Posts

120 Gastroenterologists to Know in 2022

If you’re on the search for a Gastroenterologist near you, you’re in luck – in an article written by Claire Wallace of Becker’s Healthcare, you can find an extensive list of Gastroenterologists across the country available with services available for your use.

In her article, Ms. Wallace describes Gastroenterology as, “A broad field covering a wide range of patient care, from endoscopy and colonoscopy to hepatitis C and pancreatic cancer.” Following her definition, she goes on to list 120 GIs to know, which we believe is extraordinarily helpful to people searching for the right Gastroenterologist for the first time, or as they move.

Here’s her list of 120 GIs to know in 2022:

Tyler Aasen, DO. The Iowa Clinic (West Des Moines). Dr. Aasen has been with The Iowa Clinic since 2020. He has a clinical interest in chronic liver disease and celiac disease.

Abera Abay, MD. William W. Backus Hospital (Norwich, Conn.). Dr. Abay serves as chair of quality assurance and performance improvement of Eastern Connecticut Endoscopy Center. He is also chair of the Medical Ethics Committee of the New London County Medical Association.

Gebran Abboud, MD. University of Arizona College of Medicine (Tucson). Dr. Abboud’s specialty is treating diseases of the pancreas, biliary system, liver, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. Before his current role as clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, he was the director of gastroenterology at the Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, Pa.

Maisa Abdalla, MD. Loma Linda (Calif.) University Medical Center. Dr. Abdalla has served as an assistant professor of medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center since 2016. She practices there and at Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley, Calif. She aims to improve accessibility and quality in patient care.

Tsion Abdi, MD. Johns Hopkins Medicine (Baltimore). Dr. Abdi serves as a clinical director for Johns Hopkins Knoll North Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Columbia, Md., and as an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is also a member of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Medical Association.

Faten Aberra, MD. Penn Medicine (Philadelphia). Dr. Aberra is the director of Epic for the gastroenterology division. She is also an associate professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Neena Abraham, MD. Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.). Dr. Abraham is also director of the Institute for Research and Education for the American College of Gastroenterology. She was most recently named the 2021 Healio & American College of Gastroenterology disruptive innovator in clinical medicine.

Maria Abreu, MD. University of Miami Health System. Dr. Abreu’s areas of expertise include inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in gastroenterology and internal medicine.

Abimbola Adike, MD. Digestive Disease and Endoscopy Center (Silverdale, Wash.). Dr. Adike is a member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the American College of Gastroenterology. Her special interests are liver and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Adewale Ajumobi, MD. Eisenhower Health (Rancho Mirage, Calif.). Dr. Ajumobi is the founder and editor of BowelPrepGuide, which was recognized by the American College of Gastroenterology as the best website for colorectal cancer outreach, prevention and year-round excellence in 2015. He has been the recipient of the American College of Gastroenterology Service Award for Colorectal Cancer Outreach, Prevention & Year-Round Excellence multiple times.

Andrew Albert, MD. Chicago Gastro. Dr. Albert is a clinical assistant professor of medicine in the digestive diseases and nutrition department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also has advanced training in inflammatory bowel disease.

Tauseef Ali, MD. SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital (Oklahoma City). Dr. Ali is chief of gastroenterology medical staff section at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital as well as an assistant clinical professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. His specialty is inflammatory bowel disease, but he also has clinical interests in Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal screening, hemorrhoid banding and general gastroenterology.

Christopher Almario, MD. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles). Dr. Almario is also an assistant professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai. He is a recipient of the American College of Gastroenterology Junior Faculty Development Grant.

Mohammad Alsolaiman, MD. Revere Health (American Fork and Lehi, Utah). Dr. Alsolaiman has advanced endoscopy training in pancreatic and biliary diseases. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society of Gastroenterology Endoscopy.

Johnny Altawil, MD. The Endoscopy Center (Knoxville, Tenn.). Dr. Altawil is a member of the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American Gastroenterological Association. He is also board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Oksana Anand, MD. Rapid City (S.D.) Medical Center. Dr. Anand has a variety of special interests, including women’s GI health and inflammatory bowel disease. She has been a member of the American College of Gastroenterology since 2008.

Rajeswari Anaparthy, MD. Southwest Gastroenterology (Avondale, Ariz.). Dr. Anaparthy is the director and co-founder of Southwest Gastroenterology. She has been practicing gastroenterology since 2013 and is a diplomat for the American Board of Gastroenterology.

Julian Armstrong, MD. Texas Digestive Disease Consultants (Fort Worth). Dr. Armstrong believes gastroenterology is the perfect mixture of medicine and surgery. Before his current role at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, he was the chief of gastroenterology at Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Mukul Arya, MD. White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital. Dr. Arya was recently appointed director of advanced gastroenterology at White Plains Hospital. He previously served at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in New York City as director of advanced endoscopy.

Carl Atallah, DO. Advanced GI (Chicago). Dr. Atallah served as a clinical assistant professor at Midwestern University in Chicago during his gastroenterology fellowship. He is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American Osteopathic Association.

Joseph Baltz Jr., MD. Gastro One (Germantown, Tenn.). Dr. Baltz has advanced training in endoscopic ultrasound, ablation of Barrett’s esophagus and endoscopic mucosal resection. He is a member of the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Arthur Baluyut, MD, PhD. Northside Gastro (Indianapolis). Dr. Baluyut has 20 years of experience in diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures. In addition to clinical gastroenterology research, he researches the basic science of immunology.

Kevin Batte, MD. Gastroenterology Associates and Endoscopy Center of North Mississippi (Oxford). Dr. Batte has given several poster presentations on gastroenterology and has a manuscript on achalasia published in BMC Gastroenterology. He is a member of organizations including the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association and the South Carolina Medical Association.

Michelle Beilstein, MD. The Oregon Clinic (Portland). Dr. Beilstein joined The Oregon Clinic in 2004. She has special interest in gastrointestinal oncology with a focus on pancreatic, biliary and esophageal cancer.

Emanuelle Bellaguarda, MD. Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago). Dr. Bellaguarda is an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. She is an advisory board member for several companies, including Pfizer, Prometheus Laboratories and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Louis Bell, MD. Coastal Gastroenterology (Bluffton, S.C.). Dr. Bell has 29 years of gastroenterology experience. He performs about 1,500 procedures annually and has performed over 25,000 colonoscopies during his career.

Sameer Berry, MD. Oshi Health (New York). Dr. Berry is the CMO of Oshi Health, a virtual-first gastrointestinal care clinic. In addition to his position at Oshi Health, he is a gastroenterology fellow at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Ruchi Bhatia, MD. Ohio Gastroenterology Group (Columbus). Dr. Bhatia has been with Ohio Gastroenterology Group since September 2018. She has a special interest in the diagnosis and management of liver diseases and liver transplantation.

Marc Bissonnette, MD. University of Chicago Medical Center. Dr. Bissonnette is also an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He is working to develop a blood test for colorectal cancer and plans to use it on Chicago’s South Side to reduce healthcare disparities.

Jennifer Brenner, MD. Colorado Gastroenterology (Denver). Dr. Brenner specializes in gastrointestinal health and liver diseases affecting women. She is an active member of the American Gastroenterology Association and the American College of Gastroenterology.

Michael Butensky, MD. Connecticut Gastroenterology Associates (Hartford). Dr. Butensky is the president and managing partner of Connecticut Gastroenterology Associates. He has interests in pancreaticobiliary disease, colon cancer screening and the management of inflammatory bowel disease. He has published various articles in peer-reviewed journals.

John Carethers, MD. Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor). Dr. Carethers began his tenure as the president of the American Gastroenterological Association Institute in June. He also serves as the John G. Searle Professor of Internal Medicine and chair of the department of internal medicine at Michigan Medicine.

Sara Chalifoux, MD. United Gastroenterologists (Murrieta, Calif.). Dr. Chalifoux has an interest in the application of integrative health approaches toward common digestive disorders. She has authored multiple gastroenterology publications and has presented her research at national and international conferences.

Lin Chang, MD. UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles). Dr. Chang is vice chief of UCLA Health’s Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases. She is also the director of the GI fellowship training program.

Swati Chaudhari, MD. Bellin Health Gastroenterology (Green Bay, Wis.). In addition to gastroenterology, Dr. Chaudhari specializes in hepatology and colon cancer screenings. She treats adults and seniors.

Chukwunonso Chime, MD. Western Wisconsin Health Main Campus (Baldwin). Dr. Chime has a special interest in managing upper GI disorders, liver and gallbladder related diseases, and more. He has been practicing since 2016.

Nancy Chung, MD. Vanguard Gastroenterology (New York City). Before joining Vanguard Gastroenterology, Dr. Chung had over a decade of experience serving patients throughout Westchester, N.Y., and the Bronx borough of New York City. She practices general gastroenterology with a focus on colon cancer screening and prevention.

Jermaine Clarke, DO. Grayson Digestive Disease Consultants (Sherman, Texas). Dr. Clarke has been the owner of Grayson Digestive Disease Consultants since 2015. Before his current role, he was a gastroenterologist at Sherman Gastroenterology Associates in the Sherman-Denison metropolitan area.

Douglas Corley, MD, PhD. Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. Dr. Corley is also an associate member of the University of California San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center and a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. His research projects include esophageal adenocarcinoma and the carcinogenic effects of obesity.

Bradley Creel, MD. Atlanta Gastroenterology. Dr. Creel has been with Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates since 2011. He has clinical interests in the effects of HIV on the GI tract, treatment of hepatitis B and C, gastroesophageal reflux disease and more.

Erica Dailey, DO. Kansas City Gastroenterology & Hepatology Physicians Group (Overland Park, Kan.). Dr. Dailey believes in treating patients like family. She has clinical interests in inflammatory bowel diseases, infectious gastroenterology, screening, prevention and more. She enjoys volunteering, providing mentorship to women in medicine and attending medical mission trips.

Paul Dambowy, MD. MNGI Digestive Health (Minneapolis). Dr. Dambowy was recently appointed CMO at MNGI Digestive Health. He was previously the organization’s site medical director at its Woodbury (Minn.) Endoscopy Center and Clinic.

Steven Desautels, MD. Alta View Hospital (Sandy, Utah), Riverton (Utah) Hospital and Lone Peak Hospital (Draper, Utah). Dr. Desautels has been awarded for his clinical research by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American College of Physicians. He specializes in esophageal disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer of the GI tract, functional disorders of the GI tract and therapeutic endoscopy.

Manish Dhamija, MD. Advanced GI (Chicago). Dr. Dhamija has more than 10 years of clinical GI experience. He is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Shirley Donelson, MD. GI Associates & Endoscopy Center (Madison and Flowood, Miss.). Dr. Donelson joined GI Associates in June 2015. She is a fellow of the American Medical Association and the Mississippi State Medical Association.

Kulwinder Dua, MD. Froedtert Hospital (Milwaukee). Dr. Dua is also a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. His research has been published more than 200 times in peer-reviewed journals, and he is a member of several editorial boards.

Rachel Dunn, MD. Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital (Indianapolis). Dr. Dunn has a special interest in eosinophilic esophagitis, celiac disease, nutrition and interventional procedures. She is a member of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the American College of Gastroenterology.

Noel Fajardo, MD. Las Vegas Gastroenterology. Dr. Fajardo is former clinical instructor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. His research interests include experimental treatments for neuropathic gastrointestinal disorders.

Helen Fasanya-Uptagraft, MD. Midwest Endoscopy Services (Omaha, Neb.). Dr. Fasanya-Uptagraft’s clinical interests include inflammatory bowel disease management and treatment, and she has presented her research on the topic at national conferences. She is a professional member of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

William Faubion Jr., MD. Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.). Dr. Faubion also has an NIH-funded lab focused on immune causes of gastrointestinal diseases. He is a member of the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

Peter Fenton, MD. Utah Gastroenterology (Salt Lake City). Dr. Fenton has special interest in hepatology, inflammatory bowel disease and esophageal disorders. He is affiliated with Riverton Hospital, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Mountain West Endoscopy Center in Salt Lake City and Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful, which are all in Utah.

Michael Flicker, MD. Advanced GI (Chicago). Dr. Flicker is a co-founder of Advanced GI. He is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Dr. Mauricio Garcia Saenz de Sicilia. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock). Dr. Garcia was recently appointed chief of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology and as an associate professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences department of internal medicine. Before coming into his new role, he worked at UAMS as director of the primary liver tumors clinic in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology and as co-director of gastroenterology and hepatology services.

Samuel Giordano, MD. Cooper University Digestive (Camden, N.J.). Dr. Giordano is also an assistant professor of medicine at the Cooper Medical School of Glassboro, N.J.-based Rowan University. His special interests include general gastroenterology, colorectal cancer screening, obesity, gastroesophageal reflux and nutrition.

Eric Goldberg, MD. University of Maryland Medical System (Baltimore). Dr. Goldberg is the clinical director and associate chief of gastroenterology. His specialties include advanced therapeutic endoscopy and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to treat disorders of the pancreas and bile ducts.

Joshua Goldman, MD. Portland (Maine) Gastroenterology Center. Before joining Portland Gastroenterology Center, Dr. Goldman served as president of Gastroenterology Affiliates of Southeastern Massachusetts in Brockton for nine years. His interests include colon cancer prevention, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and management of upper GI disorders.

Deepinder Goyal, MD. Gastro Health (Miami). Dr. Goyal is a member of the American College of Gastroenterology’s Practice Management committee and FDA related matters committee, and the Florida Gastrointestinal Society Federal Advocacy committee. He has won several awards, including a T32 research grant from the National Institute of Health.

Cory Halliburton, MD. Vermont Gastroenterology (Colchester). Dr. Halliburton’s clinical interests include inflammatory bowel disease and liver diseases. He is a staff member at University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington and has full attending privileges.

Andrew Heiner, MD. Granite Peaks Gastroenterology (Sandy, Utah). Dr. Heiner has been in practice for more than 20 years. His goal is to provide meaningful help to patients in need. He is affiliated with Alta View Hospital in Sandy and Lone Peak Hospital in Draper, both in Utah.

David Hockenbery, MD. University of Washington (Seattle). Dr. Hockenbery leads the gastroenterology and hepatology section at the hospital. He is a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. He also heads a lab dedicated to the study of apoptosis.

Dale Holly, MD. Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates. Dr. Holly is a diplomate of the American Subspecialty Board of Gastroenterology. In 2012, he was recognized as one of Atlanta’s 25 most influential African American physicians by the Black Health Medical Research Foundation.

Nooshin Hosseini, MD. Vanguard Gastroenterology (New York City). Dr. Hosseini has published more than 10 peer-reviewed papers, clinical reviews and abstracts. She was named an emerging liver scholar while she was a trainee at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Roger Huey, MD. Digestive Health Specialists (Tupelo, Miss.). Dr. Huey has been with Digestive Health Specialists since 2005. He previously served as chief medical resident at University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson. He practiced privately in Greenwood, Miss., before moving to Tupelo in 2003.

Lyle Hurwitz, MD. Gastroenterology Associates of Florida (Atlantis). Dr. Hurwitz has done research on colorectal cancer screening, gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel and more. He has performed more than 15,000 procedures during his career.

Andrew Ippoliti, MD. Keck Hospital of USC (Los Angeles). Dr. Ippoliti is the associate chief of gastroenterology and is a clinical medicine professor at the USC Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. He has served on several advisory boards and lectured at medical centers nationwide.

Pothen Jacob, MD. Gastro Florida (Clearwater). Dr. Jacob has a special interest in motility disorders, liver disease and colon cancer screening. He has been practicing privately in Pinellas County since 1990. He is also a member of the American Gastroenterological Association and the American College of Gastroenterology.

Kambiz Kadkhodayan, MD. AdventHealth (Orlando, Fla.). Dr. Kadkhodayan is the program director of the advanced endoscopy fellowship at AdventHealth’s Center for Interventional Endoscopy. His clinical interests include management of patients with obesity and complex gastrointestinal diseases.

Patricia Kao, MD. Salem (Ore.) Gastro. Dr. Kao has practiced at Salem Gastro since 2007 in addition to having hospital privileges at Salem Hospital and West Valley Hospital in Dallas, Ore. She is also a staff member of Salem Endoscopy, an ASC and sister company of Salem Gastro.

Michael Kattah, MD. UCSF Medical Center (San Francisco). Dr. Kattah is also an assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco. His research focuses on why people develop inflammatory bowel disease and how to choose the best medications for each patient.

Jaffrey Kazi, MD. Scottsdale (Ariz.) Gastroenterology Specialists. Dr. Kazi does clinical research trials for conditions such as celiac disease and encephalopathy. He has a special interest in advanced endoscopies, bile duct disorders and pancreas disorders.

Ambreen Khurshid, MD. California Gastroenterology Associates (Fresno). Dr. Khurshid is affiliated with University of California San Francisco Fresno’s department of gastroenterology as teaching faculty. She has a special interest in GI disorders in women.

Joseph Kim, MD. North Texas Gastroenterology Associates (Sherman and Anna, Texas). Dr. Kim is certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. He also has advanced training in endoscopy and has written two book chapters.

Karen Kim, MD. The University of Chicago Medicine. Dr. Kim is a professor of medicine and associate director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is the director of the Center for Asian Health Equity and has an interest in researching underserved and minority populations, health disparities, cultural competency and cancer prevention.

Lawrence Kim, MD. South Denver Gastroenterology (Parker, Colo.). Dr. Kim was the first gastroenterologist to join the board of directors of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.

Hack Jae Kim, MD. Arizona Centers for Digestive Health (Phoenix). Dr. Kim has 21 years of experience in gastroenterology. He has expertise in esophageal cancer, gastrointestinal motility, colon cancer and more. He has been published in various gastroenterology journals including the American Journal of Gastroenterology, Gut, and Neurogastroenterology & Motility.

David Kim, MD. Illinois Gastroenterology Group (Peoria). Dr. Kim is the medical director of the Chicago-based Amita Health Hepatitis C clinic and also serves on the American Liver Foundation’s medical advisory committee.

Michelle Kim, MD, PhD. Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Kim was recently named the chair of the department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Cleveland Clinic’s Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute. She is the first woman to hold the position at Cleveland Clinic.

Divyanshoo Kohli, MD. Providence Digestive Health Institute (Spokane, Wash.). Dr. Kohli was recently appointed to the GI specialty board on the American Board of Internal Medicine. He also practices at the Providence Digestive Health Institute as an endoscopist.

Kavita Kongara, MD. Atlanta Gastroenterology. Dr. Kongara’s work has been published in journals such as The American Journal of Gastroenterology, The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and more. She has served Atlanta Gastroenterology since 2010.

Karen Kormis, MD. PA GI Consultants (Camp Hill, Pa.). Dr. Kormis has a special interest in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases. She has been treating patients at PA GI since 1996.

Mary Kovalak, MD. South Denver Gastroenterology (Englewood, Colo.). Dr. Kovalak’s research interests include eosinophilic esophagitis. She is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Jose Lantin, MD. Gastroenterology of Westchester (Yonkers, N.Y.). Dr. Lantin is the CEO of Gastroenterology of Westchester. He has more than 30 years of experience and treats a variety of conditions, including inflammatory bowel diseases and acute and chronic pancreatitis.

Daryl Lau, MD. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston). Dr. Lau is the director of translational liver research at the hospital. She is also an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Gregory Lesser, MD. NJ Gastro (Newark, N.J.). Dr. Lesser has co-written publications on sedation and colonoscopy as well as other gastroenterology topics. He is a fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Gastroenterological Association.

Daus Mahnke, MD. Gastroenterology of the Rockies (Louisville, Colo.). Dr. Mahnke is also a clinical instructor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. He is also a member of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Medical Advisory Board.

Pramod Malik, MD. Virginia Gastroenterology (Suffolk). Dr. Malik established Virginia Gastroenterology in 2016. He is a board member of the Virginia Gastroenterological Society and a fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Gastroenterological Association and the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Thalia Mayes, MD. Portland (Maine) Gastroenterology Center. In addition to her work at Portland Gastroenterology Center, Dr. Mayes is a clinical assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. She is also a member of Maine Medical Center’s medical staff in Portland.

Leon McLean, MD, PhD. Granite State Gastroenterology (Derry, N.H.). Dr. McLean is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. He is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology and other organizations.

Gil Melmed, MD. Cedars-Sinai (Los Angeles). Dr. Melmed recently joined virtual gastrointestinal care company Oshi Health’s medical advisory board. He is also a member of the National Scientific Advisory Council for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and is a co-chair of the foundation’s IBD Qorus quality improvement program.

Shoba Mendu, MD. Gastroenterology Associates of Tidewater (Chesapeake, Va.). Dr. Mendu was previously chief medical resident of Detroit Receiving Hospital. She has been with Gastroenterology Associates of Tidewater since 2010 and has advanced training in colorectal cancer screening, IBD, capsule endoscopy and women’s digestive health.

Shane Mills, MD. Eugene Gastroenterology (Springfield, Ore.). Dr. Mills served as chief of gastroenterology at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso,Texas from 2008-13. He has special interests in colorectal cancer screening and prevention, liver disease and more.

Thomas Mills, MD. Digestive Healthcare Clinic (Jackson, Miss.). Dr. Mills is self-employed and has his own independent private practice in Jackson. He is also the former chair of the St. Dominic Hospital Endoscopy Committee.

Smruti Mohanty, MD. Beth Israel Medical Center (Newark, N.J.). Dr. Mohanty was recently named director of gastroenterology at Beth Israel Medical Center. He has more than 20 years of gastroenterology experience and specializes in liver transplants and liver disease.

Angela Nutt, MD. GastroArkansas (Little Rock). Dr. Nutt has been with GastroArkansas since 1999. She also serves as vice chair of gastroenterology at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock.

Jadesola Omoyeni, MD. Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio. Dr. Omoyeni’s clinical interests include preventing colon cancer using high-value care and cost-effective treatments. She has also published articles about bariatric surgery and liver diseases.

Haleh Pazwash, MD. Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey (Ridgewood). In addition to practicing at the Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey, Dr. Pazwash is also chair of the division of gastroenterology at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. Before her current roles, she served as Valley Hospital’s chair of the endoscopy committee until 2017. Dr. Pazwash has also volunteered as an associate clinical professor at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in New York City.

Elizabeth Raskin, MD. Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian (Newport Beach, Calif.). Dr. Raskin was recently named surgical director for the Margolis Family Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program, which is part of the Hoag Digestive Institute. She has 20 years of experience in colon and rectal surgeries.

Nitesh Ratnakar, MD. West Virginia Gastroenterology & Endoscopy (Elkins). Dr. Ratnakar serves as the West Virgina governor of the American College of Gastroenterology. He is also a member of the task force of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy on innovation in endoscopy.

Alexis Rodriguez, MD. Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition (Evergreen Park and Elmhurst, Ill.). Dr. Rodriguez has experience managing inflammatory bowel disease, abdominal pain, hepatitis and more. She is affiliated with several Chicago-area hospitals.

Lisa Rossi, MD. Connecticut Gastroenterology Associates (Hartford). Dr. Rossi is a clinical instructor in the department of medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington. She is also the university’s GI fellowship site director at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford.

Lauren Schwartz, MD. Manhattan Gastroenterology (New York City). Dr. Schwartz has a special interest in general gastroenterology, women’s health, colon cancer screening and more. Her evaluations and treatment plans often include nutritional interventions and lifestyle modifications. She is a member of various organizations including the American Gastroenterological Association, American College of Gastroenterology and more.

Nikrad Shahnavaz, MD. Emory University Hospital (Atlanta). Dr. Shahnavaz is also an associate professor at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. He has published several scientific articles, co-authored a book on gastroenterology and has presented at conferences internationally.

Aniq Shaikh, MD. Gastroenterology Consultants of Central Florida (Orlando). Dr. Shaikh is chief of medicine at Florida Hospital East Orlando. He is also a member of the American College of Gastroenterology and Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America.

Sunana Sohi, MD. Louisville (Ky.) Gastroenterology Associates. Dr. Sohi has been practicing at Louisville Gastroenterology Associates since 2010. She is a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Lidia Spaho, MD. Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital (Winfield, Ill.). Dr. Spaho serves at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, a 390-bed acute care facility. She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both gastroenterology and internal medicine.

Christian Stone, MD. Comprehensive Digestive Institute of Nevada (Las Vegas). Dr. Stone has been practicing in Las Vegas since 2009. His research has resulted in more than 100 published book chapters, invited reviews and original manuscripts in peer-reviewed medical journals.

Doris Strader, MD. The University of Vermont Medical Center (Burlington). Dr. Strader runs a liver clinic at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She has been conducting gastroenterology and hepatology clinical treatment trials for over 10 years. She is the principal investigator for a clinical trial of eosinophilic esophagitis and co-investigator in treatment trials of hepatitis C and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Alejandro Suarez, MD. Palmetto Digestive Health Specialists (Charleston, S.C.). In addition to his role at Palmetto Digestive Health Specialists, Dr. Suarez is also an assistant professor adjunct at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. He has special interest in GI oncology, pancreaticobiliary disorders and interventional endoscopy.

Andrew Su, MD. Gateway Gastroenterology (Chesterfield, Mo.). Dr. Su has been with Gateway Gastroenterology since 1996. He has an interest in technological advances in endoscopy. He is a member of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Abdulla Taja, MD. Gastroenterology of West Central Ohio (Lima). Dr. Taja has more than 25 years of experience and has served at Cook County Hospital in Chicago as well as at his own practice. His focus is on preventive care and early detection.

Mark Tanchel, MD. Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey (Hackensack). Dr. Tanchel has over two decades of private practice experience. He serves as a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey and senior attending physician at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Clinton Wallis, MD. Digestive Disease Specialists (Oklahoma City). Dr. Wallis is board-certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. He has been with Digestive Disease Specialists since 2006. Dr. Clinton is a member of a variety of organizations including the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Society of Gastroenterological Endoscopy and more.

Timothy Wang, MD. Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (New York City). Dr. Wang was recently appointed the inaugural member of a medical advisory board for Mainz Biomed. He is also the Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silverberg Professor of Medicine and GI division chief at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

James Weber, MD. GI Alliance (Southlake, Texas). Dr. Webster is the founder and CEO of independent gastroenterology provider network GI Alliance. He also founded Texas Digestive Disease Consultants in 1995.

Joseph Webster, MD. Digestive and Liver Center of Florida (Orlando). Dr. Webster’s research interests include obesity and diabetes in children and adolescents and the role of families in healthy attitudes and living. He is a member of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a diplomate of the American Board of Gastroenterology.

Tony Weiss, MD. New York Gastroenterology Associates (New York City). Dr. Weiss is an assistant professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. He also serves as the school’s director of regulatory affairs/associate program director of the division of gastroenterology.

Richard Wille, MD. Center for Digestive Health (Troy, Mich.). In addition to his role at the Center for Digestive Health, Dr. Wille is also the director of the endoscopy unit at William Beaumont Hospital in Troy. In 1993, he served as the chief medical resident at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has presented papers about gastrointestinal diseases at national conferences.

Louis Wong Kee Song, MD. Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.). Dr. Wong Kee Song has been with the Mayo Clinic since 1998 and has a special interest in therapeutic endoscopy. In addition to his clinical work, he is also a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

Renee Young, MD. University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha). Dr. Young is a professor in the Internal Medicine Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine. She has served the medical center since 1990. She is interested in medical student, resident and fellow education.

And finally, of course, you’re always welcome here at Gastro Health Partners, who have 18 specialists on staff for your gastroenterological needs. Visit our Patient Portal to get started on your journey to a healthier you!

10 Things You Should Know About Hemochromatosis

Hemochromatosis is a medical condition where an abnormal amount of additional iron builds up in a person’s blood to the point of potentially causing bodily harm and damage to the liver, heart, endocrine glands, joints and more. Research suggests that in the U.S., approximately one out of every 300 non-Hispanic Caucasians suffers from hereditary hemochromatosis, with the majority being of northern European decent. 

The most common cause of hemochromatosis is hereditary and determined by genetics. Classic or hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic condition that often does not appear until people hit middle age. 

Interestingly, hemochromatosis is significantly more common among males, with estimates suggesting that men are affected two to three times more frequently than women.  Additionally, the initial onset of this inherited disease tends to be slightly earlier in men.  This is because women are somewhat “protected” by menstrual blood loss earlier in life.  

For more information about hemochromatosis including important facts you should know, follow along.

10 Things to Know About Hemochromatosis 

  1. While hemochromatosis was initially discovered sometime during the 1800s, by 1935 it was known as an inherited condition resulting from too much iron in the body.
  2. While some people are asymptomatic, common symptoms associated with hemochromatosis include: fatigue, hyperpigmentation of the skin, pain in the joints, stomach pain, weight loss, and decreased libido. 
  3. Serious complications associated with hemochromatosis include diabetes mellitus, cirrhosis of the liver and heart failure.
  4. While most cases of hemochromatosis are caused by hereditary factors, it is also possible to get hemochromatosis from a buildup of iron due to things like blood transfusions used to treat severe cases of anemia.
  5. Hemochromatosis can lead to a variety of liver abnormalities including: hepatomegaly or liver enlargement, liver scarring/cirrhosis, portal hypertension, and liver disease. Additionally, hepatocellular carcinoma, a certain type of liver cancer, is sometimes associated with hereditary hemochromatosis. 
  6. Sometimes hemochromatosis impacts the color of a person’s skin, changing it to more of a bronze or gray coloring.  In the 1800s, it was called “bronze diabetes” and “pigmented cirrhosis.”  
  7. If you suffer from hemochromatosis, one of the most effective ways to lower the amount of iron in your body tends to be regularly scheduled removal of blood. 
  8. People who have family members (especially siblings) that are diagnosed with hereditary hemochromatosis may want to consider genetic testing.
  9. Hemochromatosis is often initially diagnosed with a blood test. When someone has a high ratio of iron to transferrin in their blood, it may suggest they are suffering from hemochromatosis.  The disease can be confirmed with a blood test to look for the genes causing hemochromatosis.  
  10. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, HFE, the gene that causes hereditary hemochromatosis, was first identified in 1996 on chromosome 6.

Hemochromatosis is a manageable condition that can be extremely serious if undiagnosed or left untreated. For more information or to arrange diagnostic testing, you should seek out assistance from a qualified medical professional. 

If you or someone you love is suffering from hemochromatosis, the experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you. Our clinicians have a passion for seeking out and refining new treatments and advanced solutions for those suffering from disorders of the digestive system. For more information or to schedule a gastroenterological medical evaluation, contact a Gastro Health Partners location near you.

 

Sudden Difficulty Swallowing? Here’s What It Is, And What Could Be Causing It

Ever experienced pain, discomfort, or difficulty while attempting to swallow? This condition is known as dysphagia. Dysphagia is highly common–around 13.5% of the population experiences it at some time–and it is caused by a variety of different medical conditions and diseases.

There are two main types of dysphagia: oropharyngeal and esophageal.

Oropharyngeal dysphagia is associated with the muscles of the mouth and upper throat. When muscles are weakened due to neurological and nervous system disorders, the act of swallowing may become difficult. This can also feel like a numbness of the throat, resulting in an inability to “feel” food. Multiple sclerosis, a stroke, Parkinson’s, and other brain disorders are associated with oropharyngeal symptoms.

Esophageal dysphagia is usually associated with a physical narrowing of the esophagus or motility issues of the esophagus and upper stomach. Some muscular conditions, such as muscle spasms, throat cancer, or diverticulum, can make it difficult to fully swallow food, resulting in discomfort. Physical blockages related to benign/cancerous growth or strictures may cause esophageal dysphagia.

Esophageal dysphagia is also a frequent symptom of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), or chronic acid reflux. GERD is a result of dysfunction of the esophageal sphincter, a muscle in the esophagus. Normally, when you swallow, the esophageal sphincter muscle relaxes to allow food and liquid to enter your stomach. In GERD, the muscle relaxes abnormally or weakens, allowing stomach acid to enter the esophagus. This results in chronic discomfort, heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, nausea, and dysphagia. In the long-term, GERD can lead to scarring and Barrett’s Esophagus, which is an abnormal change in the lining of the esophagus which can increase your risk for esophageal cancer.  

While dysphagia is most common in older populations, it can really happen to anyone. Dysphagia is almost always a symptom of another underlying condition. If you experience severe symptoms of dysphagia, seek immediate medical assistance. 

If you experience dysphagia as a symptom of GERD, consider consulting a gastroenterologist. There are ways you can address symptoms of GERD to reduce severity and chronic symptoms. Some risk factors of GERD include obesity, hiatal hernia, pregnancy, smoking, asthma, diabetes, overeating, and connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma. To learn more about heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD, click here. If you have been diagnosed with GERD and wish to manage symptoms through dietary choices, read our blog here.

If you are suffering from chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease, the experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you. Our clinicians have a passion for seeking out and refining new treatments and advanced solutions for those suffering from disorders of the digestive system. For more information or to schedule a gastroenterological medical evaluation, contact a Gastro Health Partners location near you.

 

#GutHealth: Discerning Trend From Reality

“Gut health” seems to be a social media buzzword these days, with TikTok and Instagram influencers pushing products, juices, and bizarre diets to “heal” the gut, i.e., reduce bloating, improve digestion, and act as a sort of “cure all” for many common gastrointestinal symptoms and conditions, such as IBS and IBD. Aloe vera juice, bone broth, apple cider vinegar, probiotic-enriched muffin mixes–With so many emerging and unverified natural and unnatural remedies floating around the internet, it can be overwhelming to discern fact from fiction. 

At the same time, there’s so much new and exciting research around the role of the gut microbiome in overall physical and mental health. Research has found that boosting the diversity of gut microbiota (the vast array of “good” bacteria in your digestive system) can have positive effects on the immune system, improve mental health conditions like depression, improve sleep and heart health, and even reduce the rate of certain types of cancer

That being said, these recent, ungrounded social media trends are nothing but dangerous. 

In a recent New York Times article, University of London senior lecturer Stephanie Alice Baker defined these fads as the latest manifestation of the idea of “self-optimization,” an insidious mechanism to promote diet culture and “ideal” body types through unlikely sources. By labeling weight loss as “gut healing,” influencers are able to promote extreme, unhealthy diets. What’s more, these influencers often have no medical authority and may only be promoting a product because they’re being paid to do so. 

The truth of the matter is: there’s no quick fix, even if it seems to work for someone on #guttok. Many people suffer from gastrointestinal conditions that are best treated by consulting a medical professional. However, there are some research-driven dietary changes you can make to heal your gut over time. Let’s take a look at 6 gastroenterologist-backed methods for diversifying and improving the gut microbiome.

6 Things You Can Do For Your Gut Health

Eat fermented foods.

A clinical trial conducted by researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine found that a diet high in fermented foods, such as kimchi, kefir, and cottage cheese, continually increased microbiota diversity and decreased inflammatory markers over a period of 17 weeks. Fermented foods are rich in good bacteria; read our blog about other types of fermented food and fermentation here

Eat more fiber.

The same Stanford trial also examined the role of fiber in diet and found that it increased microbiome function, especially coupled with the consumption of fermented foods. Consuming soluble and insoluble fiber also promotes regularity and digestive function. Learn more about high-fiber foods and the role of fiber on our blog here

Reduce consumption of processed foods.

Research has found that regular consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods (like sugary soda, chips, artificial cheese, fried chicken, fast food) reduces gut diversity while increasing symptoms of gut disorders like IBS, the risk of depression, inflammation, and mortality. Unfortunately, many readily-accessible foods with a long-shelf life are highly-processed, even ones that appear “healthy,” so taking time to research nutritional information is key.

Reduce consumption of spicy foods. 

Spicy food isn’t “dangerous,” but consuming it often can irritate the stomach and increase symptoms of certain gut disorders, like IBS, IBD, and acid reflux. 

Don’t smoke.

Smoking and the toxic chemicals in cigarette smokes harms every part of the digestive system; from increasing the risk of heartburn and peptic ulcers to harming intestinal microflora, increasing inflammation, and increasing oxidative stress. 

Take probiotics.

Probiotic supplements and probiotic-rich foods contain life bacteria that contribute to improving gut microbiome diversity. Taking probiotics may be beneficial to your health, but it’s recommended that you consult a doctor first.  

The experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you if you are concerned about your gut health or have other gastroenterological issues. For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our Kentucky or Southern Indiana offices, contact one of our practice locations near you.  

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month: Information and Resources

April is annually designated as #IBSAwarenessMonth, a monthlong effort to focus attention on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and the millions of people it affects all over the world. Around 15% of the population suffers from IBS, but many go undiagnosed, dealing with painful, frustrating, and often stigmatized symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about the condition as well as some valuable resources.

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) describes a collection of chronic symptoms occurring in the large intestine (colon). It is characterized by bloating, abdominal cramping, and a change in bowel habits. Constipation and/or diarrhea are a part of IBS. No one knows what causes the condition, although it’s more common in women than men.

Symptoms of IBS

  • Uncomfortable bloating or distention 
  • Pain or cramping in the abdominal area
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea or vomiting

Managing Symptoms of IBS

There’s no “cure” for IBS. Treating the condition requires symptom management: making certain lifestyle and dietary changes based on your specific needs. Here are some ways that IBS can be controlled:

  • Limiting foods that trigger IBS symptoms. These may include alcohol, chocolate, carbonated beverages, certain fruits and vegetables, or milk. 
  • Stress management. IBS can worsen during periods of high-stress or anxiety. In fact, during the pandemic, many report that their symptoms of IBS have considerably worsened. Planning ahead, making lists, meditating, taking time to relax and avoiding stressful situations can prevent aggravation of symptoms.
  • Eat more fiber. Getting plenty of fiber in your diet can promote regularity and limit symptoms of IBS. 
  • Certain medications, such as anti-diarrheal medications and anticholinergic medications. 

Life With IBS: Resources and Information

IBS affects many people’s quality of life in subtle but debilitating ways. It can affect your work, travel, relationships, and how you live out each day. In fact, on average, individuals with IBS restrict their activities 73 days out of the year. 

If you or a loved one is living with IBS, there are a variety of resources and methodologies available to help you handle daily symptoms that you may have not encountered before. 

One such method is known as “belly breathing.” By utilizing the abdomen to expand and contract breath rather than the chest, you can limit symptoms of IBS and other gastroenterological conditions. Belly breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which tells the brain to move back to “rest” mode rather than “fight or flight.” It also improves stomach accommodation and pressure. 

If you frequently travel or commute to work, it can be helpful to create an IBS “survival kit”  to be of need in unfamiliar settings. This can include a change of clothes, extra bath tissue, medication, something that calms you, and anything else that may be of use.

If you are close with or live with someone with IBS, providing them a supportive and understanding relationship can be hugely beneficial. Read this helpful blog about relationships and IBS by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) to learn more.

Being communicative with your physician is also an important part of managing symptoms of IBS. On average, people wait with their symptoms for over 6 years before seeking help. If you think you may be experiencing IBS, seek medical advice. The IFFGD has compiled a list of “words to know” so you can better-communicate your symptoms. 

Why Does IBS Awareness Month Matter?

By participating in #IBSAwarenessMonth, you can help spread awareness, reduce stigma, and promote greater investment in IBS research. 

Visit the IFFGD’s #IBSAwarenessMonth homebase for more pertinent information and media resources toolkits. Read personal stories of people who experience IBS here. Visit the American College of Gastroenterology’s helpful resource page here.

The experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you if you are concerned about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and/or other gastroenterological medical conditions. For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our Kentucky or Southern Indiana offices, contact one of our practice locations near you.  

 

7 Common Signs of a Duodenal Ulcer

Duodenal ulcers are a type of sore that develop in your small intestine in an area called the duodenum. This area is located at the top portion of your small intestine just past the stomach. 

This type of ulcer can be caused by several different things. Some people get duodenal ulcers from infections with Helicobacter pylori often referred to as H. pylori, a bacterium often detected in the stomach. 

Ulcers can also be caused by anti-inflammatory medications which can impact the mucous barrier in the duodenum enabling acids to cause ulcers. There are also certain medical conditions that can cause duodenal ulcers. For example, duodenal ulcers can be caused by the increase in stomach acid associated with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. 

Additionally certain lifestyle factors can increase a person’s risk of developing duodenal ulcers including heavy drinking, smoking and heavy stress.

Research suggests that upwards of one out of 10 people in the U.S. experience a duodenal ulcer at some point in time. While ulcers were originally more common in men, the rates of ulcers in women have increased in recent years.

Though duodenal ulcers may be confused with other medical conditions, there are some common signs and symptoms. Follow along for 7 common signs of a duodenal ulcer.

7 Signs of a Duodenal Ulcer

1. Stomach pain which sometimes becomes more severe and then gets better depending on what you are eating and drinking.

2. Bloating and an overall feeling of fullness especially after you eat 

3. Increased gas and a need to burp

4. Nausea and even feeling like you might need to vomit

5. Weight loss which can happen if the ulcer causes any type of blockage in your digestive track which makes it difficult for food to travel through your stomach.

6. Weight gain through comfort eating in order to find pain relief through food that neutralizes the acid build up. 

7. Indigestion, sometimes called dyspepsia, which is characterized by discomfort and a burning feeling in your upper abdomen area.

8. Extremely serious ulcer cases can cause more severe symptoms and complications that require immediate medical attention including blood in your stool. 

If you think that you might be suffering from a duodenal ulcer, you should seek out experienced medical attention. When left untreated, duodenal ulcers can lead to more serious complications including bleeding and even perforations in your intestine. There are certain tests that your gastroenterologist may perform for diagnostic purposes. An endoscopy is often used to diagnose a duodenal ulcer. Through this test your physician is uses a flexible telescope which provides visibility in the duodenum so that ulcers can be detected. Your doctor may also test you to see if you have H. pylori.

The experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you if you are concerned about duodenal ulcers and other gastroenterological medical conditions. For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our Kentucky or Southern Indiana offices, contact one of our practice locations near you.  

The Colonoscopy: A Historical Timeline

As we approach the end of this year’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, let’s take a closer look at something near and dear to our hearts: the colonoscopy. 

As the only screening test that detects and prevents cancer, the best test for finding precancerous polyps, and the only test recommended for people with risk factors such as personal history of polyps or cancer, the colonoscopy is truly a life-saving resource. Over 15 million colonoscopies are performed across the United States each year, reducing the widespread risk of colorectal cancer death by over 60%.

However, despite the colonoscopy’s widespread use and unequivocal standard of effectiveness, it is actually a fairly new methodology, one that took decades to be widely-known and well-established. While variations of the colonoscopy were first conceptualized throughout the 1960s, it wasn’t until the last few decades that the standards of quality which govern the colonoscopy as we know it came to be.

Follow along for a deep-dive into our favorite colorectal cancer screening test. 

1960s-70s: The Early Years

Up until the mid-1960s, the closest thing to a colonoscopy was an endoscopic procedure using a rigid sigmoidoscope. This device had very limited movement, reach, and was unable to actually remove polyps. 

In 1969, colleagues Dr. William Wolff and Dr. Hiromi Shinya of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City invented the fiberoptic colonoscope, the first device to allow doctors to actually examine the entire length of the colon, thanks to its flexible, dynamic design.

Dr. Shinya also invented the polypectomy snare in 1969, a device which was able to physically remove colorectal polyps using a wire and electro-cauterizing mechanism. 

By 1973, the pair had performed over 5,000 colonoscopies, demonstrating the validity and safety of the procedure. 

1980s-90s: Increasing Awareness

In 1983, the Welch Allyn Corporation invented the first video endoscope, allowing doctors to see the procedure on-screen. Before, they were only able to observe the colon through a small eyepiece. 

Although the colonoscopy continued to develop, there was still a lack of general public accessibility and awareness towards the procedure. Many people opted for tests such as fecal occult blood testing and sigmoidoscopy. It wasn’t until 1985, when President Ronald Reagan underwent a life-saving colonoscopy, that the procedure began to garner national attention. 

In the mid-90s, the first screening recommendations were established in the United States. Adults over the age of 50 were suggested to receive regular colonoscopies. However, in a 1999 survey conducted by the CDC, only 40.3% of American adults over the age of 50 reported ever having a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.  

2000-Now: New Developments

In 2000, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) published the first colonoscopy guidelines. This seminal work allowed the quality of a colonoscopy to be measured with a numeric value, the Adenoma Detection Rate (ADR) as well as evaluate measures such as the quality of bowel preparation, patient assessments, rate of complications, cecal intubation rate, and withdrawal time. Doctors were finally able to be pragmatically evaluated for their ability to perform a colonoscopy. 

The early 21st century saw a significant increase in colonoscopies. Self-reported colonoscopies across the United States increased from 20% in 2000 to 47% in 2008. This can be contributed to many factors: a variety of educational campaigns and visibility measures pushed by doctors, government, and public organizations; Medicare coverage of colonoscopy, beginning in 2001; even celebrity stunts such as the Today Show’s Katie Couric’s publicized colonoscopy.

From 2000 to 2015, colon cancer rates rose considerably across increasingly younger populations. For adults aged 40-44, colorectal cancer incidence increased by 28%, for those aged 45-49, colorectal cancer increased by 15%, and while colonoscopy rates increased 17% in those aged 50–54. 

Rising colorectal cancer rates have led to efforts such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s 2020 recommendation that all adults aged 45-75 should be regularly screened. This was an update from the 2016 guidelines that suggested adults without risk factors should begin screening at the age of 50.

What is the future of the colonoscopy?

The colonoscope of the present remains largely unchanged from that first created by Dr. Wolff and Shinya in 1969. While it has developed in mechanical quality, such as flexibility and control, and now features a light source, suction device, lens cleaning, and a camera, it doesn’t really vary in its fundamental use: to observe and remove colorectal polyps, acting as both a diagnostic and therapeutic instrument. Why is this the case? Likely because it is highly effective at what it does! 

With this in mind, the most important development concerning colonoscopies, arguably, is in the public sphere. While the mechanisms of the procedure itself will undoubtedly continue to evolve and innovate, it’s important to consider the future of public access and opinion towards the colonoscopy.

There is still a surprising amount of misconception surrounding the colonoscopy. A 2020 survey of several European countries found that only 45% of people understood that it can prevent colon cancer. In the United States (pre-pandemic), around 68.8% of adults were up-to-date with their colonoscopy. Many people remain uninformed, fearful, and resistant to receiving the  life-saving screening test. Other people are limited by financial means or geographic accessibility to the procedure. 

By working to increase public awareness around the value of the colonoscopy, we can continue to prevent and reduce colorectal cancer deaths around the world. By educating your friends and loved ones about the importance of colonoscopy, partaking in events such as #DressInBlueDay and National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, getting involved with organizations like the Colon Cancer Coalition, and getting screened, yourself, you can help promote widespread change. 

See new infographics created by the Digestive Health Physicians Association below. To read stories about people’s experiences with colonoscopies and colorectal cancer, click here. To see our favorite online resources for promoting awareness, click here. To learn more about what exactly colorectal cancer is, click here.

The colonoscopy a historical timelineColorectal screening tests

An Overview of Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, an important time to spread awareness and learn more about the risks associated with colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. In the United States this year, an estimated 151,030 adults will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and ​​an estimated 52,580 will die from the disease. 

Despite its significant rate of incidence, colorectal cancer is highly preventable through the use of screening tests. Gastroenterology Health Partners, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society and Digestive Health Partners Association, recommends that those with an average risk start screenings at age 45. 

Of the colorectal cancer screening tests that we offer, colonoscopy remains the gold-standard of effectiveness and is strongly suggested for anyone eligible. Observational studies have suggested that colonoscopy can reduce colorectal cancer occurrence by 40% and mortality rates by 60%. 

If you’re considering scheduling a screening test, talk to an experienced gastroenterologist. They can help you make the right decision for your needs. 

Keep reading to learn about six commonly-offered colorectal cancer screening tests.

6 Common Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests

1. Colonoscopy

As mentioned above, the colonoscopy is the best diagnostic tool available. This out-patient procedure involves the use of a thin, flexible tube with a camera to exam the lining of the colon (large intestine) for abnormalities such as polyps. Some polyps can be removed with a scope during the procedure. Your doctor may also take tissue samples for analysis as well.

While the colonoscopy does require prep and recovery time, it is a fast, virtually risk-free procedure. Afterwards, your doctor will discuss your results with you and recommend whether you should be screened in 1, 5, or 10 years. To learn more about the colonoscopy, how it works, how to prepare, and more, read here

2. Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)

Often considered the second choice after a colonoscopy, the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) offers a non-invasive method for identifying colorectal cancer. The test, often performed at home, tests for hidden (occult) blood in the stool. This unnoticeable blood is often an early-sign of colorectal cancer. 

If you test positive for hidden blood during a FIT test, your doctor will want to perform another test, most likely a colonoscopy. FIT, unlike colonoscopy, is unable to actually identify or remove polyps and abnormal tissue. Therefore, the FIT is not really a viable “preventative” test and has a much lower accuracy rate. 

3. CT Colonography

The CT Colonography is also known as a “virtual colonoscopy.” This test uses a CT scan (a form of x-ray technology) to exam the colon for polyps. A small scope is inserted slightly into the colon to inflate it with air. Then, pictures are taken of the entire colon. The CT Colonography is highly effective, and, unlike a colonoscopy, it doesn’t require sedation. However, unlike a colonoscopy, this exam doesn’t actually remove precancerous polyps, it only can identify them.

4. Cologuard

Cologuard is another non-invasive, at-home colon screening test. Much like the FIT test, it looks at stool DNA samples. While Cologuard is generally more effective than FIT, it still doesn’t compare to the effectiveness of the colonoscopy–while colonoscopy is known to identify over 70% of precancerous polyps, Cologuard only identifies around 42%.

5. Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a comparable procedure to the colonoscopy. It is an exam of the lower part of the colon using a small, flexible, lighted tube. The tube, called a flexible sigmoidoscope, has a camera which allows the doctor to view the inside of the rectum and the sigmoid colon—about the last two feet of the large intestine. Unlike a colonoscopy, this procedure does not allow the doctor to see the entire colon; any cancers or polyps far in the colon cannot be detected. 

6. Capsule Endoscopy

A capsule endoscopy is a procedure that examines the lining of the middle part of the small intestine, the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. This procedure is necessary because a standard endoscope or colonoscope cannot reach this part of the bowel. Capsule endoscopy is often used to search for causes of bleeding as well as detect polyps, tumors, ulcers, and IBD.

During this procedure, the patient will swallow a tiny pill containing a video camera, light source, and battery. The camera will take 2-3 pictures per second for up to 12 hours, traveling through the GI tract. The photos are saved automatically to a recording device and strung into a video. 

While capsule endoscopy is effective for detecting and documenting significant lesions attributed to conditions such as IBD, tumors, and ulcers, it is significantly less effective as a colon screening test compared to colonoscopy. 

 When it comes to colon cancer screenings, the experienced medical team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here to serve you. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Southern Indiana or Kentucky, contact a Gastroenterology Health Partners location near you.

Managing GERD Through Diet: Foods To Seek Out and To Avoid

We’ve all felt it after eating–that burning, uncomfortable feeling in the chest. Maybe you know it as heartburn, indigestion, or acid reflux. While just about everyone experiences this sensation once in a while, there’s actually a significant number of people who suffer from it often. In fact, about 20% of the United States population experiences symptoms of chronic acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Besides being unpleasant and frustrating, GERD can lead to serious complications such as esophagitis or Barret’s esophagus

At this time, there is not a singular commonly-recognized cause of GERD. While some research associates it with obesity, smoking, certain medications, being pregnant, or genetic predisposition, it can really happen to anyone. Symptoms, besides heartburn, include nausea, pain or difficulty swallowing, regurgitation (when gastric contents re-enter the mouth or throat), burping, and a chronic cough. Symptoms of more serious complications from GERD can include loss of appetite, vomiting, blood in vomit or stool, increased pain or difficulty when swallowing, asthma, poor sleep, and weight loss. 

Common Treatments for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

If you’re diagnosed with GERD, you do have options for treatment. There are a variety of recommended over-the-counter and prescription medications that can neutralize or reduce stomach acid production. For those who wish to avoid long-term medication use, there are surgical options available as well.

Making certain lifestyle and dietary changes are considered essential to reduce symptoms of GERD. Slowing down the speed of eating, avoiding lying down right after eating, keeping your head elevated in bed, and avoiding tight clothes that put pressure on your chest or stomach are all said to improve symptoms for some. 

Foods To Limit Or Avoid If You Are Experiencing GERD

There are certain foods that are recommended for you to avoid if you have GERD. These foods can trigger or worsen symptoms of the disease. These include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Caffeine
  • Acidic fruits, like oranges, lemons, and limes
  • Spicy foods
  • Mint
  • Chocolate
  • Onion
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Garlic
  • High-sugar or high-fat foods
  • Fried or processed foods
  • Lactose, if you are lactose-intolerant

Foods To Incorporate Into Your Diet If You Are Experiencing GERD

On the other hand, there are certain foods that are often “safer” to consume for those experiencing GERD. These can include:

  • Non-citrus fruits, like apples, bananas, or melons
  • Oatmeal, brown rice, and whole grains
  • Root vegetables like potatoes or turnips
  • Water-dense vegetables like cucumber or celery
  • Low-acidic vegetables
  • Water and tea
  • Lean meats or fish

Of course, each person’s experience with acid reflux and GERD is unique. Foods affect each of us differently, so it’s important to monitor how you feel after consuming certain meals. Keeping a journal or notes tab on your phone of what “triggers” your symptoms can be a useful tool for you and your doctor. If you experience symptoms of GERD, the most important thing is to seek medical care–don’t self-diagnose or try to manage symptoms on your own. 

If you are suffering from chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease, the experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you. Our clinicians have a passion for seeking out and refining new treatments and advanced solutions for those suffering from disorders of the digestive system. For more information or to schedule a gastroenterological medical evaluation, contact a Gastro Health Partners location near you.

 

Can Weight Loss Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer?

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. In 2018, 42.4% of American adults were found to be obese, an increase of over 12% since 2000. In 2020, 36.6% of adults in Kentucky and 36.8% of adults in Indiana were found to be obese.

Obesity is associated with an increased mortality rate as well as a variety of negative health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer. Obesity can impact your quality of life, harming mental health as well as physical. What’s more, obesity costs the American public over $150 billion in medical bills each year. 

How is Obesity Calculated? An Overview of BMI

Obesity is determined by BMI, or “body mass index,” a measurement of weight status based on height and weight. For adults, a BMI of less than 18.5 is underweight, a BMI of 18.5 – 24.9 is healthy weight, a BMI of 25.0 – 29.9 is overweight, and 30.0 and above is obese. You can measure your BMI using this online calculator created by the CDC. 

Being obese, or having a BMI of 30.0 and above, has been considered a risk factor of developing colorectal cancer for years. However, few studies to date have examined the effects of weight change, such as significant weight loss or gain, on the risk of developing cancer. 

The Latest Research on the Health Benefits of Weight Loss

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland found that weight loss may greatly reduce the risk of developing precancerous polyps (adenomas). They examined the effects of weight loss and weight gain throughout several periods of adulthood for 154,942 American adults. For those who were initially overweight and lost weight over time, the risk of developing certain types of adenomas was reduced by 46%. For those who gained weight in adulthood, the risk of developing adenomas was increased by 30%. Interestingly, these findings were generally more statistically significant in men than women. 

Why is obesity associated with higher risk of developing adenomas? One factor, as discussed by Dr. Kathryn Hughes Barry, a co-author of the study, is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is associated with obesity. “[Insulin resistance] can increase cell growth and reduce the chance of cell death, changes that are linked with increased chances of developing cancer. Insulin resistance may also lead to type 2 diabetes, which is considered an independent risk factor for colorectal cancer.” 

In addition to reducing the risk of developing precancerous polyps, losing weight in adulthood can improve your energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence, according to CDC data. Even modest weight loss can result in positive health benefits, such as improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you are interested in learning our tips for healthy weight loss, watch this informative video featuring Dr. Sunana Sohi of Gastroenterology Health Partners or check out the CDC’s step-by-step guide to healthy weight loss here.

In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, getting a regular colon cancer screening is another important practice in the prevention of colon cancer. When it comes to colon cancer screenings, the experienced medical team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here to serve you. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Southern Indiana or Kentucky, contact a Gastroenterology Health Partners location near you.