Cincinnati GI Patient Newsletter – January 2022

January 2022

Happy New Year: Get Your Gut in Check This Year

If you have health-related New Year’s resolutions on your list, be sure a ‘gut check’ is one of them. Your intestines are home to trillions of “good” bacteria, which serve as an essential organ called the gut microbiome. When in balance, the microbiome can better manage food digestion and immunity. These four foods can help maintain that balance into 2022:

  • Naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchee, miso, and tempeh
  • Prebiotics such as bananas, artichokes, asparagus, garlic, and oats
  • Whole grains like brown rice, barley, bulgur, oatmeal, and whole wheat breads
  • Polyphenol, a plant compound in red wine, berries, olive oil, green tea, and (yay!) dark chocolate.

Lots of people resolve to change their diets to look better – but looking better starts at gut level. Here’s to a well-balanced 2022!

Read more about the gut microbiome here.

Benefits of a Colonoscopy

Nearly 150,000 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in 2021, according to the American Cancer Society. Fortunately, more cases were likely prevented, thanks to people undergoing colonoscopies.

A colonoscopy is the only screening that can both detect and prevent cancer, because during the procedure the gastroenterologist can remove potentially precancerous polyps for testing. Research shows that colonoscopies reduce the incidence of cancer by 89%, and patients who have had polyps removed were 50% less likely to die of colorectal cancer, even 15 years later.

Share this news with someone you know, because March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a good reminder that if you or a loved one is 45 or older and/or have a history of polyps, you should make a colonoscopy part of your regular health check.

People at higher risk of colorectal cancer may require earlier screenings. This includes African-Americans, those with family histories of colorectal cancer, and people with inflammatory bowel diseases.

Undergoing a colonoscopy is getting easier. A preventive screening is covered by most major medical plans and the preparation has become easier and more comfortable. Give us a call if it’s time for your screening. Read more about a colonoscopy here.

Is It GERD or Heartburn?

Those spicy tacos tasted good at lunch, but if they’re still lingering at dinnertime, it might be more than heartburn.

When stomach contents persistently back up into the esophagus, it’s a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. An estimated 20% of people experience it, yet many mistake it for common acid reflux or heartburn – an occasional burning sensation in the neck and chest.

As a result, they do not see a doctor, and that can lead to long-lasting health problems, including Barrett’s esophagus.

Four common symptoms of GERD (not heartburn):

  • A chronic sore throat.
  • A noticeably high amount of burping.
  • Sour or bitter breath.
  • Pain when swallowing and/or feeling like food is stuck in your throat.

If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, make an appointment to get it checked – before next “Taco Tuesday.” Learn more about GERD vs. heartburn here.