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FAQ: Hemorrhoids

Category: News

Despite being a common complaint, many people are embarrassed by having hemorrhoids, and some patients are reluctant to seek medical treatment. At GastroIntestinal Specialists, we see many patients with hemorrhoids. You don’t have to be ashamed of having hemorrhoids, and more importantly, you do not have to live with the discomfort of hemorrhoids. To help start the conversation about hemorrhoids, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions.

 

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus. These inflamed and often painful veins have many causes, including straining during bowel movements, a low-fiber diet, constipation, diarrhea, pregnancy, age, lifting heavy objects or sitting for too long, especially on the toilet.

There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are located inside the rectum and anus, while external hemorrhoids form under the skin around the anus. It is possible to have both types at the same time.

How common are hemorrhoids?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, hemorrhoids affect 1 in 20 Americans. Hemorrhoids are more common in older adults, with half of adults over age 50 having hemorrhoids.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Symptoms depend on the type of hemorrhoids you have. External hemorrhoids can cause anal itching, rectal pain, aching, burning and painful lumps near the anus. Internal hemorrhoids cause rectal bleeding, along with pain and discomfort if you experience a prolapse.

How do I know if I have hemorrhoids or something else?

There are other conditions that cause similar symptoms to hemorrhoids, particularly rectal bleeding which can be a sign of an anal fissure, inflammatory bowel disease or bowel cancer. It is best to see a doctor for correct diagnosis and treatment.

How long do hemorrhoids last?

Small hemorrhoids may resolve with or without treatment within a few days, but large hemorrhoids may take significantly longer, and cause pain and discomfort. If you are uncomfortable or if the hemorrhoid does not clear up quickly, schedule an appointment to see a doctor.

When should I seek medical treatment for hemorrhoids?

You should schedule an appointment with a doctor if you have bleeding from your rectum or if symptoms have not improved after one week of at-home treatment. Patients experiencing severe bleeding or anal pain, especially with abdominal pain, diarrhea or fever, should seek immediate medical attention.

How are hemorrhoids treated?

At GastroIntestinal Specialists, we offer several effective treatments for hemorrhoids at our specialized clinic, the Hemorrhoid Center of Louisiana. One of the fastest and most effective procedures is hemorrhoid banding with the CRH O’Regan System®. This procedure is 99% effective and completely painless. It takes less than a minute to perform, and there is no post-procedure pain or recovery time. Unlike home remedies that only provide relief, it fully treats hemorrhoids.

Other minimally invasive procedures offered at the Hemorrhoid Center include sclerotherapy, infrared coagulation and Ultroid® non-surgical hemorrhoid treatment. A very small percentage of patients who do not respond to treatment may require surgery. A hemorrhoidectomy or hemorrhoid stapling may be recommended in these cases.

What OTC or at-home treatments can provide relief from hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can be treated at home with a number of lifestyle and over-the-counter remedies, or they can be used alongside medical treatment.

  • Stool softeners or fiber supplements
  • Drinking more water
  • Increasing dietary fiber
  • OTC pain relievers
  • Hemorrhoid creams or ointments
  • Soaking in the bath (called a sitz bath)
  • Avoiding straining during bowel movements

Can hemorrhoids be prevented?

Healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent hemorrhoids, and they include:

  • Eating high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole-grains.
  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Avoiding prolonged periods of sitting.
  • Not straining during bowel movements.
  • Addressing constipation.

Do hemorrhoids increase the risk of bowel cancer?

No, hemorrhoids do not increase your risk for developing bowel cancer. However, rectal bleeding can be a symptom of bowel cancer, so patients with this symptom should make an appointment with their doctor. The American Cancer Society also recommends bowel cancer screening for all people beginning at age 45.

 

GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C., treat multiple conditions and diseases of the GI tract, and we offer specialized treatment for hemorrhoids at our Hemorrhoid Center of Louisiana. To schedule an appointment, call (318) 631-9121 or click here

 


A Healthy, New You

Category: News

After the holiday season, you might be feeling a little sluggish and/or bloated, or you may have even put on a few pounds. First of all, don’t stress about it. What’s done is done, and beating yourself up over it is not going to help. Second, now is the perfect time to start nourishing your body with healthy foods and plenty of water. Getting back into proper exercise and sleep regimens is also important.

Whether or not you have made New Year’s resolutions, committing to healthy lifestyle habits will not only make you look and feel your best, but it will also go a long way for increasing your gut health and, by extension, your overall health.

Gut bacteria plays a huge role in our health. When our gut bacteria becomes imbalanced due to poor diet, stress, unhealthy lifestyle habits and antibiotic usage, it can result in uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, cramping and diarrhea. Even worse, poor gut health can lead to bigger problems such as obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses.

How do you know if you have an unhealthy gut? Depending on the severity of the imbalance, you can experience one or two symptoms or a range, which may include:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Gaining or losing weight unintentionally
  • Increased inflammation
  • Poor-quality sleep
  • New skin conditions or worsening of existing skin problems

The good news is that with the right diet and cultivating other healthy lifestyle habits, you can improve your gut health dramatically. Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of regular exercise, getting good-quality sleep, reducing stress, taking care of your mental health and avoiding antibiotics are all ways to reduce inflammation within the body and to help balance your gut bacteria. While all of these factors can improve gut health, one of the most influential ways is what you feed it.

Here are our top 10 tips for improving your gut health through nutrition:

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating a majority plant-based diet with a wide variety of fresh produce is one of the best things you can do for your gut.
  2. Reduce your consumption of sugar, fat and processed foods.
  3. Make sure you are getting enough fiber. Fiber feeds your gut, helping gut bacteria to proliferate (in addition to helping with stool-elimination). High-fiber foods include whole-grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
  4. Get more prebiotics in your diet, preferably from food rather than supplements. Prebiotics help promote the growth of good bacteria. Foods that contain prebiotics include garlic, onions, whole-grains, bananas and asparagus.
  5. Eat foods containing probiotics, which are live microorganisms that help populate your gut with good bacteria. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented vegetables.
  6. Get enough omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 may help encourage gut bacteria diversity and overall gut health, and it can easily be included by eating fish/seafood, nuts and seeds.
  7. Go organic. When you can, choose organic produce and meats to avoid exposure to pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics, all of which can disrupt the balance of your gut bacteria.
  8. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water not only helps with digestion and elimination, but it also helps balance gut bacteria and improves the mucosal lining of the digestive tract.
  9. Slow down. Eating your meals slower and chewing food properly allows you to fully digest your food.
  10. Check for food intolerances. Sometimes, gut problems are triggered or worsened by eating foods that your body has difficulty digesting. Common trigger foods are gluten and dairy.

 

GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C., treat multiple conditions and diseases of the GI tract. Our Board-Certified physicians have over 150 years of combined experience in providing quality care you can trust. To schedule an appointment, call (318) 631-9121 or click here.


Constipation Awareness Month

Category: News

It’s a topic that most of us would rather avoid, but our bathroom habits can be more than just annoying. They can be a sign that something more serious is going on. Even when there isn’t cause for concern, many people still suffer discomfort when they don’t have to be uncomfortable. With December being dedicated to constipation awareness, we think it’s the perfect time to talk about it.

What is Constipation?

When people have infrequent bowel movements or difficulty emptying their bowels, they are experiencing constipation. It is generally defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. If the condition persists for several weeks or more, it is considered chronic constipation. Simple lifestyle changes typically relieve constipation. In some cases, further treatment or tests may be required to determine and address the underlying cause.

Causes of Constipation

Difficult or infrequent bowel movements are caused by stool moving too slowly through the digestive tract, resulting in hard stool that is not easily passed. Acute constipation is often a result of dehydration, lack of fiber, changes in diet or other lifestyle factors. However, chronic constipation may be caused by potentially serious conditions.

Chronic constipation can have many causes, including:

  • Blockage in the intestine or rectum
  • Narrowing of the intestines (bowel stricture)
  • Colon and rectal nerve problems
  • Anal fissures
  • Herniation in the vaginal wall (rectocele)
  • Pelvic muscle problems
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Hormone imbalances that affect fluid balance caused by conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease or being pregnant
  • Neurological conditions, such as stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease
  • Abdominal, colon or rectal cancer
  • Psychological problems
  • Certain medications

Symptoms of Constipation

The signs and symptoms of constipation are easy to recognize. They include:

  • Fewer than three bowel movements per week
  • Hard and dry or lumpy stools
  • Straining to pass stool
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel movement
  • Feeling of a blockage in your bowel

When to See a Doctor for Constipation

It is important to address chronic constipation, as it may be a symptom of a serious underlying condition. Constipation left untreated can also lead to other complications, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, impacted bowel or rectal prolapse.

If you experience ongoing constipation despite making dietary and lifestyle changes, you should make an appointment with your general practitioner. You should also see your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea (alternating with constipation)
  • Blood in the stool
  • Unintentional weight loss

Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and a digital rectal examination, and may order further diagnostic tests or procedures. These may include blood tests, X-ray, colonoscopy, examination of the rectum and colon (sigmoidoscopy), anal sphincter muscle function test, a colonic transit study or MRI scans.

Prevention and Treatment

Lifestyle and diet changes are often successful in both the prevention and treatment of constipation. They include:

  • Drinking adequate amounts of water to stay hydrated
  • Eating plenty of fiber
  • Reducing potentially constipation-causing foods, such as meat, dairy, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Managing stress or anxiety
  • Not delaying or ignoring the urge to go

If these changes are not effective, your doctor may recommend medication or surgery, depending on the underlying cause of your constipation.

 

GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C., treat multiple conditions and diseases of the GI tract. Our Board-Certified physicians have over 150 years of combined experience in providing quality care you can trust. To schedule an appointment, call (318) 631-9121 or click here.


Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Category: Events, News

Pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States, which is why November is dedicated to raising awareness about the risks and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

Despite accounting for only 3% of all cancers, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. An estimated 56,770 adults will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year alone, but only 9% will survive to five years and beyond.

Although these figures improve significantly with a 5-year survival rate of 34% when the cancer is detected early and removed surgically, the lack of routine screening and early-stage symptoms for most patients means that only one-tenth of pancreatic cancer cases is diagnosed at this stage. The sooner you receive a diagnosis and treatment, the greater your chances of survival, which is why knowing the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer (along with your own risk for developing it) is paramount.

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Unfortunately, symptoms of pancreatic cancer often only occur in the late stages of the disease. They may include:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen or mid-back
  • Ascites (buildup of fluid in the abdomen)
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Indigestion and/or nausea
  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin and/or eyes)
  • Stool changes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Sudden-onset type 2 diabetes
  • Blood clots

Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors

Although there is no routine screening for pancreatic cancer, there are risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer. Many of these can be eliminated or controlled through healthy lifestyle choices. If you are a high-risk patient, you may be eligible for a screening program. Risk factors that may increase your chances of developing pancreatic cancer include:

  • Chronic pancreatitis and/or hereditary pancreatitis
  • Diabetes
    • Long-standing more than 5 years
  • Obesity
    • Obese people have a 20% increased risk compared to people of healthy weight.
  • Genetics
    • Having two or more first-degree relatives with pancreatic cancer or one who developed the disease before the age of 50, or having an inherited genetic syndrome associated with pancreatic cancer
    • Family history of breast, colon or breast cancer, or melanoma
  • Ethnicity
    • There is a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer among African-Americans and Ashkenazi Jews.
  • Age
    • The majority of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are over the age of 60.
  • Smoking
    • People who smoke have double the risk of people who have never smoked.
    • Smoking may cause 20% to 30% of all exocrine pancreatic cancer.
  • Diet & Alcohol
    • High consumption of red meat and processed meats may increase risk.
    • People who drink more than three alcoholic beverages daily have a higher risk.
  • Poor Oral Health
    • Studies show that people with a history of periodontal disease have an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, even when controlling for other risk factors.
  • Environmental Chemicals
    • Exposure to certain chemicals (such as pesticides, benzidine, asbestos, benzene, some dyes and petrochemicals) may increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

 

GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C, treat multiple conditions and diseases of the GI tract. Our Board-Certified physicians have over 150 years of combined experience in providing quality care you can trust. To schedule an appointment, call (318) 631-9121 or click here.


Liver Cancer: Signs, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Category: Events, News

October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month, making it a good time to talk about the symptoms and risk factors associated with liver cancer. Liver cancer incidence has more than tripled since 1980 with an estimated 33,000 patients diagnosed with liver cancer in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Liver cancer is also one of the most deadly cancers. Approximately 27,000 Americans die from the disease each year, making it the fifth most common cause of cancer death in men and the seventh most common cause of cancer death in women. A CDC study found that only 26% of liver cancer patients survived five years from diagnosis if the cancer had not spread beyond the liver. For those patients where it had spread, survival rates ranged from just 4% to 10%.

Who Is At Risk For Developing Liver Cancer?

There are a number of factors that increase the risk of primary liver cancer, which is cancer that begins in the liver rather than a cancer that spreads to the liver from another area of the body. These include:

  • Viral Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
  • Cirrhosis
  • Genetic Metabolic Diseases
  • Some Rare Diseases
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heavy Alcohol Consumption
  • Smoking
  • Aflatoxins (long-term exposure to aflatoxins, which can form from fungal growth on nuts, soybeans, corn and rice)

While there are no guidelines for screening, many physicians will suggest regular evaluations for those at a high risk for developing liver cancer.

Signs & Symptoms of Liver Cancer

Unfortunately, the symptoms of primary liver cancer typically appear in the later stages of the disease, making early detection difficult. See your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms listed below:

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of fullness with little food
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Upper abdominal pain or near the right shoulder blade
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • White, chalky stools
  • Itching

The earlier liver cancer treatment begins, the more likely it is to be beneficial. Although having one or more of the symptoms listed above may be caused by other conditions, it is important to schedule a checkup promptly for diagnosis.

Our Board-certified physicians have over 150 years of combined experience in providing quality care you can trust. To schedule an appointment, call (318) 631-9121 or click here.


10 Tips For A Healthy Liver

Category: News

For many people, liver health isn’t really on their radar. With 100 million Americans estimated to have Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and rates of NAFLD doubling in children over the past 20 years according to the Liver Foundation, the condition needs to be on your mind.

About the size of a football, your liver filters everything you put into your body. Along with detoxifying your blood, the liver produces bile to help break down fat. It also produces, stores and releases glucose. The liver can usually take a lot of abuse before problems start to arise, but this also means serious damage can be done before you know your liver is in danger. Despite the liver’s resilience, you cannot live without one, which is why maintaining liver health is so important.

The earliest stage of liver disease is fatty liver. Although it is normal for the liver to contain some fat, you have a fatty liver when more than 5% to 10% of your liver weight is fat. It can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption or a wide range of conditions, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, diabetes, Hepatitis C and others. There is no medical treatment available for fatty liver. However, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver are reversible with lifestyle changes.

Whether you have been diagnosed with fatty liver or you want to prevent it, here are 10 tips for keeping your liver in the best possible health.

1. Eat A Healthy Diet

Eat a nutritious, balanced, whole-foods diet. That means avoiding processed carbohydrates and sugars, and saturated fat and salt, as well as filling up on fresh fruit, vegetables, whole-grains, protein, dairy and healthy fats.

2. Avoid Weight Gain

Maintaining a healthy weight will help decrease your risk of developing fatty liver disease. A good rule of thumb is a body mass index in the normal range (18 to 25), but speak to your doctor for guidance on a healthy weight for your body type.

3. Get Regular Exercise

Exercise not only helps to keep you in shape, but it also burns triglycerides, which can reduce the amount of fat stored in liver cells.

4. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

Watch how much you drink. The U.S. government guidelines recommend no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Although, recent global studies suggest there are no safe levels of alcohol consumption.

5. Be Careful With Medications

Some prescription medications (like statins or steroids) can cause liver damage, while over-the-counter medications (such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can also cause liver damage if you take too much or if you drink alcohol while taking them. Always read the warning labels, and speak with your pharmacist if you have concerns.

6. Hepatitis Prevention

Learn how to prevent hepatitis, and get vaccinated. If you think you may have come in contact with the virus, get tested. There are several types of viral hepatitis that can cause liver disease.

7. Drink Coffee

Research shows that drinking coffee reduces your risk of liver disease. The protective benefits increase with each cup for up to four cups daily, regardless of whether you drink regular or decaf.

8. Avoid Toxins

Limit direct contact with toxins, such as cleaning products, insecticides and chemicals. Wear gloves when handling toxins, and wear a mask or ensure that you are in a well-ventilated area.

9. Consider Supplements Cautiously

Some dietary supplements can harm your liver. Conversely, some supplements claim to help restore liver health. Always discuss usage of supplements with your doctor, especially if you are on prescription medication.

10. Get Regular Checkups

Prevention is the key when it comes to liver disease, so take advantage of annual wellness exams. A simple blood test is often the first step to identifying liver disease even before any symptoms develop.

To schedule an appointment with GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C. or to learn more about other GI conditions treated by GastroIntestinal Specialists, call (318) 631-9121 or click here.


Gastroparesis: Signs and Symptoms

Category: News

August is Gastroparesis Awareness Month, making it a great time to talk about this condition that affects millions of people. Although the number of people with gastroparesis is rising according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), much of the population is unaware of the condition, and most cases of gastroparesis remain undiagnosed.

Gastroparesis is a condition that affects the normal, spontaneous contractions of the stomach that propel food through the digestive tract. In a healthy person, the contractions quickly move food through the stomach and into the small intestine. For patients with gastroparesis, the normal contractions are slowed or absent, preventing the stomach from emptying properly.

The cause of gastroparesis in the majority of patients is unknown. Although, there are a number of conditions, procedures and medications that may increase your risk for gastroparesis, including:

  • Diabetes, particularly if poorly controlled
  • Nerve damage from abdominal or esophageal surgery
  • Viruses impacting the nerves of the stomach
  • Other conditions such as neurological diseases, connective tissue disorders and hypothyroidism
  • Medications that slow the rate of stomach emptying, including some allergy and high blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and narcotic pain relievers

When the stomach doesn’t empty properly, food and liquids stay in the stomach for prolonged periods of time. This can result in a range of symptoms that can greatly impair quality of life. The signs and symptoms of gastroparesis include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Early satiety (feeling full after consuming a very small amount of food)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Acid reflux
  • Weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Blood sugar level changes

A potential complication from gastroparesis can occur when undigested food stays in the stomach and hardens into a solid mass. This mass is called a bezoar, which can be life-threatening if it prevents food from passing into the digestive tract.

The good news is that gastroparesis can be treated with lifestyle and dietary changes, by controlling blood sugar and with medication, if needed. Gastroparesis is diagnosed with the combination of an upper endoscopy and imaging studies in a gastric-emptying study. If you are experiencing symptoms of gastroparesis, are concerned about risk factors or have other gastrointestinal concerns, contact your doctor.

 

GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C., treat multiple conditions and diseases of the GI tract. Our Board-Certified physicians have over 150 years of combined experience in providing quality care that you can trust. To schedule an appointment, call (318) 631-9121 or click here.


Acid Reflux: Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment

Category: News

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is caused by the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a muscular ring located at the entrance of the stomach that opens and closes as food passes to the stomach. When weakened or damaged, the LES will remain open, causing stomach acids and other contents from the stomach to move back up through the esophagus. This is generally accompanied by a burning sensation in the chest and throat, called heartburn.

Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux, but other symptoms may include:

  • Dry cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore throat
  • Regurgitation
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Bitter taste in the throat and mouth

 

Risk Factors

Acid reflux is non-discriminatory in that it affects people of all ages, sometimes for unknown reasons. While there are several risk factors that can be linked to acid reflux, the most common factor is eating a large meal. A large meal causes increased pressure in the stomach, which overpowers and consequently weakens the LES to cause reflux.

Other factors that weaken the LES and cause reflux are:

Lifestyle: pregnancy, smoking (nicotine), being overweight or obese, certain prescription medicines

Eating Habits: snacking close to bedtime, lying down within 2 to 3 hours of eating, overeating

Diet: alcohol, caffeine, diet low in fiber, fried or fatty foods, citrus fruits and juices, spicy foods, chocolate

 

Treating Acid Reflux with Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Knowing what foods and beverages trigger your acid reflux and eliminating them from your diet are key for controlling the condition. The foods you eat affect the amount of acid the stomach produces. Foods that can help reduce acid reflux symptoms include:

  • Green vegetables
  • Lean meats and seafood
  • Oatmeal (great source of fiber)
  • Healthy fats: avocados, nuts, olive oil
  • Ginger: anti-inflammatory properties help ease heartburn symptoms

You can also manage symptoms with lifestyle changes.

Try these tips:

  • Eat smaller portions, more often.
  • Eat slower, and stop before you get too full.
  • Wait 2 to 3 hours after eating before lying down.
  • Drop a few extra pounds to ease pressure on the stomach.
  • Avoid tight clothing or belts that can add extra pressure around your stomach.

 

OTC Remedies

In most circumstances, a change in lifestyle and diet with the assistance of over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, are all you need to control the symptoms of acid reflux. Antacids provide short-term relief by neutralizing stomach acid.

Occasional acid reflux is no cause for alarm. If you are experiencing acid reflux symptoms occurring twice a week or more, this may be indicative of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and you should consult your physician for an evaluation. GERD can lead to serious complications in the long-term, including an increased risk of cancer.

 

To schedule an appointment with GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C. or to learn more about Acid Reflux (GERD) or other GI conditions treated by GastroIntestinal Specialists, call (318) 631-9121 or click here.


Hemorrhoids: Types, Causes and Treatment

Category: News

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are enlarged blood vessels that swell and cause discomfort around the lower rectum or anus. They can be both painful and unpleasant. Roughly 10.4 million people in the U.S. are affected by hemorrhoids, with only 3.4 million seeking treatment. Hemorrhoids are nothing to be embarrassed of, and they are easily preventable and treatable. When left untreated, they can grow in both size and number over time.

What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are the result of excessive strain in the rectum, which can be due to various factors. These factors include:

  • Chronic Constipation
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal Intercourse
  • Straining During Bowel Movements
  • Low-Fiber Diets
  • Sitting for Long Periods of Time
  • Laxative or Enema Overuse
  • Heavy Lifting
  •  Genetics

Self-help measures to help combat these factors and prevent hemorrhoids include adding more fiber to your diet, exercising, drinking 8 glasses of water a day, and remembering to take your time when using the restroom. DON’T STRAIN.

Types of Hemorrhoids

There are 4 types of hemorrhoids:

External Hemorrhoids – Form under the skin around the anus. Due to the location, they can cause extreme pain and discomfort.

Internal Hemorrhoids – Form in the lining of the anus and lower rectum; generally painless and invisible, and tend to heal over time.

Prolapsed Hemorrhoids – Internal hemorrhoids that begin to swell and stick out from the anus; can be extremely painful due to stress on nerve ending.

Thrombosed Hemorrhoids – External or internal hemorrhoids that have formed a clot; most noticeable in external hemorrhoids, creating a bluish color around the swollen extremity.

Symptoms

Hemorrhoids can be very painful, but not in all cases. Depending on the severity and type, you may experience the following symptoms or none at all.

  • Swelling
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Itchiness, Burning or Irritation
  • Malodorous Bowel Movements
  • Pain and Discomfort Around the Anus

Don’t wait to seek diagnosis and treatment. When caught early, hemorrhoids can be treated with noninvasive, quick, painless treatments.

Treatment

For many, ointments and creams will only mask symptoms to provide temporary relief. They do not address the root of the problem that is causing the pain, itching, bleeding and overall discomfort.

The Louisiana Hemorrhoid Center, a division of GastroIntestinal Specialists, is now offering the CRH O’Regan System®, a simple, painless and effective way to treat hemorrhoids. 95% of hemorrhoids can be treated using this system. The sooner you seek treatment, the lower your chances are for surgery.

To schedule an appointment with Louisiana Hemorrhoid Center or to learn more about the CRH O’Regan System® and the GI conditions treated by GastroIntestinal Specialists, call (318) 631-9121 or click here.


Hemorrhoid Center of Louisiana

Category: Events, News

 

 

 

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), 10.4 million people in the U.S. suffer from hemorrhoids. Only 3.5 million people, or 1 in 3, seek medical treatment each year for their hemorrhoids. If left untreated, hemorrhoids can get progressively worse over time, growing in both size and number.  The Hemorrhoid Center of Louisiana, a division of GastroIntestinal Specialists, is the largest and most trusted provider of non-surgical hemorrhoid treatment in the Shreveport-Bossier area. Treat your hemorrhoids with the latest banding technology and the most experienced doctors.

1. What is the Hemorrhoid Center of Louisiana?

A division of GIS, the largest and most experienced Gastroenterology Group in Northern Louisiana, LHC is dedicated to the non-surgical treatment of symptomatic internal hemorrhoids by trained providers.

2. What are hemorrhoids and what causes them?

Symptomatic hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels inside the anal canal (internal hemorrhoids) or outside the anal canal (external hemorrhoids) caused by pressure on those blood vessels.

3. Who gets hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are very common. Generally speaking, over 50% of people over the age of 50 will experience hemorrhoid issues. In particular, Women who have had traditional childbirth often experience hemorrhoids. Symptomatic hemorrhoids result from several causes including straining with bowel movements (constipation), prolonged occupational sitting (i.e. truck drivers, secretaries, etc.) or extended toilet time.

4. What are the main symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Symptoms of internal hemorrhoids typically includes itching, swelling, bright red blood per rectum often described as blood dripping after a bowel movement or blood smeared on wiped toilet tissue. Internal hemorrhoids may protrude or cause seepage of stool (fecal incontinence).

5. Do hemorrhoids increase the risk of colorectal cancer?

No. But rectal bleeding may be an alarm symptom for colon or rectal cancer and should be investigated for at-risk individuals. Following updated guidelines from the American Cancer Society, screening for colon cancer begins at age 45.

6. Do I need hemorrhoid surgery?

With non-surgical banding and modification of some aggravating habits, most people will not need hemorrhoid surgery. Conservative measures like eating more fiber and drinking more water each day are recommended.

7. What is the CRH O’Regan System?

The CRH O’Regan System is only available to patients through specially trained medical providers. The procedure is effective and is performed in the office in less than 60 seconds. No sedation is needed. This method offers a significant advance in conventional rubber band ligation (RBL), a “surgical” procedure performed roughly 50 million times each year. Unlike other RBL techniques that use a metal clamp to grasp hemorrhoid during banding, the CRH O’Regan System uses a smaller plastic device and gentle suction, minimizing discomfort and complications. For patients having a colonoscopy, their first treatment can be completed during their procedure.

8. Does banding hurt? Will I have to miss work or other activities?

The new and improved method applies the band above (and away from) the nerve pain area rendering the procedure virtually painless. With no post-procedure pain, patients may immediately return to work or other activities after the 5 minute office procedure. A simple precaution is to avoid heavy lifting the day of the procedure. Full daily activity may be resumed the day following the procedure.  The procedure is also covered by most insurance carriers.

GastroIntestinal Specialists, home of the Hemorrhoid Center of Louisiana, specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, liver, pancreas and related organs. GastroIntestinal Specialists provides consultations in office locations in Shreveport, Bossier City and Minden. In addition to hemorrhoid treatment, they perform endoscopic procedures, including colonoscopy and upper GI endoscopy (EGD) and treatment of all types of gastroenterological conditions.

To schedule an appointment with the Hemorrhoid Center of Louisiana or to learn more about the CRH O’ Regan System and the GI conditions treated by GastroIntestinal Specialists call (318) 631-9121 or click here.