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+(404) 446-0600



Suite 290 Cumming, GA 30040

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GI-North  >  FAQ


There is never a wrong questions when it comes to your health. At GI North, our goal is to answer all of your questions before you ever step into our office. Your full understanding and knowledge is important. Below are some frequently asked questions we receive on a daily basis.

a When should you visit a gastroenterologist?

People often attribute stomach problems to stress, aging, or a diet filled with rich foods. However, stomach pains or digestive issues should never be brushed aside and dismissed as normal. The reality is that any symptoms you’re experiencing could be signs that something is wrong with your digestive system.

a What are the reasons why people visit a gastroenterologist?

People of all ages can benefit from visiting a gastroenterologist, especially if there are questions regarding digestive health. You may want to book a visit yourself, whether you’ve been managing a digestive disorder for years, or you’re experiencing new symptoms that have you feeling concerned. Here’s a look at the common reasons why people often come to see Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano here at GI North.

a What are the benefits of a FODMAP Diet?

Oftentimes a professional gastroenterologist will recommend the FODMAP diet for people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, or digestive issues like bloating and gas. The diet limits carbohydrates that are fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols. For the most part, the majority of people do not have an issue with FODMAPs unless too many are consumed. However, some people are sensitive to them, and this diet can alleviate discomfort.

a Am I at risk for gastroparesis?

Although there has been numerous research done, specialist do not know the exact cause of delayed gastric emptying. However, it is believed to be linked to nerve signals in the stomach that may be disrupted. It is thought that the vagus nerve may be damaged. The vagus nerve regulates the movement of food through the digestive tract. If the nerve becomes damaged, it may cause slow digestion or even no digestion at all.

a What is Microscopy?

Microscopy generally refers to the use of magnifying devices in order to examine objects otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Although the first microscopes were invented more than 400 years ago, the full range of their use continues to evolve even today. The simplest microscopes resemble small telescopes with mirrors positioned between two curved lenses. With more advanced devices, such as the scanning electron microscope, smaller and smaller objects have become visible with ever greater clarity.

a How do you get deadly diarrhea?

One of the most important risk factors for the development of C. difficile diarrhea is the use of antibiotics. Due to the loss of competition from “friendly bacteria” in the gut that are wiped out by antibiotic use, infectious bacteria such as Clostridium difficile are able to replicate unchecked in the bowel and cause infection. Most people who develop antibiotic-associated C. difficile colitis will notice the onset of symptoms within a month after initiation of antibiotic treatment.

a What can i do about gas when I'm pregnant?

Do some daily exercise to speed up your digestion and help things move along. Before beginning any exercise plan, however, first consult with your physician. You can do something as simple as taking a walk every day or take an exercise class at a gym that is safe for someone who is pregnant.

Tweak your diet a bit. Certain foods are known to trigger gas whether you’re pregnant or not. Watch out for the foods that cause you gas and try to stay away from them.

a How does one treat a bleeding ulcer?

Gastric ulcers are open sores located in your stomach. Duodenal ulcers are found in the upper section of your small intestine. Both types of ulcers can cause heartburn and stomach pain, but they can become more dangerous if they begin to bleed.

a Am I at risk of getting anal cancer?

Risk factors increase the chance of getting cancer. Not everyone who develops cancer had specific risk factors, nor does everyone with risk factors develop cancer. While this may inspire some to take chances with risk factors for cancer, a gamble on health is not a bet worth taking.

An important risk factor in the development of anal cancer is infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). This is the same virus that causes cervical cancer in women, placing women with cancer of the cervix at an increased risk for also developing cancer of the anus. HPV can also cause cancer of the vagina, vulva, penis, and throat.

a What are hemorrhoids and what causes them?

Hemorrhoids, or piles, are swollen veins in the lower part of the anus and rectum. A more severe case is when the blood vessel walls are stretched so thin that the veins become irritated and bulge, especially when relieving the bowels.

a Can stress affect my digestive system?

Anyone who has ever felt butterflies in their stomach or felt their stomach tied in knots knows that stress affects digestion. Many people can’t eat when stressed, while others tend to overeat. Some are running to the bathroom while others find using the bathroom increasingly difficult. Even low levels of stress can cause issues for the digestive system, as the brain cannot easily run digestion while under duress.

a What is the goal in screening for colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer screening highlights the importance of the adage, “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.

a What is normal regularity?

One of the most challenging topics to discuss is bowel movements, even with your doctor. However, changes in bowel movements can be a sign of health issues. But before you start worrying, it is important to define normal regularity. Since regularity is unique to every individual, there are many variables to consider. In fact, what is normal for one person may not be normal for another.

a Am I eating enough protien?

Protein is a prerequisite for optimum health. You need it to maintain healthy bones, muscle and blood. Proteins are even more important during puberty, childhood, and pregnancy.

a What is a gastroenterologist?

Among the seemingly endless medical specialties, gastroenterology may sound like just another long, confusing name. If referred to a gastroenterologist, there’s no need to be in the dark. Learn what it takes to become a gastroenterologist, what conditions they treat and procedures they perform, and why a patient might be referred to one.

a Can a colonoscopy save you from cancer?

Colonoscopy is important for your health because it prevents colorectal cancer. A 2012 study published in the New England Journal showed that removal of polyps can prevent death from colorectal cancer. Prior to the study, it wasn’t fully known whether polyp removal prevented deaths or not. Now data shows that colonoscopies and the subsequent removal of polyps can prevent cancer deaths.

a What is Cologuard?

You may have recently heard about a new colon cancer test called Cologuard® that is being used at many gastroenterology practices throughout the U.S. Cologuard is a non-invasive colon cancer screening test for adults 50 years or older who are at average risk for colon cancer. It’s important to understand that Cologuard detects cancerous cells, but does not provide any preventive measures, such as polyp detection, that could progress into cancer over time. Cologuard is not for everyone and many physicians are of the opinion that it cannot and should not take the place of a colonoscopy procedure.

a Why polyps are such a big deal?

Colon polyps are cellular clumps that form in the colon’s lining. They form because of abnormal cell growth and create more than the number of cells needed by the large intestine. Although most polyps are benign (not cancer), these growths can develop into malignant tumors if they aren’t removed. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that regular diagnostic tests are one of the most important ways to protect yourself from colon polyp growth. Indeed, the best way to avoid colon cancer is to receive regular colon screening tests and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

a Why should patients not self-treat GERD?

Some people may experience nausea for a number of reasons including infection, pregnancy, food poisoning, and medication use. Nausea can vary from being slightly unpleasant and uncomfortable to something that seriously disrupts your everyday lifestyle.

Acid reflux is an irritating symptom and can be a primary cause of nausea. In some cases, the condition can get quite serious and lead to other health complications, which is precisely why patients should never try to self-treat GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), a chronic digestive disorder produced from frequent stomach acid back flow. These sometimes-serious symptoms should only be treated under the supervision of a doctor who can readily identify the key symptoms and therefore help you prevent developing acid reflux-related nausea.

a What causes starry liver, or granulomas?

Granulomas, either calcified or uncalcified spots on the liver, may be identified during imaging studies of the patient’s liver and/or spleen ultrasound test, CT, or MRI scans. Because the liver usually maintains a uniform appearance on such imaging studies, the doctor easily identifies spots that are visually different from the rest of the liver’s tissue. GI North, a board-certified gastroenterology practice, supports patients’ digestive health and well-being.

a How do you give your metabolism a boost?

As you likely already know, boosting your metabolism can make weight loss easier, quicker, and less painless. Unfortunately, the speed of your metabolism is largely determined by gender and genetics, as well as age. While you can’t do anything about these three factors, there are still some things you can do to give a boost to your metabolism.

a How do you get your GI tract healthy again?

We put our bodies through a lot of stress sometimes, and most of the time, our body is good at telling us when we’ve put it through the ringer. Our gut is no different. When we don’t eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle in general, our digestive system can get out-of-whack. Here are some quick tips on keeping your GI tract’s balance.

a Why do I need an upper endoscopy?

We all have had to deal with digestive issues at some point in our life. Typically, these incidents are not very serious and can be managed with natural home-based remedies or over-the-counter medications.

However, if you are having symptoms that have been lasting for a week or more, it is time to see a physician. Symptoms such as upper abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting of material that resembles coffee grounds, and weakness and fatigue could indicate a serious condition that requires you to be seen by a gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. He or she will do an evaluation of your upper GI tract with a procedure known as an upper endoscopy.

a Is colon cleansing a waste?

The answer is yes and no. Some medical procedures, such as a colonoscopy, may require a cleansing beforehand. That’s between you and your doctor. However, having your colon flushed out as a way to detox the body isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Read more before jumping on the colon cleansing bandwagon.

a Can exercise ease my irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Physical activity may ease your Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms and also prevent them from getting worse. IBS is marked by daily symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, and either diarrhea, constipation, or both. While anxiety, stress, and depression do not cause IBS, there is a correlation between the two. If stress causes IBS symptoms to worsen, then reducing stress can keep symptoms at bay.

Clinic & Endo Hours

GI North is conveniently located in Cumming, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, GA. If you have any problems locating GI North, please give us a call at (404) 446-0600 and we will be happy to assist you.

Monday: C: 8am - 5pm E: 7am - 4pm
Tuesday: C: 8am - 5pm E: 7am - 4pm
Wednesday: C: 8am - 5pm E: 7am - 4pm
Thursday: C: 8am - 5pm E: 7am - 4pm
Friday: C: 8am - 5pm E: 7am - 4pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

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