Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for category: GI Care

November 23, 2020
Category: GI Care
Tags: Celiac Disease   Diet  

You've been diagnosed with celiac disease - now what? You're understandably concerned about your diet and how you can prevent your immune system from responding to the presence of wheat, barley, and rye. At Houston Digestive Disease Consultants in Houston, Texas, our team of gastroenterologists is committed to helping their patients with celiac disease eat healthfully and comfortably. Below, basic dietary guidelines for people with celiac disease are discussed.

What can I safely eat?

There is a wide variety of products in grocery stores that are considered "gluten-alternative" with replacement ingredients, but your Houston gastroenterologist recommends that your priority should be to eat foods that are naturally gluten-free. Any type of fresh fish, meat or poultry, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and beans are all naturally free of gluten. However, pre-packaged meals that contain these items may also have gluten. If you've never been much of a cook, now is a great time to adopt a new habit that also maintains your health.

But what about grains?

Many people newly diagnosed with celiac disease don't realize that they can still enjoy many of the common and not-so-common grain-based foods. Rice, corn, flax, and chia are all grains that do not cause inflammation in your small intestine. Flours made from nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans can be a good stand-in for traditional wheat flour. You can also try out lesser-known grains like amaranth, groats, cassava, or yucca, which can be found at specialty grocery stores.

Are there any hidden dangers?

Some people with CD have reported problems with gluten-alternative foods because they are processed on or near equipment that also processes wheat-based items. Cream-based soups and sauces often contain wheat as a thickening agent. Foods that contain malts, such as cereals and some alcoholic beverages, can also cause problems for those with CD. Your Houston gastroenterologist recommends checking labels to see if there is a warning about processing or contact the companies for more information.

To learn more about celiac disease, and to make an appointment, contact one of our gastroenterology offices in Houston. These include Memorial Hermann Southwest at (713) 777-2555, Smith Tower at (713) 796-8627, or Memorial Hermann Greater Heights at (713) 880-8707.

October 23, 2020
Category: GI Care
Tags: Colon Polyps  

Find out whether colon polyps need to be removed and what to expect from the procedure.

If you have colon polyps the good news is that they can easily be removed by one of our Houston, TX, gastroenterologists. Most colon polyps are benign but do have the ability to turn cancerous. This is why it’s important to have them removed. Since colon polyps rarely cause symptoms usually the only way to find out you have polyps is through a routine colonoscopy. Regular colonoscopies after you turn 50 years old are important for both men and women for detecting colon polyps and colorectal cancer.

What are the signs of colon polyps?

Many people don’t even know that they have colon polyps; however, sometimes they can cause signs such as,

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Black or red-colored stools
  • Bowel changes (e.g. persistent diarrhea or constipation)
  • Anemia
  • Abdominal pain and fullness

If you are dealing with abdominal pain or blood in the stool it’s important that you see your Houston, TX, gastroenterologist as soon as possible.

How are colon polyps treated?

It is important that polyps are removed, and the most common way to remove polyps is with a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a simple procedure in which our doctors insert a thin, flexible tube into the rectum and guide it carefully into the colon. From there, we can use special instruments to remove the polyp or polyps. Once the polyps are removed, we will test them for cancer.

Those who have had colon polyps in the past are more at risk for developing colorectal cancer and may want to talk with their doctors about coming in more often for routine colonoscopies.

Is there a way to prevent colon polyps?

There are things you can do to lessen your chances for developing polyps. Some of these preventive measures include,

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Reducing red meat consumption
  • Avoiding or limiting alcohol
  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Losing excess weight if overweight or obese
  • Getting regular physical activity

Making healthier life choices can go a long way to reducing your risk for both colon polyps and colorectal cancer.

Looking for a gastroenterologist in Houston, TX, that can provide you with routine colonoscopies and regular intestinal care? If so, call Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants to schedule your next appointment. Call (713) 777-2555 for the Memorial Hermann Southwest office, (713) 796-8627 for the Smith Tower office, or (713) 880-8707 for the Memorial Hermann Greater Heights office.

By Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants
October 07, 2020
Category: GI Care

Stomach pain is something we will all go through at some point. Luckily, stomach pain is usually caused by something minor like a food intolerance or an infection that goes away on its own. However, it might be time to see a qualified medical professional for your stomach pain if you are also dealing with,

Rectal bleeding

If you are noticing blood when you wipe, blood in the toilet or blood in your stool, then there is bleeding occurring somewhere within the gastrointestinal tract. Most of the time it’s from something minor like external or internal hemorrhoids or an anal fissure; however, if you notice persistent or heavy bleeding along with stomach pain this could be a sign of something more serious and it’s important to see your doctor right away.

Persistent Bowel Changes

While we will all experience diarrhea or constipation at some point, most of the time the problem will clear up on its own; however, recurring changes in bowel habits along with stomach pain may mean it’s time to see a gastroenterologist. These changes include,

  • Narrow stools
  • Blood in the stool
  • Black or pale stools
  • Bloody diarrhea (a sign of inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a few days
  • Having less than three bowel movements a week

Stomach Pain is Getting Worse

If you are dealing with persistent stomach pain that is starting to radiate to other parts of the body like your back or shoulder, this could be a sign of a serious problem affecting your gallbladder or pancreas. If you are dealing with a condition that affects the pancreas you may also notice vomiting, a fast heartbeat, and tender stomach (but pain may be mild, at first).

Gallbladder attacks usually cause sudden and intense pain that may start at the upper center or right side of the abdomen and radiate to the back or even the shoulder. It’s important that you seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Sudden Pain in the Lower Right Side

If you are experiencing abdominal pain in the lower right side that appeared suddenly and is only getting worse, it could be appendicitis. Some people also experience fever, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal swelling. Symptoms will appear rapidly and only get worse, so it’s important to call your gastroenterologist or seek emergency care.

If you’re experiencing persistent stomach pain or pain after eating it might be time to see a gastroenterologist find out what’s going on. Turn to the team at Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants by calling (713) 777-2555.