tissue is removed while a hemorrhoidopexy staples the tissue in a particular position so that hemorrhoids no longer form around the anus.
Have a Comfortable Seat
You may be able to manage most hemorrhoid pain without going to the doctor with natural solutions. Try sitting in a bath of warm water (also called a sitz bath) for about a half an hour. Do not sit on hard surfaces or even on chairs that are firm -- sit on a pillow or a doughnut. If possible, do not sit at all -- lay down on your side instead while dealing with a hemorrhoid. Avoid straining when going to the bathroom and to avoid future problems with constipation, eat foods high in fiber and exercise more.
Welcome to the Blog of Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants
Whether you are an existing patient or searching for a gastroenterologist in the Houston area, we're excited you are here. With the internal medicine industry advancing, we recognize the importance of keeping our patients and visitors up to date with all of the new and exciting things taking place in our practice.
As we move forward with our blog, we hope to promote medical awareness to aid your healthy, active lifestyle. Here you will find a variety of articles and topics including the latest developments in internal medicine, digestive diseases and helpful self care advice from our staff.
We hope you find our blog to be helpful, engaging and informational to ensure your long-term health.
As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
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