Help For Hemorrhoids: Tips To Relief Your Painful Piles

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August 15, 2019 Blog

 

Have you been experiencing pain when passing stools, itching in your anal area, swelling or soreness in your bottoms, or bleeding in your stools? These are common symptoms for hemorrhoids, or piles, and can make the everyday affair of defecation a painful one. Hemorrhoids are the medical condition of swollen veins in or around the anus and lower rectum. Most cases of piles are minor and go away without further medical intervention. However, if the symptoms persist beyond 1-2 weeks, it is advisable to visit a gastroenterologist to rule out other serious problems and consider appropriate medical treatment to deal with the hemorrhoids.

Whether you are awaiting further treatment, or are advised to wait out the symptoms, it can be agonising living with the pain and discomfort of having piles. Measures that prevent hemorrhoids are also effective methods for piles treatment. These include having sufficient water intake, and not resisting the urge to empty your bowels. Apart from these, there are also numerous home remedies for piles you can try if you are already suffering from painful hemorrhoids: 

  • Soothing wipes

Toilet paper tends to be rough and may further irritate the tender sores on your bottom. Instead, try using soothing wet wipes to clean up after bowel movement. The moisture of the wipes serves as lubrication, so they are gentler on the skin. Look for wipes with witch hazel or aloe vera, as these have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. However, keep away from wipes containing alcohol or perfume, as these are irritants that may exacerbate your condition.

  • Take warm baths

Warm baths are a quick and easy way to soothe skin irritations. Harvard Health recommends a 20-minute warm bath after each bowel movement for effective results. A fuss-free way is to use a sitz bath, a small plastic tub that attaches over your toilet seat, by filling it with a few inches of water to soak your bum. After every bath, make sure to dry off thoroughly by gently patting with a soft towel or using a hair dryer. This prevents the accumulation of moisture that promotes the development of unwelcome bacterial or fungal infections.

  • Cold compress

Application of ice packs or cold compresses are known to aid in pain relief and shrinking of sores. Hold the cold compress or ice pack against the affected area for up to 15 minutes at a time. To minimise the risk of ice burn, always wrap any frozen objects in a towel before applying to the skin.

  • Stool softeners

To make stool less painful to pass, stool softeners can help to make bowel movements smoother and quicker. Stool softeners, also called emollient laxatives, come in various forms like powders, capsules, or liquids, and are readily available as over-the-counter medications.

  • Increase fibre intake

Dietary fibre and fluids intake are crucial for promoting bowel movement, which reduces the need to over-strain when passing stool. Simple dietary changes or supplements can help to increase dietary fibre intake and relieve constipation. Some high-fibre foods to add to your diet include wholegrain-based foods, fruits and vegetables, peas, beans, and nuts. Take care to make these dietary adjustments gradually, as sudden overconsumption of fibre may cause excessive gas and bloating.

What to do if your symptoms persist

Piles are a common and usually mild affliction, but in rare cases where your symptoms persists, it could signal something more serious. Your doctor may recommend performing further checks such as a digital rectal examination and possibly a colonoscopy to give a more detailed diagnosis. If the condition requires, your gastroenterologist will advise you on appropriate medical procedures available to you, which may include rubber band ligation, or hemorrhoid stapling. It is recommended you make an appointment with a specialist in gastroenterology to access the needs of your condition.


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August 7, 2019 Blog

Endoscopy Symptoms

An endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure that involves inserting a long, thin tube directly into the body, commonly through the mouth or anus, to make observations on an organ or tissue in detail. The flexible tube has a camera and light attached to it so the doctor can visually examine your digestive tract on the TV monitor.

Through the endoscopy procedure, the doctor can evaluate and diagnose certain the cause of symptoms and therefore, recommend the appropriate treatment. It can also be used to carry out treatment directly and avoid the need for further surgery.

Different types of endoscopy

Gastroenterology specialists are specialized in endoscopy and they are the ones who will perform it. It can be a useful procedure to help in a broad array of medical conditions related to all parts of the digestive tract. There are generally 2 groups of digestive endoscopies.

General endoscopy helps to evaluate most digestive symptoms and recommend treatment, including procedures like:

  • Gastroscopy: Esophagus, stomach and small intestine (duodenum)
  • Colonoscopy: Large intestine and colon

Advanced endoscopy includes more complicated endoscopy types with higher risks of complications but often help patients avoid a more invasive surgery, namely:

  • ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography): Bile ducts and pancreatic ducts
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): The gastrointestinal (GI) tract and neighbouring organs

When will you need an endoscopy

There are mainly three reasons when endoscopy will be recommended to you.

1. Investigate symptoms and signs

Your doctor can take a look and investigate digestive signs and symptoms like persistent abdominal pain, difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), change of bowel habits, blood in stools and gastrointestinal bleeding.

2. Diagnose

A biopsy can be carried out using endoscopy to collect tissue samples and test for conditions and diseases such as ulcers, digestive tract bleeding, polyps or growths in the colon to prevent the development of colon cancer.

3. Treatment

It may also be used to treat problems in the digestive tract. Special tools and devices can be passed through the endoscope to remove bile stones, for example. If polyps are found in the colon, they can also be removed through endoscopy with standard polypectomy techniques. for the prevention of colon cancer development.

How to prepare for the procedure

Your doctor will share specific instructions in preparation for the endoscopy. Typically, you will need to fast for about 8 to 12 hours before the endoscopy so your stomach will be empty for the effectiveness of the procedure. Laxatives may also be taken on the previous night to clear your system for procedures investigating the gut. Remember to mention the supplements and medications you are currently taking so your doctor will advise you accordingly to stop taking or continue as per normal.

During the procedure

The procedure is usually an hour-long duration and won’t require an overnight hospital stay. A local anaesthetic is applied to numb a specific area of your body, such as the back of your throat. The endoscope will be inserted into your body openings, which depends on the examined area, i.e. throat, anus, or urethra. For insertion through the mouth, you will be asked to wear a mouth guard to protect the lips and teeth, and hold your mouth open.

You may feel some pressure during the insertion but generally, you shouldn’t feel pain. Images will be transmitted to the monitor for your doctor to view and look for abnormalities. Gentle air pressure may be added into your esophagus to allow the endoscope to move freely and examine your digestive tract easily.

A sedative will also be given to patients to help them to relax and be more comfortable, and have a good experience when going through the endoscopic examination. During the procedure, patients will not feel or remember the process but your doctor will ensure it is performed safely with adequate monitoring.

Due to the sedative, your judgement, reaction times, and memory may be impaired. Thus, arrange for someone to drive you home afterwards and plan for an additional 24 hours for the sedative effects to wear off before resuming work or other activities.

The risks and possible side effects

After endoscopy, you may experience mildly uncomfortable symptoms such as sore throat, cramping, bloating and gas. It is a relatively safe procedure with a low risk of serious complications. However, if you experience symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, vomiting blood, severe and persistent abdominal pain, it should be reported to a doctor.

Possible complications can include a minor infection in the area of investigation, persistent pain experienced in the endoscopy area, perforation (tearing) of an organ or internal bleeding.


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July 23, 2019 Blog

Fatty Liver Symptoms, Singapore Fatty Liver

Many adults enjoy drinking a few alcoholic beverages – beers, wines and spirits on a regular basis. While the occasional drinking of alcoholic beverage is less likely to pose harm to your health, excessive drinking can bring about significant negative effects on your body and overall well-being.

Too much of a good thing can be bad. In general, more than or equal to 3 units for a male and 2 units for a female (a day) is too much on a long-term basis. Drink binging is not suggested, even once a while.

How many alcohol units are in each drink?

A shot of spirits (25ml): 1 unit

A standard glass of wine (175ml): 2.1 units

A large glass of wine (250ml): 3 units

A pint of 4% beer: 2.3 units

A pint of 8% strong cider: 4.5 units

What are the health risks?

Our liver plays an important role in the body to metabolise and process the alcohol consumed. The liver cells may not be able to keep up if alcohol is consumed too much too fast, thus increasing the alcohol level in the bloodstream.

Exceeding the recommended limit for moderate alcohol use will introduce risks of excessive drinking. Binge drinking can be defined as consuming 5 or more drinks within 2 hours for men, and 4 or more drinks within 2 hours for women.

Too much alcohol consumption can cause a number of health problems including

  • Obesity
  • Problems managing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Cancers of the mouth, throat and esophagus, liver, colon, and breast
  • Digestive problems
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes complications

Health impacts on different organs of our body

  • Pancreas

Heavy alcohol drinking is another big cause to chronic pancreatitis, a condition where the pancreases is severely inflammed. It occurs mostly after an episode of acute pancreatitis. The damage from heavy alcohol use to the pancreas may not develop symptoms for many years and one day, suddenly develop severe pancreatitis symptoms such as diarrhoea, constant upper abdominal pain, and weight loss caused by malabsorption of food. 

  • Brain

Drinking alcohol brings about depressant effects such as slurred speech and poor limb coordination that prevents the ability to walk properly, which can be seen in any occasional or moderate drinker. However, heavy drinkers may develop deficits in brain functioning and shrinkage of the frontal lobes of your brain over an extended period of time, that continue despite attaining sobriety.  Cognitive problems can persist due to the long-term alcohol abuse that negatively impact the brain’s “hard wiring”, such as poor decision-making, mild to moderate impairment of intellectual functioning, confused or abnormal thinking and loss of inhibitions.

  • Heart

The more you drink alcohol at one time, the higher your heart rate gets. According to researchers, it is thought that overconsumption of alcohol creates an imbalance between the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous systems, thus raising your heart rate. For people with heart conditions, experiencing a sudden spike in heart rate is potentially dangerous as it could trigger arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). Regularly drinking too much alcohol also raises your blood pressure, and over time high blood pressure (hypertension) can place a strain on the heart muscle, increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

  • Stomach

Too much alcohol consumption can irritate your digestive system and over time, damage your intestines leading to bouts of diarrhoea or stomach pain. It can also cause stomach distress with symptoms like bloating, gas and painful ulcers.

  • Liver

Chronic heavy drinking of alcohol can also lead to alcohol-related liver diseases such as fatty liver, cirrhosis and hepatitis. A person can have any of the conditions at a time, or all, if the disease is part of a progression.

Alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs as the early stage of liver damage induced by alcohol. It develops over time when too much alcohol consumption leads to a build-up of fat in the body’s liver cells, thus hindering liver function. This condition can be followed by inflammation in the liver (alcoholic hepatitis) and may progress to a build-up of scar tissues in the liver, leading to alcoholic cirrhosis.

Symptoms may not be present in the early stages. As you continue drinking alcohol over time, the performance and health of your liver declines and symptoms may begin to appear, which often can be too late.

They may develop gradually and include:

  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Encephalopathy or confusion
  • Severe itching of the skin
  • Wasting of muscles
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding

Moderation is key

By drinking lightly and in moderation, you can probably continue your drinking habits responsibly. Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks. Before or during a drinking session, eating a snack or meal can help slow down the absorption of alcohol. Avoid eating salty food as they make you thirstier and reach out for more alcohol to drink and quench your thirst.

For those taking prescription and medication, they should also ask their doctor if they can drink alcohol while taking them. Individuals with health conditions like heart failure, liver or pancreatic disease and uncontrolled high blood pressure should also check with their doctor about drinking as alcohol can worsen pre-existing health conditions.

Diagnosis and treatment

 Alcoholic liver cirrhosis can be diagnosed by gastroenterology specialists using blood tests and imaging procedures, including Fibroscan that will give a comprehensive assessment of a person’s liver health and determine disease severity. Patients in early stages of alcoholic hepatitis and fatty liver can reverse the condition, however, cirrhosis damage is irreversible and might require a liver transplant to survive.

You will need to abstain from drinking completely or gradually reduce your alcohol intake to see an improvement in your liver over time. Dietary and lifestyle modifications will be recommended to improve your well-being, and you can seek advice from a dietician for a balanced diet.


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July 16, 2019 Blog

Heartburn Singapore, GERD Symptoms

Spicy food isn’t the only thing that can make your insides feels like burning. Heartburn is a burning sensation that is felt from the top part of the stomach, going down the throat and chest. The sensation is caused by stomach acid travelling back up into the esophagus. It is usually a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

How and why does it happen?

The issue lies with the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), where the esophagus meets the stomach. When it is functioning well, the LES relaxes to allow food into your stomach or to let you burp, and then tightens or closes again. If the LES weakens or relaxes abnormally, stomach acid can back up into the esophagus and cause a burning discomfort in your upper stomach or lower breastbone also known as heartburn.

There are several causes to heartburn. Often, it is due to overeating. Being overweight or pregnant can also potentially increase your risk of experiencing heartburn as there is too much pressure on the stomach. Certain foods and beverages can also trigger heartburn such as coffee (caffeine), acidic juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapples), spicy foods, carbonated drinks and consuming alcohol that can relax your LES too much or increase stomach acid. Studies also show that smoking cigarettes relaxes the LES.

How serious is heartburn? 

Heartburn can be usually identified by feeling a burning pain in the chest especially after food or at night, pain that can worsen when you lie down or bend over, and experiencing an acidic or bitter taste in the mouth. If it occurs more than just occasionally, it is not just a small inconvenience. It can affect what you eat and keep you from doing your daily activities and how you sleep at night.

You can find relief with over-the-counter medications such as antacid or prescriptions like proton pump inhibitor which also helps to lower the acid in your stomach and heal the esophageal lining. Other remedies include drinking ginger tea, wearing loose clothing to avoid compressing your stomach, and elevating your upper body to put less pressure on your LES.

The severity of heartburn depends on how frequent it occurs. Too often and it is considered as GERD, where there may be a dysfunction of the LES and the amount of stomach acid brought up from the stomach. It can lead to serious problems such as laryngitis, ulcers or inflammation of the esophagus, narrowing or scarring of the esophagus and Barrett’s esophagus, a complication that increases your risk of developing esophageal cancer.

When to seek treatment for heartburn?

If you find yourself reaching for medication or antacids too often and you are not getting better, seek medical help and see a gastroenterologist in Singapore. This includes symptoms such as heartburn occurring more than twice a week, difficulties in swallowing, persistent nausea or vomiting, and weight loss due to poor appetite.

Your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms, and perform a physical examination. Diagnosis tests may also be carried to check for underlying conditions such as 24-hour pH study and gastroscopy, if GERD is suspected. There are specific medication or procedures for proper treatment.

Dietary changes and lifestyle modification can also be helpful when it comes to managing heartburn. Cut down on foods that trigger your heartburn incidents, avoid heavy meals and having a big meal within 2 hours of bedtime. Stress reduction, a modest weight loss and quitting smoking can have significant benefits in improving symptoms.


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July 5, 2019 Blog

Colon Cancer Singapore, Colon Cancer Doctor Singapore

Colonoscopy is one of the primary tools used for colon cancer screening and is widely considered to be the most effective method for it. This procedure takes a look inside the colon and examines its lining using a long, soft and flexible tube with a tiny camera and light attached on the end. This enables live viewing and visual images of the entire large bowel and lower part of the small intestine to be displayed on the screen.

How does this procedure take place?

Colonoscopy helps doctors to directly visualize the colonic mucosa and identify anycolonic polyp growths that occur on the inside wall of the colon or rectum. If detected, pre-cancerous lesions such as tubular adenomas will be removed during the colonoscopy, thus preventing colon cancer.

The bowel preparation is an important component of the colonoscopy as it impacts the success of colonoscopy. It involves fasting for at least 6 hours before undergoing colonoscopy along with medication to help you pass motion. A bowel preparation that is optimal results in increased polyp detection and decreased procedure time. Inadequate prep can lead to variability when interpreting colonoscopy results whereby certain lesions such as polyps or cancers can be potentially missed due to improper bowel cleanliness.

What else is colonoscopy used for?

Apart from colon cancer prevention, this procedure is also a safe and effective method to investigate symptoms in the digestive system and is essential to help in the management of several gastrointestinal illnesses.

Colonoscopy may be used to investigate digestive symptoms such as:

Colonoscopic examination may also be used in some colonic illnesses such as:

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Colonic polyp
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Angiodysplasia of the colon
  • Diverticulosis

Why does the quality of colonoscopy matter?

Colonoscopy is performed by specialists, specifically gastroenterologists. They undergo specialised training to carry out the procedure and diagnose various diseases skilfully.

The recommended quality colonoscopy is measured by the specialist’s detection of adenomatous polyps at least at a rate above 25% and a cecal intubation rate above 95%. This makes a significant difference in improving outcomes of detecting polyps and increasing diagnostic accuracy.

Cecal intubation rate refers to intubating the cecum whereby the colonoscope is passed through the ileocecal valve to examine the medial wall of the cecum. The rate is determined by the complete examination of the colon – incomplete coloscopies may be caused by poor bowel preparation, severe colitis or other reasons.

Adenoma detection rate (ADR) involves the proportions of patients over 50 years old who undergo screening colonoscopies for the first time in which at least one adenomatous polyp is detected in a given time period for a given specialist. ADR is a relevant quality indicator that is reported to be significantly associated with the risk of interval cancers or post-colonoscopy cancers, and directly measures how effective the colonoscopy that the gastroenterologist offer is.

Aside from proper bowel preparation to provide a clear view of potential problems, knowing the specialist’s ability to find polyps more often than others is crucial. It can mean the difference between detecting an early sign of colon cancer and missing it. A doctor’s effective removal in detecting and removing– pre-cancerous polyps gives patients added confidence to undergo the procedure and reduce the anxiety of potentially developing cancer.

Ultimately, the quality of colonoscopy will increase the colonoscopy value and lead to further decreases in the incidence and mortality of colon cancer. This is dependent on the level of experience and expertise of the gastroenterologist in conducting colonoscopies.


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June 26, 2019 Blog

Flatulence Symptoms

Abdominal pain is generally used to describe discomfort that originates from organs within the abdominal cavity, which includes the stomach, liver, small intestine, colon and gallbladder. The pain can be acute or chronic, and can be felt anywhere from below the ribs to the pelvis. It also ranges in intensity from a mild tummy ache to severe acute pain.

Where is the pain located?

Knowing the location of your abdominal pain is key to a proper diagnosis. It can be helpful in narrowing down what is the cause of the pain and any other symptoms that you are experiencing.

  • Upper right abdomen: Hepatitis, liver abscess, kidney stones, pancreatitis, gallbladder disease
  • Upper left abdomen: Gastritis, peptic ulcer, enlarged spleen, kidney stones, hepatitis
  • Lower right abdomen: Appendicitis, kidney stones, right ovary problems, Crohn’s disease
  • Lower left abdomen: Diverticulitis, kidney stones, ovarian cysts, ovarian torsion

In some cases, the abdominal pain you experience may not only occur on one side of your abdomen. If your upper abdomen is causing pain on both sides, it could be stomach issues such as gastritis, pancreatitis and stomach ulcers. For pain in the lower abdomen on both sides, it could be urinary tract infections, uterine fibroids or gynecologic problems.

Abdominal pain can have many potential causes, with some directly linked to the abdomen and others by a non-abdominal disease. When you visit a doctor for abdominal pain, they will ask a variety of questions and examine you carefully, and arrange for tests if necessary.

What are the characteristics of the pain?

Is the pain worse and aggravated by coughing, sneezing or any jarring motions? Does the pain last for no more than several hours or longer than a day? Is the pain sharp, dull, steady, constant or is it intermittent?

Aside from knowing the location of the pain, understanding other factors such as when does the pain occur and how long does it last, will be helpful for your doctor to gain a better understanding on your condition.

There may also be accompanying symptoms like flatulence, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, heartburn and pelvic discomfort.

How is the cause diagnosed?

Doctors will check on the physical signs, characteristic and accompanying systems and conduct a physical examination to pinpoint the source of the pain. This can include pressing different parts of the abdomen for tenderness, a rectal exam, and a pelvic exam.

Other tests may be ordered by the doctor if necessary, including ultrasound, X-ray, CT scan and endoscopy to help diagnose different conditions and diseases. When results are available, the doctor will discuss them with the patient as well as the appropriate treatment following the diagnosis.


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June 13, 2019 Blog

Fatty Liver Doctor Singapore, Gastroenterology Specialist Singapore

Our liver is vital to life and is the largest internal organ in the body. It performs many different functions for the body, including processing digested food and nutrients from the intestine, eliminating toxins from the bloodstream, and manufacturing proteins and enzymes responsible for the body’s chemical reactions. The complexity of the liver makes it susceptible to different diseases such as cirrhosis, hepatitis and fatty liver disease.

Liver disease is an important health issue; liver cancer is one of the most common cancer around the world. It is also a major cause of cancer-related deaths globally.

Benefits of consuming coffee

Studies have proven that having a cup of morning coffee might lower the risks of liver disease. Through epidemiological evidence, studies in patients who suffer from a variety of liver diseases have found that moderate coffee consumption brought a positive effect on limiting the progression rate of the disease.

In essence:

  • Moderate amounts of coffee consumption may help to lessen the risk of liver cancer, and the risk of developing liver cancer reduces as coffee consumption increases.
  • Patients with Hepatitis C who consumes more coffee, have a lower rate of disease progression as compared to those who drink lesser.
  • Drinking coffee moderately may also be related to a slower progression rate of chronic liver disease. Those who drink higher amounts of coffee were found to show a milder course of fibrosis, particularly in patients with alcohol-related liver disease.
  • Consumption of caffeine has been related to slower development of cirrhosis in patients who are scheduled to undergo liver biopsy.
  • The association between moderate consumption of coffee and a slower rate of fibrosis were also seen in patients with cirrhosis, fibrosis, Hepatitis C and non-alcohol related liver disease.

Aside from caffeine, several coffee components are also investigated for their benefits with the liver. Naturally-occurring compounds found in coffee, such as cafestol and kahweol, have revealed anti-carcinogenic properties, while caffeic acids and chlorogenic display anti-viral characteristics.

However you drink coffee, be it espresso, filtered or instant, you should keep in mind to avoid adding too much milk or sugar to prevent any other health complications. It is important to also remember that despite the fact that drinking coffee may provide benefits and reduce the risk of developing liver disease, as well as lower the progression risk for those who already suffer from some degree of liver damage.

The key messages for good liver health continue to be the same, such as reducing the amount of alcohol consumption, keeping to healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, doing regular exercises, and drinking plenty of water.

Cases of fatty liver is also on a rise among the younger population, where there is an abnormal accumulation of fats in the liver cells. It is prevalent in those with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. You can talk to a gastroenterology specialist in Singapore to address any health concerns regarding your liver.


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June 7, 2019 Blog

Constipation Symptoms, Diarrhoea Symptoms

Your digestive system includes the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas and colon, which means the symptoms of gastrointestinal can be all over the map. This means some medical concerns may need more specific attention and care than your primary care doctor typically provides. Gastroenterologists have additional specialised medication training and signification experience dealing with digestive and liver disorders. Seeing a specialist in gastroenterology can leave you more assured under experienced hands during procedures and a more accurate detection of concerns like polyps and cancer.

So, when do you need to see a gastroenterologist? Here are a few signs that it is time to book an appointment.

If you are experiencing any of the following common symptoms:

Conditions under the care of a gastroenterologist include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (including Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
  • Polyps
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Ulcers

A gastroenterologist is specially trained to treat and manage disorders and diseases of the digestive tract, starting from the esophagus to the anus. Getting your symptoms looked into and treated by a specialist is the best choice to receive the most up-to-date care for digestive conditions.

Diagnosis and Screening by a Gastroenterologist 

If you are at the age 50 or above, it is recommended to see a gastroenterologist for cancer screening. You’ll also be able to determine the best schedule of screening for you depending on your potential risk factors such as family history. Even though you do not have any symptoms or suspected diseases, undergoing such tests allow cancers to be detected earlier and have a higher chance of being treated more successfully. The certainty of a cure is higher when cancers are detected at an early stage and even reduce the risk of cancer development itself.

A specialist in gastroenterology will be able to perform medical procedures like colonoscopy to investigate symptoms and detection of cancers as well as carry out a biopsy.


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May 31, 2019 Blog

Gastroenterology Specialist Singapore

Do you know that your stomach is capable of eating itself due to the strong acid produce in your stomach? There is a thick protective mucus barrier which prevents that from happening, and without it, ulcers can form which leads to poor digestion and abdominal pain symptoms.

This jellylike substance also keeps the lining of your colon moist and lubricated. As such, experiencing a small amount of mucus in your stool is usually nothing worrying and it can appear clear, white or yellow. But when will the presence of mucus in your stool be a cause for concern?

Excess mucus in stool

The presence of large amounts of visible mucus in your stool might be a sign of a problem. Sometimes it can be accompanied by other symptoms, which could be indicative of an underlying problem that may be serious. Symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, cramping, changes in bowel movements or blood in stool can be present. You should talk to a gastroenterology specialist if you noticed an increase in the amount of mucus in stool.

Causes

Excess mucus in the stool may point towards a gastrointestinal (GI) problem. Changes in mucus level may lie in the mucosal layer in your intestines being broken down as a result of an inflammatory process. As such, mucus may be excreted with your stool. This will give pathogens inside your colon easier access to your body and increases your chance of potentially falling ill.

There are also other conditions that can be the cause of an increase in mucus levels, namely:

  • Cystic fibrosis

A genetic disorder that causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus, causing mucus buildup in liver, lung, and intestines which leads to breathing and digestive problems.

  • Crohn’s disease

An inflammatory bowel disease affecting the GI tract with symptoms like diarrhoea or fatigue.

  • Ulcerative colitis

Similar to Crohn’s disease, this inflammatory bowel disease affects the large intestine or colon with symptoms such as blood-stained mucus or stools containing mucus during bowel movements.

  • Intestinal infection

Infection from bacteria or food-borne GI illnesses can also lead to mucus in the stool, such as salmonella, which develops from consuming contaminated water or food.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

It is a common disorder that affects the normal function of the large intestine, and can increase the amount of mucus that appears in stool.

  • Malabsorption issues

There is a number of different disorders that can result in malabsorption issues, which is when the intestines are unable to absorb or digest certain essential nutrients. Some conditions related to malabsorption are chronic pancreatitis, certain cardiovascular problems and celiac disease.

  • Colon cancer

Also known as bowel cancer or rectal cancer, it begins at the rectum with symptoms including constipation, persistent diarrhoea or abdominal pain.

How to treat it

To treat the excess mucus, the doctor will need to diagnose and treat the underlying problems. Tests can be carried out including stool culture, colonoscopy, endoscopy and pelvic MRI scan to reach a diagnosis. Depending on the cause, lifestyle changes, prescription medications, surgical procedures or a combination of them will be necessary to help relieve or resolve the issue.

If you have recently been sick or taken antibiotics, you might also notice a change in your stool mucus levels. Seek medical attention from a gastroenterologist specialist if it persists after a few weeks and there are other symptoms of a GI problem.


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May 24, 2019 Blog

IBS Symptoms, Colonoscopy Treatment Singapore

What you put in your mouth plays a part in the internal environment of your gut, thus the foods you choose to eat are a crucial component in maintaining your gut health. Sugar-rich and heavily processed foods can leave your gut inflamed and prone to diseases, while whole foods can support your digestive health.

Superfoods offer essential nutrients and vitamins that can promote good health, and go a long way toward repairing any damage and healing your gut. They are also synergistic and work together to benefit your whole body.

Try incorporating the following superfoods into your meals and diet:

1. Eggs

Unlike previously reported, having moderate consumption of eggs will not give your high cholesterol. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, choline, iron and phosphorus. They also contain two potent antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin known to support eye health and protect vision.

There are many ways to prepare and consume eggs, such as omelettes, poached and baked goods. You can also hard-boil a batch of eggs for a quick on-the-go snack.

2. Berries

High in fiber, berries are also rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They also have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce sustained inflammation in the body caused by inadequate physical activity, unhealthy food choices and stress. Berries can be included in different types of diets and they are also low in calories.

Examples are strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and blueberries. You can add them to cereals, smoothies, yoghurts or eat them plain for a snack.

3. Garlic

A popular culinary ingredient, garlic has also been used for centuries for its medicinal benefits. It is a good source of vitamin B5, manganese, fiber, vitamin C and selenium. Garlic also increases your body’s immune function by promoting the growth of white cells, which helps combat sickness and lowers harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high blood pressure. In general, with its antioxidant, antibacterial and antivirus properties, garlic is good for keeping your body healthy.

4. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, kale and collard greens are an excellent source of nutrients including iron, fiber, zinc, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C. They also contain high levels of carotenoids, an anti-inflammatory compound that may protect against certain types of cancer. They have the potential to lower the risk of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

You can throw them in salads, or stir fry them with a little olive oil and herbs and seasonings for flavour. They can also be added to stews and soups.

5. Kefir

Fermented foods such as kefir are rich in probiotics and enzymes to promote a healthy bacterial balance for proper gut health. Probiotics are known to relieve symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and restore bacterial balance in the gut. Kefir also have several associated health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory effects, lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and improved digestion, as they contain B vitamins, protein, potassium and more.

6. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are packed in various plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect against oxidative stress. They are also rich in fiber and heart-healthy fats that may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Some common nuts and seeds include chia seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts and pistachios. You can add a handful to your yoghurt, cereal or oatmeal, or have it on its own as a snack. They make a great accompaniment to cooked vegetables and salads as well.

The list of superfoods is exhaustive thus good health is best supported by consuming a variety of nutritious foods daily. Try incorporating some of the foods mentioned as part of a balanced diet that is key towards overall health and disease prevention.

Certain foods such as carbonated drinks, dairy products, dried fruits and high-fiber foods can also trigger symptoms like rectal pain, abdominal pain and weight loss if you are suffering from digestive illnesses like ulcerative colitis. This disease causes inflammation and ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract and will require colonoscopy treatment to reduce its signs and symptoms.

If you have dietary concerns or wish to learn more about the suitability of certain foods for your health condition, you can consult with a dietitian or gastroenterology doctor in Singapore.


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