Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The average age of diagnosis is 67. Since almost all cases arise from small polyps that grow slowly in their initial phases, the disease can be prevented by routine colonoscopy and removal of polyps.
Current recommendations are for screening colonoscopies starting at age 50.
Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a common and growing condition in the US. This condition is commonly referred to as “heartburn”. There are numerous causes for GERD, some of which can be corrected by lifestyle modification. Long-term damage to the lower esophagus can result in a number of serious medical conditions including esophageal cancer. Fortunately there are a number of effective treatment options available for this condition.
ColitisColitis refers to inflammation of the colon. There are many forms including infections and autoimmune disorders. Infections are usually self-limited and can be caused by a number of bacterial species. Clostridium difficile is a particularly common hospital acquired colon infection that can be difficult to eradicate. Other forms of colitis include Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and Ischemic Colitis. Current recommendations are for screening colonoscopies starting at age 50.
Gastric Ulcer DiseaseUlcers in the stomach are a common cause of intestinal bleeding and anemia. Acute active bleeding can be life threatening and may require emergent endoscopic intervention to treat the bleeding lesion. Ulcers may also cause abdominal pain. The two most common causes of stomach ulcers are use of aspirin products and a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori.
HepatitisHepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver, and can be due to many causes including chronic viral infections, medication side effects, alcohol abuse, or even fat deposition in the liver. Over time, chronic hepatitis can cause severe scarring of the liver tissue and result in cirrhosis.
GallstonesGallstones are common and occur in up to 20% of the population. Only a small percentage of people with gallstones develop problems, but these problems can be severe and require emergent medical attention. Most gallstones are made of cholesterol deposits. Current recommendations are for screening colonoscopies starting at age 50.
Irritable Bowel SyndromeIrritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional problem with the intestinal tract in which the person has increased sensation of bowel activity along with abnormal motility, typically spasm, which results in cramping pain and discomfort.
There is no lab test or x-ray that can diagnose IBS, therefore a careful history and the exclusion of other clinically similar conditions is required for the workup of this syndrome. A number of medications and treatments are available for IBS.