Many cases of colon cancer start out as a small growth or polyp that develops in the lining of the intestines or rectum. While the majority of polyps are benign, some can turn out to be cancerous if they aren’t removed. If detected early, polyps are extremely treatable—however, most people won’t experience any noticeable polyp symptoms. This is why it’s so important to turn to our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists, Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala, to get a colonoscopy, even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms. Read on to learn more.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is one of the most effective screening and diagnostic tools that we have to look for early warning signs of colon cancer and other issues. This procedure allows our Clearwater, FL, intestinal doctor to examine the lining of the large intestines (aka: the colon) and rectum to look for bleeding, polyps, and other issues.
It’s also one of the best tools that a doctor has to be able to reduce your risk for colon cancer by not only detecting the polyps, but also by removing them. This procedure is performed in-office, under sedation, and only takes about 30 minutes to complete. If polyps are found and removed, a colonoscopy can take up to one hour.
What are the symptoms that may warrant a colonoscopy?
Colon cancer rarely causes symptoms, especially in the beginning stages. However, there are some cases where symptoms point to the need for a colonoscopy, including:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bowel problems
- Abdominal pain
- Symptoms of intestinal bleeding
Who needs a colonoscopy?
All men and women should start getting colonoscopies by the time they turn 50 years old, while those who are at an increased risk of polyps, colorectal cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), may need to get a colonoscopy sooner.
If your first colonoscopy comes back normal, then you may not need to get another one for 10 years. Those with polyps or other issues may need to come in for routine colonoscopy every 5-8 years.
Is it time to schedule a colonoscopy? If so, call Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, today at (727) 462-0444 to arrange a consultation with us.
Have questions about colorectal cancer? We’re here to help.
Whether someone you know has just been diagnosed with colorectal cancer or you have been told that it’s time to start getting routine colonoscopies, there are many reasons that people turn to our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala. Have questions about colorectal cancer? We are here to answer them.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
While colorectal cancer may not always cause symptoms until more advanced stages, signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- Changes in your bowels (diarrhea or constipation)
- Blood in stool or rectal bleeding
- Persistent abdominal cramping or gas
- Feeling as if your bowels don’t completely empty
- Narrow stools
- Unexplained weight loss
While these symptoms can be caused by far less severe conditions such as IBS or hemorrhoids, it is important that you talk with your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing.
What are the risk factors?
Colorectal cancer is more likely to occur in men and women over the age of 50 years old, which is why it’s important to see your Clearwater, FL, GI doctor for a colonoscopy around the age of 50. Other risk factors include:
- A family history of colorectal cancer
- A personal or family history of colon polyps
- Inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis)
- Being obese
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Poor diet
While you can’t change genetics you can change your lifestyle, which can go a long way to reducing your risk for colon cancer. Even small changes such as improving your diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking can greatly benefit your health for the long term.
When should I start getting routine colonoscopies?
Starting at age 50, men and women should schedule their first colonoscopy. If you are at an increased risk for colon cancer you will want to talk with your gastroenterologist about whether you should get screened earlier. A colonoscopy is the very best tool for detecting and removing colon polyps as well as detecting colon cancer. Even if you aren’t at risk for colorectal cancer you should still get screened.
How long does a colonoscopy take?
A colonoscopy only takes about 15 to 30 minutes. It may take longer if we find polyps that need to be removed. During a colonoscopy you will be under IV sedation and anesthesia.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
Once the sedation has taken effect your gastroenterologist will guide a thin tube with a camera at the end into the rectum (this tube is known as a colonoscope). Your doctor will guide the colonoscope through the large intestines to look for polyps or other suspicious growths or tissue. If everything looks good you may not need another colonoscopy for 10 years.
If you just turned 50 years old and you are living in Clearwater, FL, then it’s time to schedule a colonoscopy. Invest in your health. Call Advanced Digestive Care today.
Find out when it’s time to turn to a doctor to handle your heartburn symptoms.
We all deal with heartburn every once in a while. Maybe it was that spicy bowl of chili that did you in or too much champagne on NYE. We’ve all been there; however, if your heartburn is frequent and affecting your life then it’s time to turn to our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala to find out what you can do to get your heartburn under control.
Treating Your Heartburn on Your Own
If this is the first time you’re dealing with heartburn then you may not immediately call up your doctor for help. Most people try an over-the-counter antacid to get their heartburn under control. If this works for you, great! However, if you find yourself turning to antacids a couple times of week or if the medication isn’t getting your occasional heartburn under control then it’s time to schedule an appointment with our Clearwater, FL, digestive doctor.
Seeing a Doctor for Heartburn
If you are experiencing heartburn frequently it’s important that you turn to a doctor for a diagnosis, as your symptoms could be indicative of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can damage tissue in the esophagus if left untreated. Warning signs of GERD include:
- Heartburn (a burning in the chest)
- Trouble swallowing
- Feeling like there is a lump in your throat
- Regurgitation of food and stomach acid
In order to diagnose your heartburn we will discuss the symptoms you are having and ask you a series of questions about your symptoms. If we suspect that your heartburn may be the result of GERD then we may recommend that you get an X-ray or an endoscopy, which will allow us to examine the esophagus and the stomach to check for any damage. Sometimes an acid probe test is performed to be able to see when and how severely acid backs up into the esophagus. From there we can make a definitive diagnosis as to whether or not you have GERD.
If you do have GERD you’ll be happy to hear that there are several ways to treat this problem, from simple lifestyle changes to prescription medications. Lifestyle changes include:
- Eating smaller meals more frequently
- Not eating for 2-3 hours before bed
- Not lying down after eating
- Avoiding acidic, spicy, and fried foods, as well as coffee and alcohol
- Elevating your head while sleeping
- Quitting or avoiding smoking
Antacids can be taken either before mealtimes or as you start to notice symptoms. Common antacids include:
- Histamine H2 antagonists
- H2 blocks
- Proton pump inhibitors
These medications work either by reducing excess stomach acid or by preventing the production of stomach acid to heal damaged tissue and reduce heartburn symptoms.
Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, provides comprehensive gastrointestinal treatments to patients of all ages. Has heartburn left you dreading food? If you said “yes’ then it’s time to turn to us for answers.
How your gastroenterologists in Clearwater, Florida can help you feel better
Does your stomach hurt? The fact is, stomach pain is a common problem, and it may go away on its own. But what if you’ve had stomach pain for a long time, or it keeps coming back? You need to find out what’s causing your stomach pain and your gastroenterologist can help. The doctors at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, Florida Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala can help with stomach pain and other gastrointestinal issues.
So, how do you know if you should see a gastroenterologist? There are some definite signs and symptoms you should pay attention to, including if you:
- Have a fever over 101 degrees
- Have blood in your stools
- Are vomiting blood
- Notice yellowing of your skin or eyes
- Have abdominal swelling
- Have uncontrollable pain
Your gastroenterologist will determine what is causing your stomach pain and then formulate a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and treat the underlying condition. Some of the medical conditions which can cause stomach pain include:
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
- Chronic constipation
- Lactose intolerance
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis
You can try a few simple tips to help prevent and relieve stomach pain, including:
- Eating a bland diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT) for a few days
- Sipping tiny amounts of lemon or lime juice
- Eating smaller amounts of food, more slowly
- Drinking licorice or chamomile tea
- Medications and antacids such as Zantac or Pepto-Bismol
To ease your stomach, it is important to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking aspirin or NSAID medications until your gastroenterologist determines what is causing your stomach pain, because these habits can make stomach pain worse.
Don’t ignore your stomach pain. Help from your gastroenterologist is just a phone call away. Just pick up your phone and call the doctors at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, Florida. Call today and feel better soon!
Understanding what causes colorectal cancer could instill healthy, preventive habits.
Did you know that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both US men and women? Despite this, not many people are knowledgeable about colorectal cancer and its risk factors. Read below to find out when you should turn to our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists, Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala, for care.
The Causes of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer develops because of changes and damage to the DNA of healthy cells, which cause them to turn cancerous. Although it’s not entirely clear what causes colon cancer, there are certain risk factors that can predispose you to developing colon cancer during your lifetime. These risk factors include,
- Certain genetic conditions (e.g. familial adenomatous polyposis)
- A low-fiber, high-fat diet
- Older age
- Being African American
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- A family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- A personal history with polyps
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Heavy alcohol consumption
If you have one or more risk factors it’s important that you talk to our Clearwater, FL, GI doctors about ways to keep yourself healthy and to reduce your risk, whenever possible.
Treating Colon Cancer
If colon cancer is detected, your doctor will need to determine how far along the cancer is before deciding the best treatment option. If you are dealing with early-stage colon cancer, removing the polyp during a simple colonoscopy may be all that’s needed. Sometimes, laparoscopic surgery will be necessary if the polyp cannot be removed during a colonoscopy.
Those with more invasive types of colon cancer may require surgery to remove the cancerous parts of the colon. In some cases, a patient may require an ostomy to help eliminate waste for the long term. Advanced colon cancer will require some form of chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted drug therapy to kill the cancer cells.
Preventing Colon Cancer
There are ways to prevent colon cancer. As you may have noticed, some of the risk factors are habits that can easily be changed. Some of those habits include,
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Eating a healthier diet
- Losing excess weight
- Leading a more active lifestyle
Another way to protect your colon health is through routine colonoscopies. Men and women who are 50 years old or older should start getting this screening right away.
Contact Us Today!
If you are experiencing any GI symptoms that aren’t going away then it’s a good time to turn to the medical professionals at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, for a consultation. We provide comprehensive gastrointestinal care to patients of all ages. Call us today at (727) 462-0444!
The best way to avoid colon cancer is by visiting your Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists, Drs. Umesh Choudhry and Gourisankar Degala.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is when your doctor examines the lining of your intestines. They check for abnormalities, like polyps, using a thin flexible tube that's inserted into the anus. The instrument allows your doctor to see what's in the lining on a monitor.
Why do you need a colonoscopy?
A routine visit to your doctor for a colonoscopy is how most people detect cancer during its earliest stages. Board-certified physicians want their patients to schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy, as soon as possible.
Adults aged 50 to 75 are recommended to visit their gastroenterologist on a regular basis, according to the CDC. Colorectal cancer usually begins as a small polyp in the colon.
At first, the polyps aren't cancerous but may develop cancer over time. If you take the proper precautions of screening and keeping an eye out for symptoms, cancer can be treated or prevented.
What are symptoms of colon cancer?
Colon cancer affects thousands of Americans. According to the American Cancer Society's statistics, more than 95,000 people were diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016.
Symptoms aren't always obvious, so keep an eye out for the following, according to your Clearwater doctors:
- Changes in Bowel Habits: If you are suffering from Colon constipation, or diarrhea, for more than four weeks, that may be a sign of cancer.
- Bloody Stool: Hemorrhoids are usually accompanied by blood in stool, but may also be a sign of a more serious condition like cancer.
- Incomplete Evacuation: If there are constant bowel movements, even if you've just had a bowel movement, then you need to contact your doctor.
Need a consultation?
If you would like more information on colonoscopies and screening procedures, you can contact the doctors at Gastrointestinal Specialists. If you are in Clearwater, FL, call your gastroenterologists, Drs. Umesh Choudhry and Gourisankar Degala to schedule an appointment today!
Find out what is causing your stomach pain so you can get back to your life.
There is nothing worse than having a wonderful day ruined by an upset stomach. Of course, if this is something that’s happening rather frequently you may be a bit concerned. Our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists, Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala, are here to tell you what might be happening and when you should visit a doctor about your stomach pain.
The most common causes of stomach/abdominal pain include:
- Food allergies/sensitivities (the most common food allergies include nuts, shellfish, dairy, soy, wheat, and eggs)
- Irritable bowel disease (this includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
- Food poisoning
- Gastroenteritis (often referred to as the “stomach flu”, even though it is not to be confused with the influenza virus)
Other less common causes of stomach pain include:
- Kidney stones
- Endometriosis (causes lower abdominal pain)
- Appendicitis (causes lower right abdominal pain; requires immediate medical attention)
- A hernia
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
When to See a Doctor
You will want to head to your local ER if your abdominal pain is severe or doesn’t go away, or if your stomach pain is also accompanied by chest pain. You should also seek immediate medical attention if your stomach discomfort is accompanied by blood in your vomit, persistent vomiting, yellow skin, swollen stomach, or if you are pregnant.
You will want to call our Clearwater GI doctor as soon as possible if you have abdominal pain and you also:
- Have a fever
- Haven’t kept food down in two days
- Are dehydrated
- Can’t defecate
- Have pain with urination
- Have tenderness in the abdominal area
When you come in for an evaluation we will need to ask you a series of questions regarding your symptoms. This is one way to help us determine the best diagnostic tests to perform based on what we believe is going on. It’s important to rule out other causes since there are many conditions, injuries, and other factors that can cause stomach pain. The sooner we are able to determine the root cause the better.
Medications, lifestyle modifications and sometimes certain medical procedures or surgeries will be required to handle your symptoms depending on what's going on. We will walk you through your detailed treatment plan once we have diagnosed the cause of your stomach pain so you understand what you need to do to get rid of your discomfort.
Don’t let stomach pain dictate your life. We know you have better things to worry about, so let the gastrointestinal specialists at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, help you figure out what’s going on so that you can get the relief you finally deserve.
If you have ever experienced heartburn, you may know that it can be a frustrating and annoying condition that can cause you to question the foods you eat. However, this condition is often mild and not a cause for concern. Knowing when heartburn becomes a problem, what causes it, and when you should see your doctor can help you understand this condition and its treatments. Find out more about heartburn with Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar (Shankar) Degala at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is a condition affecting the esophagus, which is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. Heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach, which has a special lining to protect it from the substance, refluxes up into the esophagus, which does not have a protective lining. This can cause a burning sensation, difficulty swallowing, coughing, regurgitation of liquids or food into the throat, hoarseness, or a long-term sore throat.
What causes heartburn?
Heartburn can come from various root causes. Often, heartburn has to do with what goes into the stomach, with caffeine, certain medications, carbonated beverages, chocolate, alcohol, and acidic foods or drinks being the most common risk factors. Smoking, a high-fat diet, obesity, and certain conditions like a hiatal hernia can also cause heartburn. Heartburn is also common in pregnant women.
When should I see my doctor about my heartburn?
If your heartburn becomes severe or begins occurring more than twice a week, it is time to schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist to ensure that you do not experience further complications from your condition. Other signs you can use a doctor’s help with your heartburn include waking frequently at night due to heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or if your heartburn does not respond to over-the-counter drugs and lifestyle changes.
Heartburn Treatments in Clearwater, FL
Over-the-counter treatments for heartburn can help in mild cases and, often, lifestyle changes like avoiding certain foods or quitting smoking are enough to help decrease the severity of your symptoms. However, heartburn which does not respond to these treatments may require help from your gastroenterologist. Prescription drugs, endoscopic treatment, and even surgery may be necessary to help patients with severe heartburn.
For more information on heartburn, please contact Dr. Choudhry and Dr. Degala at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL. Call (727) 462-0444 to schedule your appointment with your gastroenterologist today!
Listen to your body. Sometimes it’s trying to give you certain warning signs.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the US, so it’s important to be able to recognize changes in your health that could be red flags. Whether you have a family history of colorectal cancer or you are over the age of 50, you may be concerned about your chances of developing colorectal cancer. Our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala are here to provide you with the insight you need to make the most informed decision about your health.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
These are some of the common symptoms and signs of colon cancer:
- Bowel changes that last several weeks (e.g. constipation; diarrhea)
- Rectal bleeding
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Feeling as if bowels don’t empty fully
It’s important to keep in mind that most people don’t experience symptoms in the early stages of colon cancer and that when symptoms do manifest it’s often when cancer has progressed; however, it’s also important to recognize that these symptoms can also be indicative of other gastrointestinal conditions. So, the best way to handle the situation if you are dealing with any of these symptoms is to call our Clearwater, FL, GI doctor for an immediate evaluation.
What can I do to reduce my risk of colon cancer?
While exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and eating a balanced diet can all be great ways to keep you healthy and to reduce your chances of colon cancer, the best thing you can do for your health is to get a routine colonoscopy after you turn 50 years old (you may need to get a colonoscopy earlier in life if you have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer).
A colonoscopy will allow us to check the health of the digestive tract, to look for polyps (and remove them) and to also determine the cause of some of your symptoms. If your colonoscopy results come back fine then you won’t typically require another colonoscopy for 10 years. A colonoscopy is the simplest way to protect against colon cancer and it could just end up saving your life.
No matter if you are experiencing the symptoms above or you want to schedule your routine colonoscopy, turn to the GI experts at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, to provide you with the quality gastroenterological care you need.
Have you put off having a colonoscopy? The minimally invasive provides valuable information about the condition of your lower gastrointestinal tract. Gastroenterologists Dr. Umesh Choudry and Dr. Gourisankar (Shankar) Degala of Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, explain why you won't want to put off scheduling a colonoscopy.
Colonoscopies can detect cancer
More than 135,000 people are diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer yearly, according to the American Cancer Association. Before colonoscopies were introduced, the cancers weren't usually detected until they were very advanced. Unfortunately, at that point, the prognosis was not good.
Thanks to innovative technology that spurred the development of miniature cameras and surgical equipment, gastroenterologists can now view the lining of your large intestine (colon) and the lower part of your small intestine remotely.
If a polyp is spotted during your colonoscopy, it will be removed and sent to a laboratory for analysis. Although polyps can be cancerous or pre-cancerous, many of them don't contain cancerous or abnormal cells.
Colonoscopies can reveal the source of your gastrointestinal symptoms
Thanks to colonoscopies, your gastroenterologist can detect the source of your painful symptoms, such as bleeding, strictures, blockages, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and Barrett's esophagus. Some conditions can even be treated during the colonoscopy. For example, gastroenterologists can cauterize bleeding areas in the lining of your intestines. Colonoscopies are often used to diagnose the cause of anemia, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, chronic diarrhea or unexplained weight loss.
Colonoscopy is a painless procedure
Before your procedure begins, you'll be given a strong sedative that will prevent pain and ensure that you don't remember anything about the colonoscopy. Once you're sedated, a thin, flexible probe called a colonoscope will be inserted into your anus, then slowly passed through your colon and part of your small intestine. As the colon passes through these structures, a lighted, miniature camera will transmit images to a digital screen. When you wake up, your doctor will explain what he saw during the procedure and explain the next steps, if any are needed. If a tissue biopsy was taken during the colonoscopy, you'll need to return to our Clearwater office in a few weeks to discuss the results.
Colonoscopies help protect your gastrointestinal health. If you're over 50 and haven't had a colonoscopy yet, or are troubled by gastrointestinal symptoms, call gastroenterologists Dr. Choudry and Dr. Degala of Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, at (727) 462-0444 to schedule your appointment.
What could be causing your diarrhea that's so uncomfortable and tiring? Well, the frequent stools, pain and all too frequent trips to the bathroom could stem from a variety of factors. The National institutes of Health state that adults have at least one bout of this gastrointestinal problem annually while children may have two episodes in one year. Who can get to the source of diarrhea? Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar (Shankar) Degala, board-certified gastroenterologists in Clearwater, FL, diagnose and treat diarrhea so patients feel better, eat well and get back to their normal routines.
What are the symptoms of diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a gastrointestinal upset that may last days to weeks and may be chronic in nature. Typical symptoms include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Frequent and watery stools
More serious forms of diarrhea are accompanied by fever, malaise, dehydration and black or tarry stools.
What causes diarrhea?
Again, diarrhea in Clearwater may be acute (episodic) or chronic (recurring and long-lasting). Acute diarrhea often originates with a virus or bacteria, stress, food poisoning or irritating foods, such as chili. Chronic diarrhea in Clearwater is more concerning and requires a GI work-up.
Chronic diarrhea lasts more than two days. It warrants a call to Advanced Digestive Care. Some chronic diarrhea may be linked to allergies, malabsorption problems in the very elderly or to gluten-sensitivities found in people with Celiac Disease. Also called Sprue, Celiac Disease affects the small intestine and impedes the absorption of nutrients from wheat, barley and other grains.
Other causes of chronic diarrhea include irritable bowel disease (inflammatory in nature), ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease. Crohn's Disease is particularly destructive to the intestinal tract. It involves bleeding, inflammation, rectal fistulas and more. Characteristically episodic, Crohn's impacts more than three-quarters of a million American adults, usually between the ages of 15 and 35, states the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.
What can be done?
If you have a mild case of diarrhea, be sure to drink plenty of water as tolerated to stay hydrated. Also, as you begin to eat again, try a very bland diet: rice, clear liquids, applesauce, Cheerios, bananas.
If your symptoms persist for more than two days, please call Advanced Digestive Care for an appointment. Dr. Choudhry or Dr. Degala will perform a complete history and physical and may order blood work or on-site diagnostic testing such as endoscopy.
You can understand the reasons for your diarrhea in Clearwater and get effectively treated. Call Advanced Diagnostic Care for an appointment: (727) 462-0444.
Do you have stomach pain that is so persistent it worries you? Is it accompanied by other symptoms that are unfamiliar? Stomach pain can be difficult to pinpoint and label, but your gastroenterologists, Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala of Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL offer precise diagnostic tests and treatments that help patients feel better and stay on the road to GI health.
The mystery of stomach pain
When your stomach hurts, is it really your stomach that's the problem, or is something else? Sometimes pain in the abdominal area has nothing to do with the stomach at all. You could be exhibiting symptoms of acute gastritis, an inflammation of the lining of the stomach, from a simple gastrointestinal virus or even an ulcer. However, stomach pain also could be:
- Appendicitis, a painful infection and swelling of the appendix
- GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn) in which stomach acids back up into the esophagus, or food pipe
- Stones in the gall bladder or kidney
- Lactose intolerance, a deficiency in an enzyme critical to digestion of dairy products
- Food allergies
- Simple gas leftover from digestion, resulting in burping or flatulence
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome, of IBS
- Crohn's Disease, an autoimmune inflammation of any part of the GI tract (according to the Crhohn's and Colitis Foundation)
Reasons for concern
The list goes on. How do you know what to do? The key to uncovering the reasons for stomach pain and receiving proper treatment lies in listening to your body and knowing when to call Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater. Serious conditions may be accompanied by:
- Vomiting or diarrhea that does not resolve within 48 hours
- Abdominal tenderness and swelling
- A yellowish color to the skin (jaundice)
- Difficulty urinating or inability to urinate
- Blood in the stool
If you have these signs and symptoms, contact the office for an appointment. Dr. Choudhry or Dr. Degala will perform a complete physical examination, including your medical history and list of current medications. They may order lab work for blood and urine, X-rays or even state of the art endoscopy to visualize what's happening inside your body. Fortunately, the doctors and their friendly staff do everything possible to respond compassionate and quickly to urgent GI issues, and they carry out many of their innovative diagnostic tests at multiple locations for your convenience.
If you hurt, please contact Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL. Your stomach pain is no joke. Understand what is happening by calling (727) 462-0444.
Could that gnawing, burning feeling in your chest be due to heartburn?
Most people at some point will deal with a bout of heartburn, most likely the result of something they ate. Of course, if you’ve been noticing heartburn more often than not then you may be a bit more concerned. Could there be something more serious going on? How can you treat your symptoms and reduce heartburn attacks? Our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists, Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala, are here to answer your questions.
What is heartburn?
So, you know that you feel a miserable burning sensation in your throat and chest but you aren’t quite sure what’s going on in there. Heartburn, also called indigestion, occurs when the acids in your stomach travel backwards into the esophagus. Heartburn is often a very good indicator that you are dealing with a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
How do you know it’s heartburn?
Anytime people experience this burning sensation in their chest they worry that it might actually be their heart and not heartburn at all. Of course, if you are dealing with a heart condition you may notice heart palpitations or changes in the rhythm of your heart. You may feel as if there is something sitting on your chest or you may experience shortness of breath. If you notice any of these symptoms then you need seek emergency medical care immediately.
What can cause heartburn?
Heartburn can occur after eating certain acidic or spicy foods, after eating a large meal in one sitting, or after lying down or going to bed immediately after eating. Those who are overweight or obese, as well as pregnant women are more likely to deal with heartburn.
Should I treat my heartburn?
If you are dealing with heartburn pretty regularly this is an issue that you will need to address to prevent serious complications such as esophageal damage. If over-the-counter heartburn medications aren’t helping keep your symptoms under control then it’s the perfect time to visit our Clearwater GI specialist for care.
Are you concerned about your heartburn? Wondering how to get your GERD under control? Then it’s time you called Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, to help you get your heartburn under control. Call our office today!
Find out if your stomach pains could mean it’s time to visit a doctor.
While stomach pains will happen to most people at some point during their lifetime, there are situations in which stomach pains are harmless and there are some instances where your pains could mean a trip to see our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists, Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala. Find out what could be causing your issues and when to visit us.
Abdominal Pain Causes
If you are experiencing pains between the chest and pelvis then you are dealing with abdominal issues. Abdominal pain manifests itself in many ways, from a dull ache to sharp, sudden pains. While it’s impossible to determine the cause of your stomach pains without visiting one of our Clearwater GI doctors, here are some potential causes:
- Gastroenteritis (often referred to as the “stomach flu” or “stomach bug”)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Acid reflux
- Food allergies
- Appendicitis (this is a medical emergency)
- Peptic ulcers
- Ovarian cysts
- Stomach ulcers
- A hiatal hernia
- An intestinal obstruction
As you can see, there are so many possible reasons why someone could deal with stomach pains that it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause. While stomach pains caused by certain foods, allergies or stress will be fleeting and won’t cause serious issues, some of the above conditions do require urgent care.
When to See a Doctor
While your pains may just go away on its own after a couple hours or even a day or two, if you notice that your symptoms are getting worse or last more than a few days then it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with us. Stay away from over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, as they can cause further irritation to the stomach.
You should seek emergency care if:
- You are dealing with severe pain
- You have a fever
- You have pain accompanied by blood in your stools
- You are nauseous or vomiting
- Your abdomen is tender to the touch
- Your stomach is swollen
- Your skin is yellow
- You are experiencing unexplained losing weight
If you are dealing with new or worsening stomach pains, then it’s time that you turned to the gastrointestinal experts at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, to give you the care you need to feel better. Call us today!
Find out if your GI symptoms are trying to tell you that it’s time to visit us.
When should you visit one of our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists, Dr. Umesh Choudhry or Dr. Gourisankar Degala, and how often? Most people don’t realize when certain symptoms or issues warrant a trip to our office. It can be challenging sometimes to know when to just let problems go away on their own or when professional medical care is necessary, so we are here to give you a little insight into when you should come in for treatment.
If you are experiencing new symptoms
While people may feel like the best approach is to turn to their primary care doctor when they start noticing new or disconcerting digestive problems, it might actually be more convenient to take out the middle man and just contact our Clearwater GI doctor when you start to notice issues.
When you give us a call, we will ask you about the symptoms you are experiencing to determine how quickly we need to get you in for a diagnosis. We can also work with your primary doctor to come up with a treatment plan that will work best for you.
If you already have an intestinal condition
If you’ve been diagnosed with a long-term digestive problem such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it’s always a good idea to visit us if symptoms are starting to flare up or if symptoms are changing or getting worse even with treatment. By keeping us in the know, we can change and improve your treatment plan so that you are always get the ideal care.
To keep up with your routine screenings
Even healthy individuals who aren’t experiencing any digestive problems will still need to visit us at some point for routine screenings. Even if you don’t have a history of digestive problems, polyps or colorectal cancer, you still need to come in for a colonoscopy once you reach 50 years old. This rule applies to both men and women. If you or someone in your family is at risk for developing colorectal cancer then you may need to come in more regularly or earlier than 50 to get these routine screenings.
If you are dealing with any of the problems above it’s important that you seek treatment as soon as possible. Turn to Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, for the care you need to get your intestinal system back on track.
Heartburn is an uncomfortable digestive problem that affects over 40 percent of Americans each month. It's related to a number of factors including diet, eating habits and even the way that you sleep at night. In most cases, it's related to a particular food that upsets the digestive system. Thankfully, the doctors at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, have solutions for your chronic heartburn. Here are a few common symptoms of heartburn to look out for.
One of the first signs of a problem with heartburn is a burning or thick feeling in the throat, which is caused by the regurgitation of stomach acid and food particles (acid reflux). The fluids in your stomach come up into your throat and sometimes in your mouth. This creates a sour taste in the throat and makes it harder to swallow. There may also be a sensation that there is food constantly stuck in the back of the throat. Over time, the acid can irritate the inner lining of the esophagus.
Burning Sensation in Chest
When there's heartburn, you may feel a burning sensation in the chest area near the heart, which is why it is called "heartburn." At times that burning sensation or pain can extend down to the upper abdomen. The burning feeling most commonly happens shortly after eating a food or drinking a beverage that doesn't agree with your digestive system.
General Chest Pain
Another symptom of heartburn is pain in the chest. This pain can start when you lay down after eating or bend over to pick something up. It's important to see your Clearwater doctor for an examination in the case of chest pain to ensure that it isn't being confused with a heart issue.
Gas (Burping), Hoarse Voice and Bad Breath
When a patient has heartburn. they may have the constant urge to belch. Also, a hoarseness may develop in the patient's voice over time due to the acid flowing up to the throat. Another possible symptom of heartburn is bad breath, which is caused by the regurgitation of sour-smelling acid from the stomach.
Heartburn No More
You no longer have to live with the uncomfortable symptoms of heartburn. Call Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, at (727) 462-0444 today for a remedy.
Having diarrhea is an unpleasant experience, to say the least. Fortunately, most of the time it isn’t serious and will clear up on its own within one to two days. However, severe cases of diarrhea that persist for more than two days or are associated with other symptoms, like dehydration, might require medical intervention. You should see a doctor if this describes your situation. The gastroenterologists at Contact Advanced Digestive Care can treat your chronic or prolonged diarrhea in Clearwater, FL.
Dietary Causes of Diarrhea
Diarrhea can result from several causes, including specific items in the diet, an infection or a medical condition, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, hyperthyroidism and some types of cancer. Diarrhea that is caused by an infection or that is associated with a medical condition is often best treated by a doctor. Dietary causes of diarrhea often resolve themselves in one or two days. Minimizing or avoiding these items in your diet can help prevent diarrhea or ease its symptoms. Some food and beverage items that can cause diarrhea include:
- Spicy Foods
- Fried Foods
- Fatty Foods
How a Doctor Can Help
Diarrhea that persists for several days can lead to other problems, including dehydration. It can also be a sign of a more serious condition. A gastroenterologist can evaluate your situation, identify the cause of your diarrhea and recommend methods for resolving it. See a doctor in Clearwater if diarrhea is associated with any of these other symptoms:
- Persistent diarrhea for three or more consecutive days
- Dehydration (signs include dry mouth, dizziness, minimal urination and feeling weak or lightheaded)
- Severe abdominal or rectal pain
- A 102 degree or more fever
- Bloody stools
There can be many causes of diarrhea. If something in your diet has caused diarrhea, it will likely go away on its own in a short period of time. However, if the diarrhea is chronic or persists for several days, it is best to see a doctor. For treatment of diarrhea in Clearwater, FL, contact Advanced Digestive Care at (727) 462-0444.
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in both men and women in the United States. A colonoscopy is a diagnostic imaging exam used to screen the large intestine for signs of colon cancer. For most healthy men and women, the standard age for scheduling a colonoscopy is age 50. However, people with certain risk factors, like family history or the presence of polyps and adenomas, are advised to begin screening earlier. Contact Advanced Digestive Care - GastroFlorida in Clearwater, FL for more information on when to schedule your first colonoscopy.
Get a Colonoscopy in Clearwater, FL
The frequency and age at which an individual should obtain a colonoscopy varies from person to person. If the first exam does not find cancer or polyps, a follow up exam is generally recommended within ten years. Depending on the results, a gastroenterologist may recommend a follow up screening within five years or less.
How Does a Colonoscopy Work?
The test is performed with a thin instrument equipped with a small camera on the tip (colonoscope), which allows a gastroenterologist to examine the lining of the colon and rectum (large intestine) for:
- Polyps and adenomas
Abnormal tissue and growths can be removed during a colonoscopy for biopsy and further testing.
Who Should Get a Colonoscopy?
Like most forms of cancer, colorectal cancers are easier to treat when they are diagnosed early. Adults with little to no known risk of colorectal cancers are generally advised to schedule their first exam at age 50. Consult a gastroenterologist if you suffer from any of the known risk factors for colon cancer:
- Age (most common in older adults, although it can affect younger adults in rare cases)
- Race (more common in African Americans)
- Family history
- Lifestyle factors (smoking, sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, low fiber diet)
- Obesity and diabetes
- Prior radiation treatments
Find a Gastroenterologist in Clearwater, FL
To learn more about colon cancer screening and your individual risk levels, contact Advanced Digestive Care - GastroFlorida by calling (727) 462-0444 to schedule a colonoscopy today.
How your gastroenterologist in Clearwater can help you fight colon cancer
Colon cancer is a common disease, and can be deadly. In fact, colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. About 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and of those diagnosed, 50,000 people will die from it. Your gastroenterologists at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL want to help you fight the insidious disease of colon cancer.
Your GI specialists want you to look for and be able to recognize common signs and symptoms of colon cancer, including:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic fatigue and weakness
- Pain and cramping in your abdomen
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Dark stools or a change in stool consistency
- Rectal bleeding
There are some lifestyle and genetic factors which can put you at a higher risk for developing colon cancer, such as:
- Eatting a low fiber, high fat diet
- Having a sedentary lifestyle or carry excess weight
- Using tobacco or consuming excess alcohol
- Having a family history of colon cancer
Colon cancer often starts as a precancerous growth in the lining of your colon, also called a polyp. If your GI specialists in Clearwater find a polyp, it can be removed easily before it becomes more serious or cancerous. That’s why early screening and diagnosis of colon cancer is so important. Regular colon cancer screenings can reduce your risk of colon cancer by as much as 90 percent!
If you are over 50 years old, you should have a colon cancer screening. Your GI specialists at Advanced Digestive Care offer a complete series of colon cancer screening procedures, including:
- A sigmoidoscopy, used to examine your lower colon and rectal lining
- A colonoscopy, used to examine your entire colon and rectal lining
- CT colonography, which uses CT technology to take scans of your bowel
- Stool tests, used to check for blood and abnormal DNA in your stool
- Stool tests and sigmoidoscopy, used in combination which may be more effective than each test performed separately
Why take a chance on developing colon cancer? When you schedule a colon cancer screening as part of your overall health maintenance, you are taking care of a very important step in your continuing health. If you are aged 50 years or older, it’s time to call your gastroenterologists at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL. Call today and take care of yourself!
Has your gastroenterologist suggested a colonoscopy, but you're not sure if you really need one? Your Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists, Dr. Gourisankar Degala and Dr. Umesh Choudhry of Advanced Digestive Care, explain how the test can help you.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
Years ago, surgery was the only way to get a good look at the lining of your intestines. Thanks to technological advancements, your doctor can view the intestinal lining by using a tiny camera attached to a thin, flexible scope. The scope is inserted into your anus and gently threaded through your large intestine and the lower part of your small intestine. As the scope passes through each section of your intestine, the camera transmits the image to a computer monitor, allowing your gastroenterologist to immediately spot any areas of concern.
Why do gastroenterologists recommend colonoscopies?
- It's your birthday: A screening colonoscopy is an essential tool in the fight against colon cancer. The test is recommended for everyone, male and female, at age 50. Colon cancer often has no symptoms in the early stages. By the time pain and other symptoms develop, the cancer is often very advanced and more difficult to treat. In the years since the colonoscopy was first introduced, the rate of death due to colon cancer has steadily declined. If your first colonoscopy doesn't reveal any problems, you won't need another for 10 years, in most cases.
- To check for polyps: These tiny growths develop on the lining of your intestines and rectum and are much more common after age 50. Polyps may be cancerous or may eventually become cancerous if they're not removed. During your colonoscopy, your Clearwater doctor can not only spot polyps but can also remove them at the same time using a special tool.
- Your have pain or other symptoms: Your gastroenterologist may also recommend a colonoscopy to find the cause of chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, chronic constipation, changes in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, rectal bleeding or anemia.
Have you recently turned 50 or are you concerned about a gastrointestinal problem? Call Your Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists, Dr. Gourisankar Degala and Dr. Umesh Choudhry of Advanced Digestive Care, at (727) 462-0444 and schedule an appointment to discuss a colonoscopy. Reduce your risk of colon cancer with a screening colonoscopy!
For many people, a stomach ache goes away within a few hours and is no cause for alarm. However, many people suffer from stomach pain caused by undiagnosed, yet treatable, conditions. But where is the line between a simple tummy ache and gastrointestinal issues? Find out with help from your Clearwater, FL doctor at Advanced Digestive Care.
What are the common causes of stomach pain?
Most cases of stomach pain come from indigestion, gas or constipation. Other common causes of stomach pain include:
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- food poisoning or allergies
- menstrual cramps
- kidney stones
- lactose intolerance
- urinary tract infection (UTI)
When should I see my doctor?
A majority of the time, the body heals itself and stomach pain goes away on its own. However, if you experience severe abdominal pain or one or more of the following symptoms, you should see your Clearwater doctor as soon as possible:
- painful urination
- vomiting for more than 2 days
- inability to pass a bowel movement
- your abdomen is tender or sore to the touch
- you have severe pain lasting longer than several hours
If you experience the following symptoms, you should contact your health care provider immediately:
- you are pregnant and experiencing stomach pain
- black or tarry stools
- blood in the stool or urine
- vomiting blood
- difficulty breathing
How can Advanced Digestive Care help?
Since everyone is different and stomach pain has such a wide variety of causes, diagnosis depends on your personal situation. Your doctor will get to the root cause of your stomach pain through questions, medical and family history and a physical exam. It is helpful to keep a record of your symptoms. Be sure to include when the symptoms appear, what makes them better or worse, where the pain is located and if the pain radiates to any other areas of your body. Your doctor can help you determine the best course of treatment for your stomach pain.
For more information on stomach pain, its causes and treatment options, please contact your doctor at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL. Call (727) 462-0444 to speak with an associate about scheduling your appointment today!
The most appropriate type of endoscopy for you will depend on where your doctor believes your symptoms may be located. Gastrointestinal problems can be difficult to solve, and communicating with your doctor about your symptoms is essential for them to determine which tests may be most expedient. The doctors at Advanced Digestive Care want to help, and this article provides a brief introduction to the different procedures and help you talk with your Clearwater, FL physician.
What is an Endoscopy?
Taken most generally, an endoscopy is any procedure in which a scope (usually a thin, flexible tube) is inserted into the body. These are primarily diagnostic procedures, i.e. only used to gather information about potential medical conditions, but can be used to carry out therapeutic procedures in some cases. Your health care provider may recommend you see a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy if you are experiencing any symptoms like abdominal pain, heartburn, stomach or intestinal bleeding, weight loss, or many others, depending on your specific medical history and presentation. Some types of endoscopy, such as colonoscopy, are part of preventative care and will be suggested even in the absence of symptoms.
If you suffer from a problem related to your duodenum, stomach, esophagus, pancreas, or gallbladder, (e.g. heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or gall stones), your Clearwater doctor may recommend an upper GI endoscopy. In this procedure, a thin flexible tube with a light and a camera is inserted through the mouth and used to examine the relevant areas, or inject dye so that better images can be taken of the area. For examination of the large bowel (colon), a colonoscopy may be required. For both these procedures, sedation is provided to keep you relaxed and comfortable throughout.
To examine the small intestine, a different method called capsule endoscopy is used. A small, self-contained camera and transmitter the size of a large pill is swallowed. As it travels through the digestive tract (taking roughly 8 hours), it wirelessly transmits pictures to a receiver worn on the belt. This kind of endoscopy is most commonly used in cases of chronic bowel diseases, like Crohn’s, and difficult-to-trace internal bleeding.
For more information or appointments:
In the Clearwater, FL area, contact the caring and professional practice of Advanced Digestive Care. If you are experiencing gastrointestinal problems or pain, don’t wait--the sooner you seek treatment and care, the sooner you can get your health back on track!
Whether you are at risk for colon cancer or not it’s important that you see your Clearwater gastroenterologists Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala if you are noticing any digestive changes or disconcerting symptoms.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it’s time to visit our Clearwater, FL office for proper GI treatment:
- A change in bowel habits (e.g. constipation; diarrhea) that lasts several days
- The feeling of needing to have a bowel movement even when you don’t
- Abdominal pain and/or cramping
- Weight loss
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Feeling malaise or fatigued
Do keep in mind that these symptoms are indicative of many other less life-threatening conditions. Coming into our office will help provide a proper diagnosis for what’s causing these symptoms and what your treatment options are.
Should I get a colon cancer screening?
It’s always best to be tested before you even experience symptoms. Usually symptoms don’t appear until the cancer has spread, which is why screenings are so important. Through these screenings we can sometimes find polyps and remove them before they become cancerous.
The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone over 50 years old start getting regular colon cancer screenings. Those with a family history of colon cancer or those with other risk factors should talk to us about how often they should be screened. Once you come in for your first screening we’ll be able to determine how often you should be screened in the future.
Don’t ignore what your body is trying to tell you. The sooner you seek treatment the better. Let the GI specialists at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater give you the individualized care you deserve. Schedule an appointment with us today.
Welcome to the Blog of Advanced Digestive Care
Advanced Digestive Care would like to welcome you to our blog. Here you will find informative and useful postings about gastroenterology and our practice.
At Advanced Digestive Care we believe that educated patients are better prepared to make decisions regarding the health of their digestive system. Our blog was designed to provide you with the latest gastroenterology developments and valuable health advice from our dedicated team.
Advanced Digestive Care hopes you find our blog to be a great resource for keeping up to date with proper digestive health care and treatments.
We welcome all comments and questions.
-- Advanced Digestive Care
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