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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.


Louisiana Hemorrhoid Center (LHC)

Category: Events, News

Dr. Humberto I. Aguilar, Dr. David F. Dies, Dr. James C. Hobley, Dr. Sathya N. Jaganmohan, Dr. L. Webster Johnson, Dr. David M. Philips, Dr. Arthur L. Poch, Dr. J. Mark Provenza, Dr. Douglas E. Rimmer

Louisiana Hemorrhoid Center (LHC)

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 Louisiana Hemorrhoid Center, 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 Louisiana Hemorrhoid Center (LHC)?

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 Louisiana Hemorrhoid Center, 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 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.


Hepatitis C: Get Tested. Get Treated.

Category: News

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is a general term used to describe inflammation of the liver. The liver carries out many vital tasks, which include the distribution of nutrients within the bloodstream as well as filtering the blood of harmful waste and toxins. When the liver is inflamed, it is unable to do these tasks effectively. This can lead to complications, such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Hepatitis can be caused by a range of conditions, such as autoimmune disease, excessive alcohol and drug usage, or by the Hepatitis virus. Viral Hepatitis is often the main cause of hepatitis, with Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C being the most common in the United States. Though Hepatitis A, B and C share similar symptoms, they are caused by different factors. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are both vaccine-preventable, unlike Hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis A is transmitted person-to-person through fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food.
  • Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infectious blood, semen and other bodily fluids.
  • Hepatitis C is transmitted through contact with infectious blood.

(For more information on the difference between Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/abc/index.htm )

 

Hepatitis C

The CDC estimates that there are over 2.4 million people in the United States living with the Hepatitis C virus, with only 50% of those infected aware of their condition. Hepatitis C, when left untreated, can lead to severe liver damage. It is a leading cause of liver transplants and liver cancer. The disease can be devoid of symptoms for years, making it very difficult to detect early. Symptoms usually present themselves once the disease has progressed into developing liver problems.

Hepatitis C symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Fever
  • Joint Pain
  • Dark-Colored Urine

The only way to know for sure if you have been infected is to get tested. This can be done by taking a simple blood test.

 

Who Should Get Tested for Hepatitis C?

Approximately 75% of people living with Hepatitis C were born between 1945 and 1965, the Baby Boomers generation. Adults born between these years are five times more likely to be infected and account for 73% of all deaths associated with the disease. The CDC recommends those born between those years to get tested. Other individuals at risk include:

  • Intravenous and intranasal drug users
  • HIV-infected persons
  • Recipients of blood transfusions or organ donations prior to June 1992
  • Infants of HCV-infected mothers

 

Hepatitis C Treatment

Though there is not yet a vaccine available for Hepatitis C, there is a cure. Treatment has drastically improved through the years with new medicines now having fewer side effects and shorter treatment periods. New, direct-acting antiviral drugs (DAAs) have shown through research to be highly effective in curing patients with a 95% to 100% cure rate.

Treatments that can cure this disease are available at GastroIntestinal Specialists. The Liver Center at GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C., is the No. 2 prescriber of hepatitis medicine in the country. Our comprehensive team of providers is dedicated to evaluating, treating and caring for patients with Hepatitis C, along with many other liver conditions.

Get Tested. Get Treated.

Call (318) 631-9121 to make an appointment.


Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

Category: Events, News

 

According to the American Cancer Society, esophageal cancer affects approximately 17,000 people annually in the United States. The disease is commonly diagnosed in older adults, occurring four times as often in men than in women. Though rare (accounting for only 1% of cancers diagnosed in the U.S.), esophageal cancer is among one of the deadliest forms of cancer. This is largely due to the fact that it is too often caught in the late stages. Early detection is the key to a successful outcome. This starts by knowing the risk factors, and early signs and symptoms, associated with the disease.

 

What is Esophageal Cancer?

Esophageal cancer can develop anywhere along the length of the esophagus, a narrow muscular tube that transports food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach. There are two types of esophageal cancer: Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Both are titled after the type of cells that grow into cancer.

Adenocarcinoma is usually the result of ongoing reflux disease. This form of esophageal cancer is generally found near the lower part of the esophagus near the stomach. Adenocarcinoma is more common in the western world, and it is rapidly increasing in number of diagnoses.

Squamous cell carcinoma is largely caused by heavy alcohol consumption and tobacco use. This form of esophageal cancer is generally found near the upper and middle part of the esophagus.

 

Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms

Esophageal cancer doesn’t usually exhibit any signs or symptoms in the early stages. Knowing the risk factors is key in early detection and prevention.

Risk factors include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Older Age
  • Male Gender
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • On-going acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Obesity – There is a strong correlation between countries with high rates of esophageal cancer and high rates of obesity.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Painful or difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Unexplained Weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness or coughing

Esophageal cancer is typically diagnosed after patients have experienced prolonged signs and symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are concerned about risk factors that may affect you, contact your doctor.

 

At GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C., our Board-Certified physicians treat multiple conditions and diseases affecting the GI tract from the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver, pancreas and rectum, as well as cancer screenings. With over 150 years of combined experience, you can trust us to provide quality care with a gentle touch


Hemorrhoid Treatment with the CRH O’Regan System

Category: Events, News

50% of the population will experience symptomatic hemorrhoids by the age of 50GastroIntestinal Specialists is now offering the CRH O’Regan System®. A simple, painless and effective way to treat hemorrhoids!

Hemorrhoids are nothing to be embarrassed about – in fact, about 50% of the population will suffer from them by the age of 50.

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.

If you’re serious about getting rid of hemorrhoids once and for all, it’s time to consider a definitive treatment.

The CRH O’Regan System®

The CRH O’Regan System® offers patients a painless, proven effective solution to the problems associated with hemorrhoids through a unique take on a procedure called hemorrhoid banding, or rubber band ligation.

Much less invasive than a surgical hemorrhoidectomy, hemorrhoid banding with the CRH O’Regan System®, is a simple treatment that can be performed in just minutes with little to no discomfort. There isn’t any prep or sedation and most patients are even able to return to work the same day.

How it Works

Gentle suction is used to place a small rubber band at the base of the hemorrhoid in an area where there aren’t any nerve endings. This only takes about 60 seconds. After a few days, the hemorrhoid will begin to shrink and fall off – you probably won’t even notice when it does!

Watch a video to learn more about the CRH O’Regan System®

To read more about how the CRH O’Regan System® can take care of your hemorrhoids once and for all, visit their website at www.crhsystem.com and call our office at (318) 631-9121 to schedule an appointment and get back to living a more comfortable life!

The CRH O’Regan System


Chronic Diarrhea: Target the Source

Category: Events, News

GastroIntestinal Specialist is please to announce the addition of the FilmArray® Gastrointestinal (GI) panel. The FilmArray panel tests for common GI pathogens including viruses, bacteria and parasites that cause infectious diarrhea. Symptoms of chronic diarrhea include:

  • Watery stools for more than 4 weeks
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Occasional muscle aches or headache
  • Low-grade fever

1 test. 22 GI pathogens. Faster Results.

GI Panel Menu

BACTERIA:

  • Campylobacter (jejuni, coli, and upsaliensis)
  • Clostridium difficile (toxin A/B)
  • Plesiomonas shigelloides
  • Salmonella
  • Yersinia enterocolitica
  • Vibrio (parahaemolyticus, vulnificus, and cholerae)
    • Vibrio cholerae

DIARRHEAGENIC E. COLI/SHIGELLA:

  • Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC)
  • Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC)
  • Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) lt/st
  • Shiga-like toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) stx1/stx2
    • E. coli O157
  • Shigella/Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC)

PARASITES:

  • Cryptosporidium
  • Cyclospora cayetanensis
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Giardia lamblia

VIRUSES:

  • Adenovirus F40/41
  • Astrovirus
  • Norovirus GI/GII
  • Rotavirus A
  • Sapovirus (I, II, IV, and V)

For testing information, please call (318) 631-9121.


Congratulations Dr. Aguilar & the Louisiana Research Center

Category: Events, News

GIS congratulates Dr. Humberto Aguilar and the Louisiana Research Center for recently being published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal! The article was done on patients infected with chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis.  Read the full article below:


Esophageal Cancer Awareness

Category: Events, News

Esophageal Cancer By: Sathya Jaganmohan, MD

Esophageal Cancer

The esophagus is a hollow organ that allows food to pass from the mouth to the stomach.  Cancer of the esophagus accounts for 1% of the cancers found in the US. This cancer is 3-4 times more common in men than in women.  Esophageal cancer is a dangerous disease with a 5 year survival rate from esophageal cancer is about 20%. 17000 patients are diagnosed with esophageal cancer every year. Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma are the two common subtypes of esophageal cancer.

Causes of esophageal cancer

Smoking and acid reflux are the major causal factors in esophageal cancer.  Uncontrolled acid reflux causes changes in the inner lining of the esophagus that makes it precancerous( Barrett’s esophagus). Over time, this can progress to cancer. Many patients do not have typical symptoms of reflux and have symptoms such as cough, hoarseness, or constant need to clear the throat which may be a sign of silent reflux which should be evaluated. Other risk factors for esophageal cancer include excess alcohol consumption, diet that is poor in fruits and vegetables, drinking hot liquids and obesity.

Symptoms of esophageal cancer

The key point is to understand that early esophageal cancer may be asymptomatic. Early diagnosis is key to cure this disease. Initial symptoms may include reflux, heartburn, difficulty swallowing etc. but as the disease advances, symptoms such as weight loss, and choking on food occurs.

How can this cancer be prevented?

Lifestyle modifications – stop smoking, increase fruits and vegetables in diet, limit alcohol intake and maintain an ideal body weight may reduce the risk of esophageal cancer. If you have symptoms of acid reflux or have difficulty swallowing, consult with your doctor for evaluation.  Remember silent or atypical heartburn may cause cough, hoarseness, etc. without causing real heartburn or chest discomfort.

What is the latest in the treatment and prevention of esophageal cancer?

Early detection at the precancerous stage (Barrett’s esophagus) is possible with greater accuracy due to new techniques in obtaining samples and improvements in imaging,

Radiofreqency ablation is a new technique which has enabled us to use heat energy from radiofrequency waves to burn and cauterize the precancerous tissue in the esophagus. Endoscopic mucosal resection is  a technique where precancerous and early stages of cancer are removed during outpatient endoscopy without surgery. Cryotherapy is another new technique that enables use of cold energy to freeze and kill the precancerous cells in the esophagus and prevents development of esophageal cancer. All these diagnostic and treatment options are offered here at GIS.

Remember, simple acid reflux can cause esophageal cancer and may be preventable with early evaluation.

Talk to our Doctors about your concerns if:

  • You have more than occasional heartburn symptoms
  • You have experienced heartburn in the past, but the symptoms have gone away
  • You have any pain or difficulty swallowing
  • You have a family history of Barrett’s Esophagus or Esophageal Cancer
  • You have an ongoing, unexplained cough
  • You have been speaking with a hoarse voice over several weeks
  • You have a long lasting, unexplained sore throat
  • You cough or choke when you lie down

Call (318) 631-9121 to schedule an appointment or online here


Colon Cancer

Category: Events, News

Colon Cancer by: JoAnn E. Warrick, M.D.

Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cause of cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.  It affects both men and women equally.  It is the most preventable of all types of cancer, and studies show that with regular screening approximately 60% of deaths can be prevented.  The reason it is preventable is that it invariably starts as an asymptomatic polyp, and with proper screening and removal, the progression to cancer is halted.  Studies also show that there is a 66% reduction  in progression to carcinoma in those undergoing a polypectomy.

Although the incidence of colon cancer has been slowly dropping due to increased adherence to screening, there is still a lifetime risk of 4.4% according to SEER data.  That means that 1 in 22 Americans will develop colon cancer in their lifetime.  The data also shows that approximately 75% of all new cases of cancer occur in those without predisposing factors.  Only about 5-10% of all colon cancer is familial.  The majority is sporadic meaning no identifiable family history.

Because the risk of colon cancer increases significantly after age 50, all current guidelines recommend screening to begin at age 50 for average risk persons, except in African Americans.  The American College of Gastroenterology recommends screening at age 45 in African Americans because they are being diagnosed at a younger average age than other groups. Screening is considered the standard of care and is a part of best practices.  Screening is not based on symptoms at all.  All asymptomatic persons who are average risk should be offered screening.

There are a variety of methods available for screening.  They include an annual fecal occult blood test, periodic flexible sigmoidoscopy, flexible colonoscopy, virtual CT colonography, a specialized stool DNA test (which examines the stool for exfoliated DNA which is a marker for advance polyps and colorectal cancer) and a recently approved serum marker for colorectal cancer.

The non-invasive screening tests typically do not screen for polyps, but instead screen for established colon cancer.  Although more invasive, colonoscopy screens for polyps and removes these lesions when detected, and it is also the gold standard.  Several studies including the national polyp study suggest that screening colonoscopy reduces the incidence of colon cancer from 76 to 90 percent.

Any of the screening tests mentioned meets the standard of care for screening and the choice of screening should be based on what is appropriate for the patient after an informed discussion of the pros and cons of each of the options.  Insurance typically pays for screening colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or fecal occult blood test.  The other screening tests are not typically covered by most insurances.


Catch Colon Cancer Early

Category: Events, News

Did you know that colon cancer is 90% curable if caught early?  All men and women should begin routine screening for colon cancer at age 50 or older (45 if African American).  If you have family history, you may need to be screened earlier!

Medicare and most insurance companies cover screening.  Call (318) 631-9121 to schedule a colonoscopy or click here.

Colon Cancer by: JoAnn E. Warrick, M.D.

Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cause of cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.  It affects both men and women equally.  It is the most preventable of all types of cancer, and studies show that with regular screening approximately 60% of deaths can be prevented.  The reason it is preventable is that it invariably starts as an asymptomatic polyp, and with proper screening and removal, the progression to cancer is halted.  Studies also show that there is a 66% reduction  in progression to carcinoma in those undergoing a polypectomy.

Although the incidence of colon cancer has been slowly dropping due to increased adherence to screening, there is still a lifetime risk of 4.4% according to SEER data.  That means that 1 in 22 Americans will develop colon cancer in their lifetime.  The data also shows that approximately 75% of all new cases of cancer occur in those without predisposing factors.  Only about 5-10% of all colon cancer is familial.  The majority is sporadic meaning no identifiable family history.

Because the risk of colon cancer increases significantly after age 50, all current guidelines recommend screening to begin at age 50 for average risk persons, except in African Americans.  The American College of Gastroenterology recommends screening at age 45 in African Americans because they are being diagnosed at a younger average age than other groups. Screening is considered the standard of care and is a part of best practices.  Screening is not based on symptoms at all.  All asymptomatic persons who are average risk should be offered screening.

There are a variety of methods available for screening.  They include an annual fecal occult blood test, periodic flexible sigmoidoscopy, flexible colonoscopy, virtual CT colonography, a specialized stool DNA test (which examines the stool for exfoliated DNA which is a marker for advance polyps and colorectal cancer) and a recently approved serum marker for colorectal cancer.

The non-invasive screening tests typically do not screen for polyps, but instead screen for established colon cancer.  Although more invasive, colonoscopy screens for polyps and removes these lesions when detected, and it is also the gold standard.  Several studies including the national polyp study suggest that screening colonoscopy reduces the incidence of colon cancer from 76 to 90 percent.

Any of the screening tests mentioned meets the standard of care for screening and the choice of screening should be based on what is appropriate for a patient after an informed discussion of the pros and cons of each of the options.  Insurance typically pays for screening colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or fecal occult blood test.  The other screening tests are not typically covered by most insurances.