Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: November, 2021

Summary: We are excited to offer tips on how to manage holiday stress, weight gain, and GI issues. Find out how to minimize stress eating and boost GI health.
The winter holidays are about gathering with family and friends, traditions old and new, and fostering deep-rooted memories with loved ones. But what happens when stress and anxiety get you down? From managing everyone’s schedules to cooking and baking, this joyous time of year can be a lot to handle.
In the event you’re feeling stressed out, rest assured in knowing you're not the only one. Testing executed by the American Psychological Association said 38% of individuals have higher stress levels around the holidays. We’ve compiled a few tips from our experienced digestive health specialists at Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio on how to minimize mindless eating and help you handle any holiday stress you encounter. Please reach out to our GI practice in San Antonio, TX for more information.

Tip 1: Minimize overly processed foods to help with digestive health

The grumbling in your tummy might not be due to going back for seconds. The bacteria in your stomach may alter after you ingest processed foods. The consumption of processed foods allows molecules to escape your GI system and pass into your immune-processing pathway. This increases inflammation in the stomach.

You'll want to limit these foods and opt for prepping your holiday foods with fresh, local foods instead. Prep your family's green bean casserole with locally grown green beans. Create desserts with local strawberries. Replacing canned and processed items for fresher options makes a huge difference.
In the event your gut health issues need professional attention, the talented digestive health specialists at Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio are here to assist. Contact our gastroenterology team in San Antonio, TX to set up a consultation.

Tip 2: Grab a bite of food before you go

Overeating is all too natural during the holiday months and can lead to gut problems. Between scrumptious pies, seasonal casseroles, and cookies, avoiding holiday weight gain is hard.

Having a snack that includes carbohydrates and protein can help you remain satisfied in the interim before dinner. This could be as low-key as toast with a nut butter. A few other great protein and carb options include:
Hard-boiled eggs and fruit
Grapes with cheese
A healthy granola bar
Hummus and vegetables

Tip 3: Consume smaller meals to avoid overeating

There's no doubt that with the extent of the yummy food at your disposal, you'll probably want to grab it all and go. Be sure to monitor yourself and include less food on your plate. Choosing smaller amounts of food can enable your stomach to more easily process what you consume. Furthermore, you likely won’t feel as full and uncomfortable when you eat less.

Taking cues from your stomach is helpful when attempting to keep yourself from overindulging. Should you become full before finishing your meal, don’t stress. Your digestive system is letting you know it’s time to take a break and go socialize with your loved ones.

Tip 4: Follow a list to minimize stress

Developing lists can enable you to stay focused and organized throughout the holiday season. Creating a list helps make certain shopping trips stay on task. In addition, it enables you to keep up with your family's bustling schedules and offers a feeling of satisfaction.

Taking a few minutes to compose a list provides a sense of order to disorder. It helps minimize anxiety and alleviates the holiday tension you're facing.

Tip 5: Meet holiday tension with compassion

The phrase “Treat everyone how you wish to be treated” rings true every day of the year. But it's especially impactful during the holiday season when tensions are high.
When identifying methods to lower stress, answer every hurdle with a kind approach. Diffusing your feelings of frustration and offering compassion abates stress. It also makes all individuals feel wanted and assured.
Experience less stress this holiday season 
Regardless of what your holiday festivities might hold, our San Antonio, TX office is pleased to provide suggestions to help you savor this time of year with your family and friends. Having these tips on hand can prevent stress and help make the holiday season easier and more carefree. In the event you have GI health issues or require further recommendations, get in touch with the skilled digestive health specialists at Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio.

Summary: Gastric (stomach) cancer can develop in any portion of the stomach and is generally addressed with surgical treatment to remove the malignant tissue.

A serious disease that results from the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, cancer can develop just about anywhere in the body. With November being the dedicated National Gastric Cancer Awareness Month, Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio is dedicated to educating the community on the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer and how the condition might be managed. Nearly 26,000 new cases of gastric cancer are reported each year, as per the American Cancer Society. Gastric cancer, also called stomach cancer, leads to approximately 1.5% of initial cancer diagnoses in the country.

In the event you or a loved one receives a stomach cancer diagnosis, it is important to visit a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist to ensure you get the specialized treatment required. Get in touch with Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio in San Antonio, TX for further details.

About gastric cancer

The stomach is located in the top portion of the abdomen where food is held and broken down. When cancer cells develop in the inner lining of any location within the stomach, it is called gastric or stomach cancer. Although cancer can impact any part of the stomach, among patients in the U.S., the condition is most commonly found at the gastroesophageal junction, which is the area where the esophagus transitions into the stomach. Gastric cancer rates have been falling in the United States; however, the disease is still a major cause of cancer death in the world.

What are common signs of stomach cancer?

Gastric cancer is slow growing and may take more than a year or longer to develop. Because cancer of the stomach is not all that common among individuals in the United States, there are no official healthcare organizations that advise periodic screenings for those at average risk for this disease. In the early stages, cancer of the stomach might not display any signs or symptoms, although people who do notice signs or symptoms generally have one or more of the following:

  • Acid reflux
  • Ongoing queasiness
  • Enlargement of the abdomen
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Poor appetite

Should you or a person you love notice any of the symptoms above, it is imperative to seek expert medical treatment from a San Antonio, TX gastrointestinal specialist. Reach out to Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio to consult a GI doctor as soon as possible.

What are the risk factors associated with gastric cancer?

A number of people are at an increased risk of developing gastric cancer. These risk factors include having a genetic predisposition to certain conditions, like Lynch syndrome. This particular health issue also elevates the chance of colorectal cancer, uterine cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Additional factors that may place a person at greater risk for gastric cancer include the following:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Previous stomach surgery
  • Obesity
  • Being of the male gender
  • A family history of stomach cancer
  • Occupational exposure
  • Being over 55
  • Smoking

Talk to a San Antonio, TX GI specialist to learn about undergoing regular screenings for stomach cancer, like an upper endoscopy, if you have an elevated likelihood of developing gastric cancer. You can arrange to have an upper endoscopy and speak with an experienced GI doctor by reaching out to Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio.

What are the treatment options for stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer is usually addressed with surgical intervention. After the cancerous mass is taken out, radiation treatment and chemotherapy could also be utilized to reduce the chance of the cancer returning. In general, there are three predominant surgeries for the removal of cancerous tissue in the stomach:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopic mucosal resection: With this surgery, a flexible tube known as an endoscope is used to remove the cancerous tissue within the stomach.
  • Total gastrectomy: During this type of gastric cancer surgery, the whole stomach and neighboring lymph nodes are removed, and a new stomach is recreated by the small bowel.
  • Subtotal (or partial) gastrectomy: With a subtotal gastrectomy surgical approach, a portion of the stomach is removed, and the surrounding areas are reconnected. Subtotal gastrectomy might also include excising nearby lymph nodes or other tissue.

Experienced gastric cancer care in San Antonio, TX

Throughout the month of November, we are dedicated to spreading awareness of gastric cancer to patients across our community. Should you or someone you love receive a gastric cancer diagnosis, it is important to understand that professional care is close by. Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio is a physician-led network of gastrointestinal specialists and a reliable name in the field of digestive health. Get in touch with our office in San Antonio, TX today to further explore how a GI doctor can help you.

Summary: Urinary and bowel incontinence might impact your comfort and confidence, but an advanced therapeutic solution can help improve your quality of living.

Incontinence is a prevalent yet often infrequently mentioned medical condition that commonly leads to emotional, physical, psychological, and social impacts. It is a health issue for a multitude of Americans and can interfere with an individual's quality of living from minor to considerable ways. Individuals may have urinary or fecal incontinence, or even both, which may range in the magnitude of dysfunction and severity. A lot of adults find speaking about urinary or fecal incontinence humiliating, even with a medical professional, keeping many from getting the care they need.

Often, even sporadic occasions of incontinence may hamper an individual's inclination to take part in activities outside of the home. The thought of being outside of their home for a long time or needing to use the restroom at any given moment stands in the way of high-quality living for a large number of patients. Should you or a loved one have any amount of bladder or bowel incontinence (or both), please realize that help is close by and you are not alone. Effective treatments are available to help you take back urinary and bowel control and improve your confidence and comfort.

Accidental fecal or urinary leakage is a significant worry for adults all throughout the region. The seasoned gastrointestinal (GI) doctors at Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio are pleased to offer expert services for incontinence issues, including an advanced service called sacral neuromodulation (SNM). We invite you to contact our San Antonio, TX gastroenterologists today to discover more about urinary and fecal incontinence and determine the ideal treatment option for you.

What causes bladder leakage?

Characterized as the loss of control over bladder function, urinary incontinence leads individuals to unexpectedly leak urine. It includes a wide range of concerns, like overactive bladder (OAB) or urgency incontinence, overflow incontinence, stress incontinence, and urinary retention. While the chance of developing this health concern is greater for patients who are over 50, adults of all ages may be impacted. As a matter of fact, the National Association for Continence states that more than 25 million people in the United States have urinary incontinence every day. Common factors that can cause urinary incontinence include the following:

  • Pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Anatomical defects
  • Being pregnant
  • Birth trauma
  • Surgery
  • Obesity
  • Menopause
  • Nerve damage
  • Certain medications
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Infection in the pelvic organs
  • Long-term constipation

What leads to bowel control problems?

While a lot of individuals in San Antonio, TX feel embarrassed to seek care for urinary incontinence, problems with bowel incontinence are often even harder to disclose. The inability to control bowel movements, or bowel dysfunction, can encompass conditions ranging from minimal bowel leakage to a complete inability to control the bowels. Per the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, studies show that around 1.8 – 18% of the U.S. population deals with fecal incontinence. Common causes of bowel incontinence are listed below:

  • Prolapse of the rectum
  • Birth trauma
  • History of surgery
  • Ongoing constipation or diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness due to age
  • Nerve damage
  • Irritable bowel diseases
  • Defects in normal anatomy
  • Conditions involving the central nervous system (CNS)
  • Excessive laxative use

Are bladder incontinence and fecal incontinence related conditions?

Bladder and fecal incontinence are suffered by double the number of women compared to men. While they can arise individually or in tandem, a physiological connection exists between these two conditions. The brain and muscles that direct the bladder and bowels work together to ensure proper bladder and fecal function. If neural communications between the brain and these muscles are interrupted, various degrees of incontinence might occur. Generally, both urinary and bowel incontinence may result when a person's brain is unable to transmit the proper signals to the muscles that control bladder and bowel functions.

Are there effective treatment options for incontinence?

Treating cases of bowel and urinary incontinence often begins with conservative therapies, like altering diet and fluid consumption, pelvic floor exercise, and medications. These therapies might incorporate adding fiber to daily nutritional intake, or cutting back on caffeine consumption or other products that produce diuretic results. If such options do not help, or patients are not ideal candidates for conservative solutions or other treatment options, the GI doctors at Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio might advise sacral neuromodulation treatment. Although a variety of therapeutic measures are in place for treating bladder leakage, not many options exist for addressing cases of bowel incontinence, beyond sacral neuromodulation.

What should you know about sacral neuromodulation?

Sacral neuromodulation treatment is a minimally invasive way to address incontinence. It is accomplished through the placement of a mini rechargeable stimulator, akin to a pacemaker. The device is placed near the sacral nerve in the tailbone area, close to the top region of the buttocks, or gluteus muscles. Approved for use in people age 18 or older, SNM therapy is suggested by the American Society of Gastroenterology and the American Society of Colorectal Surgeons (after conservative treatment options). It provides a long-term therapeutic approach that has produced successful treatment results for a large number of patients. Furthermore, patients are able to complete a trial phase beforehand to learn whether it works for them.

How does SNM therapy work?

Adults who are candidates for SNM therapy often receive a 7 to 14-day trial period to begin the treatment process. The sacral neuromodulation device is then positioned through a minimally invasive surgical procedure completed by a GI specialist at Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio. SNM is a restorative treatment that regulates pelvic floor function by improving signals between the brain and the muscles that control bladder and bowel functions. The sacral neurostimulator is charged by the individual on a 2 to 4-week basis by way of an external source and requires only a short recharging session. Many sacral neuromodulation patients consider the process of recharging the neurostimulator generally efficient and simple overall.

Is SNM an effective option for treating urinary and bowel incontinence?

Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio is proud to offer SNM as a safe, effective, and long-lasting approach to addressing bladder or bowel incontinence in San Antonio, TX adults. SNM is clinically proven to improve symptoms of overactive bladder, urinary incontinence, urinary retention, and bowel incontinence. Research conducted indicates that sacral neuromodulation therapy carries a high rate of success and patient satisfaction ratings for both urinary and fecal incontinence concerns, and also exhibits a very high safety profile. This approach has shown success in people for whom a conservative approach to therapy was ineffective and can allow for substantial enhancements in their quality of living. SNM treatment is also linked to much lower rates of incontinence episodes.

Get advanced treatment for incontinence in San Antonio, TX

The introduction of SNM therapy has been paramount in providing a less invasive method to control urinary and fecal incontinence, thus enhancing the lives of those dealing with these issues. At Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio, we know the humiliation and concerns patients experience when living with bladder and bowel incontinence. Our San Antonio, TX gastrointestinal specialists provide advanced options and confidential consultations to treat these medical issues with the utmost respect, care, and clinical excellence. For further details on incontinence and sacral neuromodulation therapy, contact our practice in San Antonio, TX and schedule an appointment with our skilled GI team.

Summary: Our GI doctors explain how often adults should have a colonoscopy and why getting colon cancer screenings early on improves cancer survival rates.

Most people recoil at the notion of having a colonoscopy exam. Yet did you know that once you obtain the first examination, if it is within normal limits, you won’t be required to have the procedure for another ten years? That is an entire ten years without a colonoscopy!

We understand that having a colonoscopy screening might not be among your top priorities. Still, getting a screening offers peace of mind for your overall wellness. According to cancer.org, colon cancer fatalities have diminished for multiple decades because of these examinations.

It is advised for a person of normal risk to have their first colonoscopy around age 45. This is recommended since colorectal cancer is highly treatable when diagnosed early. If diagnosed early on, the five-year rate of survival is 90%.

At Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio, our staff will always offer superior treatment. Our San Antonio, TX digestive health specialists wish to ensure you receive the colonoscopy procedure you require for continued health and wellness.

How are colonoscopy screenings performed?

A colonoscopy is a procedure that identifies tissue irregularities and changes in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Over the course of the procedure, the gastrointestinal physician places a pliable scope into the colon through the rectum. A small camera enables the specialist to see within the colon.

Your comfort is of extreme importance throughout the entire examination. You will be provided the chance to receive intravenous (IV) sedation before the procedure begins. Talk to our specialists for details on how we can help ensure your colonoscopy is as painless as possible.

What can a colonoscopy procedure diagnose?

Having an initial colon cancer screening is advised for individuals who are between 45 and 52 years of age. To learn more about how frequently you should schedule a colonoscopy exam, please speak with one of our experienced gastroenterologists in San Antonio, TX.

A colonoscopy screening at Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio helps find precancerous polyps (growths) or tissue abnormalities that might be present in the colon or rectum. Before you undergo a colonoscopy, it is essential to recognize what represents the average risk for colon cancer. An average risk for cancer signifies you are a candidate for an initial colonoscopy exam.

Patients have an average risk if they do not have:

  • Suspected Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Family history of colon or rectal cancer
  • Hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, like familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Previous radiation to the abdomen or pelvic area to treat a previous cancer
  • Previous colorectal cancer or polyps

Why the year's end is a great time to have a colon screening

The time for new year's resolutions is nearly upon us. The end of the year is an ideal time to set up an appointment with a San Antonio, TX colonoscopy specialist. Doing so enables you to take a step back and revel in the holidays with your loved ones having peace of mind your health is in check.

Completing a colorectal cancer screening lets you begin the new year with a fresh perspective. In addition, remaining proactive with your health is an optimal approach when it comes to prioritizing your overall goals. It is also important to realize that reducing your risk of colon and rectal cancer begins you.

Schedule your colorectal cancer screening in San Antonio, TX today

We want to help you live a healthy, long life with the ones you love most. A colon and rectal cancer screening at Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio is an ideal way to begin the new year with a healthy approach. Not shying away from this important exam helps provide a warranty against colon and rectal cancer. To learn more or to schedule a colonoscopy consultation, please contact our skilled gastrointestinal specialists in San Antonio, TX.