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Common Causes of Constipation

Constipation is often defined by tough, hard to pass bowel movements that occur infrequently. Other signs and symptoms include bloating, having the sensation of an incomplete evacuation, abdominal pain and blood present in the stool.

While constipation is known for being both physically uncomfortable and embarrassing, the condition is more common than one might think. Constipation affects approximately 30 percent of the general population, and is most prevalent in women, children and the elderly. Persistent constipation should not be ignored as it could be the sign of a more serious condition, such as colon cancer or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

What are some of the Common Causes of Constipation ?

Dehydration

“If you don’t have enough water in your body already, the large intestine soaks up water from your food waste,” making for harder to pass stools. Caffeine can cause dehydration, and even dairy has been known to constipate some people. Proper hydration however, can help move food through the intestines and create softer stools.

Lack of Fiber

Fiber encourages regular bowel movements by allowing more water to remain in your stool and hastening it’s passage through the gut. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts are the best natural source of fiber. However, fiber supplements can be helpful as well.

Stress

Just like most of your bodily functions, the nervous system is in constant communication with your digestive system. During periods of intense stress, the digestive system can slow down resulting in constipation. Waiting too long to go to the bathroom for example, can cause a build up.

Not Enough Physical Activity 

Regular activity helps to stimulate the muscles in intestines and can also help alleviate stress.

Medication

Though laxatives can help ease constipation, they can also become habit forming meaning that one’s bowel movements end up depending on them. Overusing laxatives can over time can weaken the bowel muscles. Additionally, many anti-depressants and pain medications are common causes of constipation. It is recommended that any and all medications should be discussed with your doctor.

While many lifestyle changes can help to relieve constipation, if you experience chronic constipation, schedule an appointment with one of our fellowship-trained gastroenterologist today.

 

What Triggers Heartburn?

There’s nothing worse than trying to relax while experiencing a gnawing burning sensation in the chest. These uncomfortable chest pains, other wise known as heartburn, are a symptom of Acid Reflux and can be cause for concern. Acid Reflux occurs when stomach acid leaks into the esophagus (the tube that delivers food and beverages to our stomach). Usually a muscle acts as a protective barrier between the esophagus and the stomach to prevent the back flow of acid. However, when this muscle becomes weakened, one can fall victim to the aches and pains of heartburn. If not treated, repeated heartburn can cause damage to the lining of the esophagus.

What Triggers Heartburn?

1. Large Meals

Too much food cans stretch the stomach and put pressure on the muscle that acts as a barrier between the esophagus and stomach, allowing for acid to escape.

2. Late Night Eating

It usually takes your stomach a couple of hours to digest food. By eating right before bed, you run the risk of letting stomach acid back up into the esophagus, keeping you up all night. Sometimes it’s best to sit up and let gravity do the work!

3. Foods High in Fat or Grease

These take longer to break down and as a result your stomach produces more acid.

4. Acidic Foods

Acidic foods tend to either relax or irritate that muscle that controls the flow of our stomach’s acid. Problematic foods include: tomatoes, citrus fruits, coffee, chocolate, spicy foods (garlic or raw onion), mint, salt, alcohol and or carbonated beverages. Foods that tend to relieve heartburn on the other hand are high in fiber. Oatmeal, bananas, grains, green veggies and ginger for example have been known to help reverse the effects of Acid Reflux.

Even certain exercises like crunches, headstands and yoga can trigger heartburn by putting pressure on the stomach or reversing it’s natural flow. 

While these are all common triggers, what sparks heartburn can vary from person to person. To get to the bottom of what’s causing your flare ups, try keeping a journal of your daily symptoms, meals and exercises. Also consider asking your doctor if any of the medications you’re on could be playing a role. If the problem persists, it’s time to schedule an appointment with one of our fellowship-trained gastroenterologists.

 

 

2019 Kicking Butt 5K Event Saves Lives

Kicking Butt 5k at the waterfront Dr. Whitney Jones at the 2019 Kicking Butt 5K

Thank you to everyone who came out and participated in this year’s Kicking Butt 5K! Survivors, fighters, advocates, healthcare providers and community partners all came together on what turned out to be a beautiful Saturday to help raise awareness of colon cancer. Gastroenterology Health Partners was proud to be one of the many sponsors who made this event possible. The Waterfront Park and Big Four Bridge were gracious hosts!

2019 Kicking Butt 5K booths Gastro Health Partners at the 2019 Kicking Butt 5k

The Kicking Butt 5k is an annual race put on courtesy of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project. Our very own physician Dr. Whitney Jones founded the Colon Cancer Prevention Project in 2004.  All of the funds raised as a result of the event go towards supporting their mission of eliminating preventable colon cancer death and suffering. The Project’s resources span from education and advocacy, to health systems improvement and survivor support. While colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, many don’t understand how preventable it is. A donation of $50 can help reach over 100 people who may need to be screened for colon cancer.

5K at the big four bridge 5k at the Louisville Waterfront Park

While the 5k is over, donations can still be made online. For more information on when you or a loved one should start the screening process, schedule an appointment with us online. We have a clinical team of 21 fellowship-trained Gastroenterologists and 13 advanced practice clinicians. All of which conveniently serve the Louisville, Lexington, Kentucky and Southern Indiana communities.

 

Hemorrhoid Banding

Believe it or not, hemorrhoids are a common health concern. The condition affects 75% of people at some point in their lives. While home remedies or topical creams are popular go-to treatment options, they only provide temporary relief. It is typical for example, for a person to suffer from recurrent symptoms and fare-ups after the use of over the counter products. Many patients even avoid seeking further treatment due to fear, embarrassment or a general lack of awareness.

While there are a number of non-invasive methods for treating hemorrhoids, at Gastroenterology Health Partners, we believe in a patient-focused approach. Our clinical team of 21 fellowship-trained Gastroenterologists and 13 advanced practice clinicians are able to remove internal hemorrhoids in a comfortable environment by utilizing the most effective and proven method of hemorrhoid banding available.

What is Hemorrhoid Banding?

Hemorrhoid banding is a non-surgical, quick and painless treatment option. Also known as rubber band ligation, it works by treating the root of the hemorrhoid while eliminating any symptoms. As internal hemorrhoids are made up of swollen blood vessels inside the rectum, patients are often unaware that they have them until they present symptoms such as pain, itching or bleeding.

Our advanced non-surgical treatment option takes just under a minute to perform. It requires no sedation or pain medication, and is covered by most insurance plans. Most patients experience a low rate of hemorrhoid recurrence and return to work the same day as treatment.

How does it work?

A single use, gentle suction device places a specialized rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid where there are no pain-sensitive nerve endings. This band effectively cuts off the blood flow to the hemorrhoid, immediately relieving symptoms. Within a few days, both the band and the hemorrhoid shrink and fall off on their own accord. Often without the patient even noticing.

This particular method of hemorrhoid banding is safer and less invasive than other more traditional banding procedures that utilize larger instruments, or require fasting and sedation before treatment. When using our hemorrhoid banding procedure, less than 1% of patients report complications compared to other rubber band ligation methods where complications can occur in 20-50% of patients.

The signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids are similar to other more serious conditions. Therefore, it’s important that one consults with their doctor before seeking treatment. If not caught early on, hemorrhoids can worsen over time. In order to best prevent hemorrhoids in the future, avoid straining during bowel movements. Drinking plenty of water, getting the correct amount of daily fiber and not sitting for prolonged periods are also recommended.

If you are experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids, contact Gastroenterology Health Partners today. Each of our five locations in the Louisville, Lexington and Southern Indiana area offer expert specialization in gastrointestinal care. Just visit our website to schedule an appointment at the location most convenient to you.

2019 Kicking Butt 5K

Join us Saturday, August 24th at at the beautiful Big Four Bridge on Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky for the 2019 Kicking Butt 5k!

This annual family friendly event is put on by the Colon Cancer Prevention Project whose mission it is to eliminate preventable colon cancer death and suffering. Participants are encouraged to spend the morning walking, strolling, running, and rolling to a world without colon cancer! Whether you’re a survivor, fighter, advocate, healthcare provider or community partner, all are welcome!

You can donate to the cause or register for the event online. The race starts at 8:30am with day of registration beginning at 7:30am.

Kicking Butt 5k

About the Colon Cancer Prevention Project

Our very own Dr. Whitney Jones founded the Colon Cancer Prevention Project in 2004. Since then, colon cancer is down more than 25% in the state of Kentucky. The project works to bring awareness to what is a highly preventable disease as well as offer support to those fighting it.

While colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of all cancer deaths in the United States, when it is detected early, colon cancer is up to 90% curable. According to the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, “It is estimated that 6 out of 10 (60%) deaths from colon cancer could be prevented if everyone were screened at 50.” However, even young people are at risk for developing the disease. 1 in every 10 patients diagnosed are under the age of 50.

How to Take Action

Prevent colon cancer by talking to your doctor about the right time to get screened. It is recommended that men and women of average risk should start screenings by age 50. However, those with a family history or symptoms may need to be screened sooner. Don’t be afraid to ask your family if they’ve been screened as doing so could save their life.

The Gastroenterology Health Partners proudly sponsors the 2019 Kicking Butt 5k. Get screened and schedule an appointment by contacting us today!

Gastro Health Partners’ Doctors Recognized as Louisville’s Top Docs for 2019

Louisville Magazine has just released their annual list of Louisville’s Top Docs for 2019. This year the doctors themselves cast their votes and four physicians from Gastro Health Partners were recognized in the category of gastroenterology.

When asked, “If you or a member of your family were in need of medical care or treatment, who among Louisville-area doctors would you choose to provide medical care in the following specialties?” our peers in the Greater Louisville Medical Society nominated (from left to right) Whitney F. Jones, M.D., Paul Eugene Brown, M.D., Alan J. Cox, M.D., and John C. Horlander, M.D.

                 

Dr. Whitney Jones joined Gastroenterology Health partners in 2017. He is the founder of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project and considered a national expert in the field of gastroenterology.

Dr. Paul Brown has been a member of the Louisville Gastroenterology Associates for 29 years and is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Dr. Alan Cox is the author of several publications pertaining to the study of Gastroenterology. He is also Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Dr. John Horlander is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and is actively involved in many research studies pertaining to gastroenterology.

On behalf of our team of 21 fellowship-trained Gastroenterologists and 13 advanced practice clinicians, we are proud to have been featured in this year’s issue of Louisville’s Top Docs among many other admiral physicians from the great city of Louisville. As the region’s leader in GI care, it is our mission to continue to offer cost-effective and comprehensive treatment options to those in Louisville, Lexington, Southern Indiana as well as the surrounding communities. Get screened by the best by scheduling your appointment online today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Clinical Alert Part 3: Preventing Young Adult Colorectal Cancer

Health care providers can aid in young adult colorectal cancer prevention by taking steps to educate the public on the rising rate of colorectal cancer found in people under the age of 55. For example, patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer prior to the age of 55 are 58% more likely than older patients to be diagnosed with a more advanced stage of the disease. This is in large part due to a general lack of awareness of young onset colorectal cancer.

The following are important actions steps health care providers can take in preventing young adult colorectal cancer:

1. Be Informative About Basic Digestive Health

Educating patients on the basics of digestive health should be part of regular office visits, especially yearly exams. Patients should understand what and where the colon is and know to take symptoms seriously should they experience them. For example, rectal bleeding and blood in the stool is never normal. Such symptoms require further assessment by a doctor to determine the root cause.

2. Relaying the Risk Factors

Patients should also be made aware of the risk factors associated with having a family history of colorectal cancer and or advanced colorectal polyps. Assessing one’s family history is critical in determining one’s risk for developing colorectal cancer themselves. Those at an increased risk may be eligible for more frequent colorectal screenings at an earlier age than others.

3. The Importance of Early Assessments

Patients at any age that are presenting symptoms or signs of colorectal cancer should be referred for diagnostic evaluation immediately and be given an early assessment with their physical exam. If found and treated early, colorectal cancer has a 90% survival rate.

To schedule an appointment or refer a patient, contact the Gastro Health Partners location nearest you today.

 

Young Adult Colorectal Cancer National Clinical Alert Part 2: The Importance of Family History

Assessing one’s family history of colorectal cancer and polyps (especially advanced polyps) is critical in determining whether or not one is at an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer themselves. Those at an increased risk may be eligible for more frequent colorectal screenings at an earlier age than others.

 

Patients with these family history indicators need to be referred for diagnostic evaluation. To schedule an appointment, contact the Gastro Health Partners location nearest you today.

Dr. Sunana Sohi on Following Her Gut

Dr. Sunana Sohi was recently featured in an MD-Update Magazine article highlighting her passion for helping others.

Dr. Sohi has been practicing at Louisville Gastroenterology Associates since 2010 where she treats conditions ranging from IBS and heartburn, to incontinence, hemorrhoids, liver issues and inflammatory bowel disease.

Although Dr. Sohi once studied to become a psychiatrist, she ultimately fell in love with internal medicine. “Gastroenterology is fascinating. It affects people on a quality of life level in a way you wouldn’t necessarily think of,” says Dr. Sohi. 

While Dr. Sohi treats patients of all ages (18 years old to 90 plus) she has noticed a bigger percentage of female patients. This is because, while diet and stress commonly affect the gastroinestinal tracts, hormones in the female body can as well. For example, studies show primarily women are affected with IBS and it is normal for a change in the bowel during premenstrual and menstrual periods. “There’s also a whole slew of GI issues that can come up during pregnancy.” says Dr. Sohi.

Solutions for Everyone

Of all the complaints Dr. Sohi hears, bloating is a reoccurring one. However, according to Dr. Sohi, bloating can be attributed to any number of causes. Often she must explore further to find the root cause and appropriate treatment.

Through diagnostic testing and evaluation, Dr. Sunana Sohi works to find a multitude of solutions for a multitude of patients. Whether the solution lies in adjustments to one’s diet or lifestyle, a probiotic or laxative, or via yoga and meditation, Sohi is a firm believer that there is a solution for everyone. “I try to work with the individual where they are at and what they want to get themselves feeling better.”

If you are experiencing a life impacting GI condition, contact Dr. Sohi or one of the many other Gastroenterology Health Partners today.

Read the full article here:

 

New Non-Invasive Methods for Treatment of Hemorrhoids

Akin to varicose veins, hemorrhoids are a common ailment for both men and women. In fact, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “about half of adults older than age 50 have hemorrhoids.”

There are two types of hemorrhoids, internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids occur when the swollen blood vessels are inside the lining of the anus and lower rectum. When the inflamed veins however are found under the skin and around the anus, they are known as external hemorrhoids.

While fear and embarrassment often prevent people from seeking treatment, if left untreated, hemorrhoids can worsen over time. Despite many popular at home remedies and over the counter creams, it is recommended that one consult with their doctor immediately before beginning a treatment plan. While common, the signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids are also similar to many other more serious conditions.

Causes Of Hemorrhoids:

  • Strained bowel movements.
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Pressure on the veins due to pregnancy
  • A low fiber diet
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea

Signs and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids:

  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Bleeding during bowel movements
  • A lump near the anus

Depending on the severity of the situation, there are advanced treatment options available that remove hemorrhoids without a surgical incision or staple. Many of these methods offer a long-term solution compared to over the counter creams by treating the cause of the hemorrhoids and can be done in an outpatient setting as suggested by your doctor.

Non-Invasive Treatment Options:

Rubber Band Ligation

Also known as “banding,” rubber band ligation treats bleeding, protruding, internal hemorrhoids by cutting off the blood supply and circulation to the hemorrhoid. This is done by placing a specialized rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid. Within a week, both the band and banded portion of the hemorrhoid shrink and fall off on their own. Scar tissue then forms around the remaining part of the hemorrhoid, aiding in it’s further removal. This procedure takes only a few minutes to perform, is painless, and requires no recovery time.

Sclerotherapy Injection

Similar to “banding,” a sclerotherapy injection also cuts off the blood supply of the hemorrhoid, resulting in scar tissue to form and the hemorrhoid to shrink away. This occurs after the doctor injects a chemical solution into the internal hemorrhoid.

Coagulation Therapies

In infrared photocoagulation, infrared light is used on an internal hemorrhoid. The heat from the light causes scar tissue to form, cutting off the blood supply, shrinking the hemorrhoid, and preventing nearby veins to bulge into the anal canal. Electrocoagulation achieves the same results through an electric current.

If you are experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids contact Gastroenterology Health Partners today. Our clinical team of 21 fellowship-trained Gastroenterologists and 13 advanced practice clinicians have been providing care to patients suffering from disorders of the digestive system since 2013. Each of our five locations in the Louisville, Lexington and Southern Indiana area offer expert specialization in gastrointestinal care. Just visit our website to schedule an appointment at the location most convenient to you.