Faq Page


What is a colonoscopy?

Simply put, a colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a gastroenterologist to view the entire length of a patient’s colon. A light, thin, scope is used that is equipped with a camera. This tool allows the doctor to clearly view the lining of the colon. The scope is also equipped with a device that allows the doctor to remove any small growths or polyps that may be found during the procedure.

What is colon cancer?

Colon cancer is a malignant growth in the lining of the colon. Colon cancer, like any other cancer, is categorized by grade and stage to determine the course of treatment. Your doctor will determine how far the cancer has grown into the wall of the colon or nearby areas, if it has spread to the lymph nodes, or if it has spread to other organs.

The good news is that when found early colon cancer is over 90% curable. At GI Associates we urge everyone who is at least 50 years of age to get a screening colonoscopy. During this procedure, doctors can find and remove small growths, or polyps, before they even become cancerous. We have more information on colon cancer here.

What causes blood in the stool?

Blood in the stool should never be ignored. While there may be benign causes such as hemorrhoids or anal fissures (small tears in the anus), blood in the stool can also be a symptom of more serious gi disorders such as IBD or colorectal cancer. A gastroenterologist at GI Associates can determine the source of the problem.

It is important to note that the presence of blood does not always appear as bright red in the stool. If your stool is dark or has other changes in appearance, becomes thin for example, you can request an appointment with GI Associates using this form.

What causes constipation?

There can be many causes for constipation including a low fiber diet, lack of exercise, ignoring urges to have bowel movements, medications, and changes in routine. In short constipation is a hardening of the stool making it difficult to eliminate.

What are natural or home remedies for constipation?

Since constipation happens to most people, at least occasionally, we are often asked “what should I do for constipation” or “what to take for constipation.” The first line of defense to prevent or treat constipation is to eat plenty of fiber daily and drink adequate amounts of water. If you are currently constipated, be careful adding too much fiber too quickly as it can cause painful gas and bloating. Concentrate on drinking plenty of water and adding a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and nut butters to your diet. It is best to use stimulant laxatives only as a last resort. 

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is very common, as many as 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. What causes the symptoms of heartburn? When acid in your stomach comes in contact with the sensitive lining of the esophagus you feel a burning sensation behind your breastbone. This burning can be mild or quite severe. Bending over or lying down can make the symptoms worse. Losing weight, stopping smoking, avoiding spicy or fatty foods, usually manages normal heartburn symptoms in most people. Over the counter antacids can be effective home remedies for heartburn.

What is indigestion?

Indigestion, also called dyspepsia, is a persistent and recurring pain in the upper abdomen. Indigestion is normally an indicator of an underlying condition, such as GERD, hiatal hernia, peptic ulcer, or gallbladder disease. Symptoms can include burping, bloating, in addition to the pain. Some symptoms subside but if they occur regularly you should see a doctor at GI Associates. You can request an appointment using this form.

What is acid reflux?

If you experience heartburn more than twice per week you may actually be experience acid reflux. Acid reflux is caused by a failure in a small round muscle, at the base of the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle is designed to keep the harsh stomach acid from coming in contact with the sensitive tissue of the esophagus. When the LES fails that acid refluxes from the stomach into the esophagus. The symptoms of acid reflux include the burning pain of heartburn, but also can include cough, sore throat, sour taste in the mouth, asthma like symptoms, and even dental cavities at the rear of the mouth.

What is GERD?

GERD is chronic acid reflux. If you have acid reflux frequently and over a long period of time your doctor may diagnose you with GERD. GERD stands for gastro esophageal reflux disease. Overtime, the constant burning of the esophagus can lead to scarring or a more severe, possibly precancerous, condition known as Barrett’s Esophagus. Because of the possible long tern problems, you should not self diagnose or treat your chronic “heartburn.” A gastroenterologist can correctly diagnose the condition, treat, and monitor your overall gi health.

What causes diarrhea?

The easy answer is that there are too many causes to list here in this format. Loose, watery, stools that can be caused by bacteria from tainted foods, viruses, stress, or certain medications characterize diarrhea. If diarrhea lasts more than two days, is accompanied by severe abdominal pain or high fever, or if it causes symptoms of dehydration you should see your doctor.

A gastroenterology specialist at GI Associates should evaluate chronic diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea is a symptom of many different underlying gi conditions.

What is IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common ailment among adults. The cause is not known but controlling your symptoms is necessary for most patients to maintain a normal lifestyle. 

What are the symptoms of IBS?

Symptoms of IBS can vary widely among patients. There are two general types of IBS. One, IBS-D is characterized by recurring and chronic diarrhea; the other, IBS-C causes chronic constipation. Two very different symptoms but both are part of the same illnesses. Advances in medications that treat the two types allows patients to feel under control and confident in going about their daily lives. If you suffer from these symptoms of IBS you should make an appointment with our doctors at GI Associates today. 

What causes nausea?

Feeling queasy or uneasy is known as nausea. Causes of the conditions range from motion sickness and pregnancy to intense pain, bacteria or viral infections, overeating, and underlying gi conditions such as gallbladder disease. Nausea can stand-alone or may cause vomiting.

What helps nausea?

To treat nausea at home you can try ginger, dry crackers and a low sugar carbonated drink like ginger ale can sometimes help. You should see a physician if the conditions persist or are accompanied by vomiting that lasts more than a couple of hours. *Children can be dehydrated more quickly than adults. These guidelines are for adults only. If your child is vomiting please call their pediatrician for directions.