keyboard_arrow_rightAre probiotics good for my digestion?
Who could have imagined that germs could heal? Probiotics are live germs that when ingested improve your health. Probiotics are regarded as 'good bacteria' that are believed to improve digestion and to produce other medical benefits. Many of our patients feel better when taking them, either in a pill form or in certain foods such as yogurt. Firm scientific proof of their benefit is still lacking, although active medical research is ongoing. Additionally, there is no standard dosing schedule or specific recommendations for which bacteria species the probiotic should contain. We recommend that probiotics be purchased from a reputable establishment as you would do with any health product.
keyboard_arrow_rightI have had diverticulitis. Can I eat nuts and seeds?
Diverticulosis is the presence of outpouchings in the colon. It is not a disease. If one of these pouches becomes infected and inflamed, then this is a disease called diverticulitis. Many physicians have advised these patients to avoid nuts, seeds and popcorn. The unproven theory is that these food items could become lodged within a pouch causing diverticulitis to develop. While many physicians and gastroenterologists continue to recommend these food restrictions, there is no persuasive medical evidence that any food items foods can cause diverticulitis. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, make an appointment with us and we will be happy to offer you our suggestions.
keyboard_arrow_rightI've read that my heartburn medicine can weaken my bones and cause other side effects. Are these drugs safe?
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), including Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Dexilant, Aciphex, Zegerid and Protonix – and all of their generics – are safe for long term use. Recent reports of serious side effects including osteoporosis, dementia, kidney disease, infections and nutrient absorption have been presented in the lay press in an exaggerated fashion. The risk of these side effects in an individual patient taking a PPI is extraordinarily low, if there is any true increased risk at all. Even the scientific authors of the various studies admit that there is no proof that PPIs cause any of these serious health consequences. Of course, no individual should be on a PPI – or any drug – unless it is truly needed. Also, you should be taking the lowest dose necessary. We find that many patients are on higher doses than they need. While PPIs are safe for long term use, there are patients who may only need a single course of therapy or receive PPIs periodically rather than continuously. Remember, in medicine less is more.
keyboard_arrow_rightMy gastroenterologist diagnosed me with Barrett's esophagus. Is this dangerous?
Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is a condition associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) where the internal lining of the esophagus changes to a different lining. Experts suspect that GERD is responsible for the development of BE. This condition is associated with a slight increase in the development of esophageal cancer. For this reason, these patients are followed carefully in an effort to prevent this devastating complication. The only test that can diagnose BE is a scope examination of the esophagus. BE cannot be seen on any other diagnostic test. If you have had GERD or heartburn for years, you should discuss with us about testing you for BE with a 5 minute and painless scope examination.
keyboard_arrow_rightI've been under a lot of stress lately. Could this reactivate my ulcer?
You can blame stress for many things, but not for your ulcer. We no longer believe that stress and anxiety can cause ulcer disease. Most ulcers are caused by stomach acid, certain medications including aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Curiously, many ulcers that we diagnose do not cause any pain.
keyboard_arrow_rightMy gallbladder was taken out a few months ago. Will I function ok without it?
You will be fine. Most patients live entirely well without their gallbladders. The gallbladder is a sac next to the liver that stores bile, a chemical produced by the liver which is necessary for digestion. Patients who have had their gallbladders removed still produce all of bile they need. Sometimes, patients notice a loosening of their stools which either eases with time or can be easily controlled with certain medications.