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Stomach Upset Common Among Olympian Athletes

photo of olympic athlete holding torch | GI NorthAs the Rio 2016 Olympics began, hundreds of athletes from around the world converged on Brazil’s most vibrant city. Although the athletes’ village was built and managed with strict guidelines, many people who temporarily lived and worked in this area became ill. They complained of an upset stomach, which usually points to food poisoning. However, there’s a lot more to this story than just some bad food. With the help of GI North, take a close look at why Olympian athletes may have felt discomfort as they enjoyed the games.

Stress and Digestion

As many medical blogs will advise you, stress directly contributes to your digestive health. A person with many worries will often have stomach upset that interrupts his or her lifestyle. In many cases, reducing the stress is the only way to stop the digestive issues. Ideally, you should work with your GI doctor and general practitioner so that you can tackle all of these issues head on. Olympian athletes probably faced similar stress situations as they competed for gold, silver and bronze.

Acid Reflux Possibilities

Some Olympian athletes may have had an ailment referred to as acid reflux. It’s possible to have this disorder and not realize it without a professional’s guidance. The sphincter that controls the connection between the stomach and esophagus may loosen at times. Acid is allowed into the esophagus, which creates the sensation of an upset stomach. There are some treatments for this ailment, but the best solutions are often eating at a slower pace and choosing non-spicy foods.

The Leaky Gut Diagnosis

Most researchers agree that the majority of athletes were dealing with an issue referred to as leaky gut. This ailment is defined by the stomach’s mucous membrane and how it functions. Leaky gut means that nutrients cannot pass through the gut and into the bloodstream. As a result, the person feels a stomachache. This issue is most common in athletes when they exercise in hot climates. Rio’s climate and the games themselves make a leaky gut a probable cause for most stomach upsets.

Dealing With Stomach Upset

An upset stomach is a frustrating experience, especially for active people at the Olympics. Allowing the body to return to normal is the only real way to combat an upset stomach. Try to exercise in a cooler area with plenty of water to drink. Try to stay on the BRAT diet. This limited diet is meant to calm the stomach with bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Other foods will need to be added to the diet, as the person feels better. Only time and a cooler atmosphere can reduce these unpleasant sensations.

If you’re concerned about your gastrointestinal system, contact GI North today. Both Dr. Quijano and Cofrancesco are pleased to serve the Cumming, GA, region. Dr. Quijano also speaks Spanish for your convenience. You can also visit them from other nearby towns, including Canton, Alpharetta, Suwanee and Roswell. When it comes to stomach upset, you want a solution as soon as possible. GI North can help you achieve a digestive balance.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

In honesty, the possibility of needing to have a colonoscopy can be bothersome. No matter how you view it, just the thought of having one can be scary. However, a colonoscopy is a very safe test that has a minimal of risks. In fact, research shows that the risk of complications is extremely low at about 0.35 percent. Nonetheless, the risks are a bit higher with a polypectomy (removal of a polyp) at approximately 6 percent.

When there are complications they can include bleeding, perforation, an infection, reaction to the anesthetic and postpolypectomy syndrome. But studies show, the more a patient knows about a procedure, the less scary it seems. For more information about overall testing see “Taking the Scary Out of Colonoscopy

Preparation

Many agree that the preparation of a colonoscopy is more difficult than the entire procedure. The good news is that once the prep is done, the rest of the procedure is easy. For the most part, preparation involves getting rid of the feces in the colon. However, the methods of preparation can differ. These vary from pills to taking liquids with or without an enema. But nonetheless, it is imperative that the bowels are cleaned out properly. That way the instruments can pass through the colon a lot easier and your physician can better examine for polyps or other irregularities. In addition, your physician or a specialist will know the best method of preparation for you.

How to Prepare

According to the Mayo Clinic, any residue in your colon can block a clear view of your colon and rectum during the exam. Your physician or a specialist may prescribe any of the following ways to empty the colon:

Laxatives – Your physician may recommend a laxative in liquid or pill form. Generally, the laxative is taken the night before your colonoscopy. Sometimes it is necessary to take the laxative the night before and the morning of the procedure.

Special Diet – Sometimes it is required that you sustain from solid foods the day before the exam. As well, drinks may be limited to only clear liquids such as plain water, broth and coffee or tea (without cream or milk). Also, red liquids need to be avoided because it can look like blood during the colonoscopy.

Enema Kits – Sometimes it is recommended that you use an over-the-counter enema kit to empty the colon. It is generally used the night prior to the exam or a few hours before the testing.

Adjusting Medications – It is best to remind your physician of the medications you take at least a week prior to the exam. This is especially important if you have heart problems, diabetes or high blood pressure or if you take supplements that contain iron. As well, make sure to tell your physician about aspirin or any other blood thinning medications that you take like rivaroxaban (Xarelto), clopidogrel (Plavix) or dabigatran (Pradaxa). Note: You may need to reduce or stop taking the medications briefly.

At GI North, Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano define the procedure and how it is utilized to identify and prevent colon cancer. In addition, GI North can help you lower the risks of developing colorectal cancer. For instance, it is recommended that you have your first colonoscopy at age 50. However, earlier screening is advised if you have the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Polyps
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • A change in bowel movements
  • A family or personal history of colon cancer
  • A history of known genetic inflammatory colon cancer bowel disease

Contact the professional staff at GI North if you feel you need a colonoscopy or you have personal questions or concerns. GI North serves the Cumming, GA area as well as the surrounding areas of Alpharetta, Canton, Roswell and Suwanee. In addition, Dr. Quijano speaks fluent Spanish.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

medical illustration showing a colonoscopy | GI NorthConferring to WebMD, a colonoscopy is a test that enables a physician to view the inner lining of your large intestine (colon and rectum). The test involves a colonoscope to allow inspection of the colon, which is a pliable and thin tube that is around 48 in. (125 cm) to 72 in. (183 cm) long. In fact, a physician can inspect the whole colon and the lower part of the small intestine with the use of the device.

Moreover, the test aids in finding tumors, ulcers, polyps and areas of bleeding or inflammation. The biopsy can involve collecting tissue and the removal of abnormal growths. As well, a colonoscopy can help with screening for cancer or pre-cancerous growths in the rectum or colon.

ASGE Quality Indicators

One of the chief priorities for the nation’s prominent gastrointestinal endoscopic healthcare association is identifying quality standards and defining measurements in administering colonoscopic care. As of late, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy or ASGE identified objective processes in relation to colonoscopy (April 2006). In fact, the measurements and guidelines greatly assist endoscopists with assessing and refining their performance.

Effective colonoscopy entails thorough and cautious mucosal inspection so that the cancer mortality is lowered and colon cancer is prevented. ASGE quality indicators are used to measure the performance of colonoscopy so that a better outcome is achieved. It also rates the level of evidence in support of each quality indicator. For the three stages of a colonoscopy there are quality indicators: Preprocedure, Intraprocedure and Postprocedure.

Preprocedure

The preprocedure quality indicators for colonoscopy include numerous concerns that impact the patient and endoscopic team. Prior to admin of insertion or sedation of the endoscope, these common issues are taken into consideration.

  • Correct Indications – Once information is obtained or the therapy delivered will help the patient, endoscopy is indicated.
  • Informed Consent – Consent and approval is first acquired and documented for the procedure. As well, analgesia and sedations are provided except in emergency situations. Approval and consent should include common complications such as perforation, bleeding, sedation-related complications and missed diagnosis.
  • Preparation – It is essential that there be impeccable documentation of the quality of the bowel preparation so that screening is successful. Measures for precision should include poor, fair and excellent.

Intraprocedure

The intraprocedure quality indicators are comprised of three main areas: Cecal intubation, detection of adenomas and withdrawal time.

Cecal intubation – The visualization of the cecum by noting the landmarks and the photo-documentation of landmarks should always be documented in each procedure. As well, the entire cecal caput that includes the medial wall of the cecum between the ileocecal valve and appendiceal orifice should be visible. The necessity for cecal intubation is established by the continual finding that contains a significant fraction of colorectal neoplasms located in the proximal colon as well as the cecum. Moreover, visualization of this area is vital for preventing colon cancer.

Detection of adenomas – Expertise is critical when it comes to the finding of adenomatous polyps (benign premalignant tumors) in asymptomatic patients that are undertaking screening colonoscopy. In fact, studies indicate that the colonoscopy discoveries by gastroenterologists and endoscopists are much more accurate that the tests done by non-gastroenterologists or interns. Plus, there is a top-quality examination of colonic distention, mucosa proximal to folds and flexures and superior cleaning of fluid and debris from the colon.

Withdrawal time – The total time spent inspecting the colon while removing the colonoscope can be a fitting quality indicator. Actually, longer times are connected with larger findings of neoplastic lesions. In fact, prevalence rates of adenomas in screening are greater than 25% in men and 15% in women over 50 years old. What is more, doctors who spend more than six minutes of withdrawal time had a much higher detection rate of adenomas compared to those who had less than a six minute average.

Other intraprocedure regions consist of patients going through ulcerative colitis, biopsy samples from patients with chronic diarrhea and Crohn’s disease analysis.

GI North

If you suspect that you may have any kind of colon issues it is always best to schedule an appointment with a specialist. In fact, you can set up a one-on-one appointment at GI North to talk over any specific treatment or procedure you may be contemplating. Both Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano are renowned for their expertise and experience. As well, Dr. Quijano fluently speaks Spanish.

GI North is located in Cumming, GA and also serves the surrounding areas: Alpharetta, Canton, Roswell and Suwanee.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

medical illustration showing a colon with polyps in it | GI NorthColorectal cancer screening highlights just how true it is that, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Consider for a moment that most health screening tests allow only for early detection. While this is an incredibly important process that provides the best chance at full recovery, colorectal cancer screening goes one step further. The technique used for this screening test allows both the detection and treatment of early stage colorectal lesions, thereby preventing their transition to cancer. Learning more about the screening process can help encourage participation, the only factor limiting the efficacy of this type of cancer screening.

Why do I need colorectal cancer screening?

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in America. The risk of developing this condition, sometimes referred to as bowel cancer, is increased by factors such as the presence of polyps in the colon or rectum, a family history of similar cancers and some genetic conditions. While awareness of risk factors is important for identifying patients who may need to start earlier colorectal cancer screening, this condition commonly occurs in many patients who had no known risk factors. Given the high prevalence rate, recommendations for screening state that everyone should receive a colonoscopy once every 10 years from the age of 50.

What should I expect during colorectal cancer screening?

The most effective screening tool for colorectal cancer is colonoscopy. This procedure allows quick, painless access to the areas most commonly affected by bowel cancer. Colonic polyps have been identified as very early stage lesions that can gradually develop into cancerous lesions. Any polyps discovered during the procedure can also be removed during colonoscopy, making the process one that includes detection, treatment and prevention.

For best results, patients are encouraged to follow instructions for colonoscopy preparation the day before the procedure. Just prior to the start of the procedure, patients receive a mild sedative. For most people, this means that after the medication has worn off, the colonoscopy is remembered a bit like a dream. This can help with any lingering fears, discomfort or embarrassment about the procedure. Recovery after colonoscopy includes letting the sedatives wear off and may include a sensation of bloating for about a day following the procedure.

Who can perform colorectal cancer screening?

While endoscopy is an instrument is widespread use, professionals who specialize in identifying the lesions associated with colorectal cancer are those best prepared to catch and treat these conditions early. The gastroenterology specialists at GI North are experts in the screening, diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the bowel. The GI North healthcare team led by Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano serves Cumming, Alpharetta, Roswell, Canton, Suwanee and the entire Atlanta metro area. Patients preferring health care services in Spanish are welcome to request Dr. Quijano. Find out today how GI North can make screening for one of the leading causes of cancer a welcome part of your healthcare routine.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

medical illustration showing colon cancer | GI NorthIn the past, colon cancer was most often found in people over 50 years of age. However, new studies show that colon cancer is on the rise in younger adults. According to WebMD, the disease has increased by more than 2% every year among those aged 20 to 34 and nearly half a percent annually among ages 35 to 49. Interestingly, rates declined by approximately 1 percent in people who are aged 50 or older. Moreover, research shows that the highest increases are with rectal cancers that are practically 4% each year. While, colon cancer rates increased nearly 3% each year.

Research Analysis

From 1975 through 2010, researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute analyzed numerous data. They discovered that the general colon cancer rate for Americans decreased by approximately 1 percent each year during that time. As well, the drop was similar in both men and women.

Age was most definitely a factor. For example, twenty years ago colorectal cancer was rarely found in people in their 20s, 30s or 40s. In addition, the research foretold that by 2020 and 2030; colon cancer rates will have jumped by around 38 percent and 90 percent, among people aged 20 to 34. As well, the rates are expected to drop by about 23 to 41 percent among people 50 years old and older.

Because of this drastic rise in colon cancer among the younger, there are many experts researching potential causes and external impacts like behavioral aspects and lack of screening. Other experts agree that lifestyle and diet plays a big factor in the rise of cancer in the colon. Unfortunately, many experts claim that there are no standardized recommendations for screening patients under 50 without risk factors.

With this in mind, it makes it difficult to diagnose cancer in the colon since there a few early signs of the disease. In truth, many patients who have existing symptoms are in the advanced stages of cancer. This definitely explains why there is a high rate in meager prognosis for younger patients who have many of the symptoms.

Moreover, many specialists state that they are unclear as to why there is a sudden surge in colon cancer among the young.

Knowing the Risk Factors

It is very common for people to be unfamiliar with the risk factors of the disease. This is why it is imperative that you discuss the possible risks with your physician or a specialist such as Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano at GI North located in the Cumming, GA area. Actually, it is important that all adults to consider early screening, especially if there are any risk factors.

And remember, colon cancer remains the third most common cancer in America. In fact, nearly 143,000 people were diagnosed with colon cancer. Additionally, studies show that there were close to 51,000 deaths from the disease.

Services and Screening

GI North offers a complete colonoscopy. Although this may sound a bit scary, the procedure is quite simple. Both Dr. Cofrancesco and Spanish speaking Dr. Quijano have years of experience and expertise. As well, GI North offers screening and other tests you can take to determine if you need a thorough colonoscopy. And for your convenience, GI North is located Cumming, GA and also serves Alpharetta, Canton, Roswell, Suwanee and beyond.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

We will be in our new space June 27, 2016

Widget for home pg GiNorthYou may not know that GI-North has grown! We’ve added additional staff, new nurses, and a new doctor. We’ve just outgrown our space!

We are proud to announce that we will be moving upstairs to Suite 4000 on June 27, 2016. The building location is the same – 1505 Northside Blvd., Suite 4000, Cumming, GA 30041.

We will continue to give our patients the same friendly service as before. The new location will allow us to provide more patients with the care they need.

We look forward to seeing you soon in our new office home!

 

What is a fatty liver condition?

medical illustration showing a healthy liver and one affected by fatty liver diseaseExcess fat in the hepatic cells leads to a condition known as fatty liver. Due to exceeding amounts of dietary fat, a person slowly builds up fatty tissue in his body. While the fat accumulation is a benign condition, it can gradually cause liver inflammation and possible scarring in the vital organ. A fatty liver disease can be a result of excess alcohol consumption or a progressive complex liver disease caused due to excess fat intake through diet.

How does a diet play an important role?

The fatty liver condition is strongly associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. When a person has obesity, he or she is more prone to a metabolic disorder due to insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. A combination of symptoms caused due to metabolic syndrome and poor diet can increase the risk of many chronic degenerative diseases in a person.

Can nutrition therapy help?

Studies on the effects of nutritional therapy on the metabolic syndrome conditions claim that an optimal diet plan can significantly improve a person’s health and prevent fatty liver diseases. A diet rich in whole grains, fresh vegetables, lean protein and lots of fluid can help a person in achieving weight loss through caloric restriction, recover from NAFLD and improve his overall health. Evidences from several medical studies also prove that dietary compositions can directly influence the development of a non-alcoholic fatty liver condition in a person. There’s evidence that nutrients from a good diet can decrease the levels of liver inflammation, improve insulin resistance and boost fat burning by using serum lipids.

Diet plans to prevent fatty liver:

1. Raw plant food:
Raw plant foods are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help a person in losing weight. When following a diet for fat reduction and weight loss, including raw vegetables and fruits in the diet is highly recommended. Because certain fruits and vegetables are low in sugar, they help in fighting insulin surge and metabolic disorders. Plus, a daily dose of high fiber helps in losing more fat eventually.

2. Cooked vegetables:
A portion of the meal should include different varieties of nutritious starchy and non-starchy vegetables. Instead of eating processed sugary foods, desserts and breads, include these cooked vegetables. These vegetables fulfill your total carbohydrate requirement for each day.

3. Lean protein:
The idea of including 1/3 of protein in your diet is always ideal to maintain your health and supply your body with essential amino acids. When it comes to choose the right proteins, stick to the lean protein varieties. Any seafood, poultry, eggs and legumes come under this category. Vegans and vegetarians can opt for a plant or dairy based protein supplement. Avoiding fried and broiled meat is good while following this diet plan for preventing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

A professional approach to treat your existing metabolic and gastrointestinal problems is always advised. At GI North, patients will be able to learn, understand and treat their metabolic and gastrointestinal problems. Experienced GI North gastroenterology specialists, Simon R. Cofrancesco and bilingual Dr. Sergio Quijano offer an easy and effective care plan for each patient with digestive problems. From diagnosis to advanced technological care and custom treatment plans to dietary changes, patients can expect to find world-class treatment and individualized attention from both Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano at GI North. While the office is located at Cumming in north Georgia, the center also serves many patients from Alpharetta, Dahlonega, Dawsonville, Duluth and Johns Creek, Milton, Suwanee, and Canton.

Reference:

A Liver Cleansing Diet Menu: Eat for Good Health

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

What Exactly is an Adenoma?

photo of keyboard with a button for colon polyps | AdenomasAn adenoma is a tumor that is benign, not cancerous and is comprised of epithelial tissue, which is the thin layer of tissue that covers organs, glands and other internal body structures. An adenoma has glandular characteristics and can grow from many different glandular organs such as the thyroid, prostate, pituitary gland, adrenal gland and others.

These benign tumors can be formed from the small intestine, the stomach, the colon, salivary and sebaceous glands. While it is possible for benign adenomas to become cancerous, it is atypical and most adenomas remain benign. But even benign adenomas possess the potential to create health problems by putting pressure on internal systems and producing large amounts of unregulated hormones. Even adenomas that are too small to be detected by sight can still clause clinical symptoms to occur.

Here at GI North, gastroenterologists Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano are highly experienced in routinely removing adenomas or adenomatous polyps from the colon during colonoscopy procedures and deciding on a course of treatment. Since common adenomas develop at rates that are predictable, the most common response to them is to remove them with surgery and regularly monitor the patient for any indication of further growths.

The ADR (adenoma detection rate) in colonoscopies has become increasingly important, since these routine procedures are used to remove both benign adenomas and more suspicious growths. It’s difficult to find current statistics pertaining to the results of detecting and removing adenomas during colonoscopies. But there are some numbers and facts that provide important information to you and your physicians about colonoscopies and adenomas.

The ADR is the percentage of patients over 50 years old who are undergoing a colonoscopy screening test for the first time and who have one or more adenomas found and removed during the procedure. Colorectal cancer will be present in approximately 5% of adenomas removed from the colon. Size is a reliable indicator of potential problems, since adenomatous polyps that are smaller than one centimeter (between 1/3 and 1/2 inch) have just over a 1% chance of being malignant, while adenomas over 2cm (slightly over ¾”) have up to 40% chance of being found malignant. According to a Cleveland Clinic study published in 2004, almost 40% of Americans 50 years and older harbor adenomatous polyps, but it is estimated that only 2% of adenomas will progress to cancer.

GI North is located in Cumming, GA, and serves the entire area including Dahlonega, Dawsonville, Alpharetta, Suwanee, Canton, Duluth, and Johns Creek. Dr. Simon Cofrancesco, Dr. Sergio Quijano, and their staff are committed to providing the best care possible to their patients. Dr. Quijano is fluent in Spanish, which helps makes the practice accessible to many residents of north Georgia.

Here at GI North, we pride ourselves on providing our patients with the most up-to-date tests and treatments for adenomas and accompanying issues. Anyone should feel confident here, knowing that they will be treated not only with the latest technological advancements, but with caring, personalized attention from the doctors and the staff.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

medical illustration of a Hiatus Hernia | GI North | Cumming, GOne of the most overlooked causes of discomfort and pain is a hiatal hernia. This is because the symptoms are similar to other health ailments. The condition induces a variety of symptoms like indigestion, bloating, acid reflux, pains in the chest and abdominal gas. However, other reasons for these same complaints can be caused by enzyme problems and/or ones diet.

In addition, hiatal hernias do not always show any symptoms, especially if they are small in size. Nevertheless, large ones can show numerous signs like belching, heartburn and chest pain. What is more, it is more common for people who smoke, are overweight or over the age of 50 to get a hiatal hernia. However, it is not unheard of for children to be born with it (congenital). In fact, according to Medline Plus, hiatal hernias often happen with gastroesophageal reflux in infants.

Possible Causes

The precise cause of hiatal hernias is still unknown. However, the condition generally occurs when the stomach bulges through the diaphragm due to weakened muscle tissues. As well, the condition may cause a backflow (reflux) of gastric acid from the stomach to enter the esophagus. In result, many of the symptoms start arising.
In addition, many specialists believe that a hiatal hernia can be caused by other factors such as:

  • Injury to the surrounding area
  • Being born with an abnormally large hiatus
  • Intense and constant pressure on the surrounding muscles like when you cough; lift heavy objects, strain during a bowel movement or vomit.

Different Types

There are various types of hiatal hernias that can range in severity. The most common type is sliding hiatal hernias. In fact, in accordance to Medicine Net, this type accounts for 95% of all hiatal hernias. But, it is not known how often the condition occurs in the general population. With this type, a part of the stomach and the GE junction slide upwards in the space between the lungs and the chest known as the mediastinum. Additionally, this type of hernia is more bulbous during stimulus or when there is action such as the diaphragm contracting and descending or when the esophagus is shortened during swallowing.

Another type of hiatal hernias is the paraesophageal hernia. This type of hernia is quite uncommon. It generally occurs when the gap in the phrenoesophageal membrane is bigger. As well, a large part of the stomach herniates into the chest beside the esophagus and remains there. However, the GE junction stays below the diaphragm.

In a paraesophageal hernia, the space within the phrenoesophageal membrane is larger than normal. In addition, the GE junction is still below the diaphragm but much of the stomach herniates into the chest alongside the esophagus and stays there.

Additionally, both sliding and paraesophageal hiatal hernias can occur in combination. This is when diaphragm becomes bigger and the GE junction and more of the stomach herniates and shifts into the chest.

Seeking Professional Advice

If you suspect that you have a hiatal hernia, if you have prolonged or new symptoms, it is best to seek professional advice. At GI North, gastroenterologists Dr. Cofrancesco, Dr. Quijano and their professional staff are committed to providing all patients with outstanding care. Together, each physician brings years of experience, specializing in the diagnoses and treatment of digestive issues. As well, Dr. Quijano speaks fluent Spanish. And for your convenience, GI North serves Cumming as well as the surrounding areas of Alpharetta, Canton, Dahlonega, Duluth and Canton, Dawsonville, Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell and Suwanee.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

Chronic digestive problems can be caused by infection, stress, bacteria in food and medications. But the bottom line is if you suffer from upset stomach, gas and sudden attacks of diarrhea, if you feel like your entire life is scheduled around the proximity of bathrooms, it’s time to have a doctor evaluate you and recommend a course of treatment to help you reduce or get rid of the problem.

What You Eat

Keep a daily journal that lists the food, beverages and medications you take every day and record any reaction you notice. If you’re like most people, it won’t take long to hone in on the culprits. Some of the most common triggers are spicy foods, fried foods, beans, dairy products, coffee and citrus fruits.

How You Eat

Make sure you are eating a balanced diet. Focus on making your portions smaller, and eat five or six small meals daily instead of eating three big meals a day, which can cause cramping and bowel contractions. Increase fiber intake, but start slowly and build up because too much fiber can actually cause digestive issues.

Managing Stress

To help manage the anxiety and stress that contribute to digestive problems, try meditation or tai chi, gardening, walking and deep breathing. If there’s a situation that you are having real trouble with, talk to a therapist.

Prevention Magazine explains, “When the brain detects any kind of threat—whether an impending layoff or a dustup with your spouse—it shoots stress hormones to your gut. Sensory nerves there respond by adjusting acid secretion and shutting down both appetite and digestion—a throwback to more dangerous times in our past. . . The result may be a nagging stomachache or a full-blown bout of GI distress.”

Stay Hydrated

We all know water is good for us, and staying hydrated is necessary for all parts of your system including normal bowel function. Diarrhea can dehydrate the body badly, so if you are struck with a bout, be sure to replenish your body with water or sports drinks with electrolytes. Avoid caffeine and alcohol; if you are traveling, use bottled water only for drinking and brushing your teeth and try to avoid raw vegetables and fruit which has been rinsed in tap water and tea or coffee that has been made with it.

Be Prepared

Reduce your anxiety by being prepared for an emergency. Pack small travel bags with stomach soothing medication, wipes, extra underwear, and plastic bags for disposal. Keep one at home, one in the car, one at work or school, etc.

Digestive problems are more common than you may think, so if your life is being ruled by your digestive tract, it might be time to make an appointment with one of the gastroenterologists at GI North in Cumming, GA. GI North serves all of northern Georgia including Alpharetta, Suwanee, Roswell, Canton and beyond and specializes in diagnosing and treating digestive issues using the latest technological advances and treatment. Dr. Simon Cofrancesco, Dr. Sergio Quijano (who is fluent in Spanish) and the staff at GI North bring care, respect and a wealth of knowledge to these difficult problems.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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