People with digestive disorders don’t have to leave Queens when they need medical care. Experts at New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ) can diagnose and treat a range of diseases from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to Crohn’s disease. Below are two of the most common digestive disorders that affect individuals and can be treated by gastroenterologists at NYHQ:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Have you felt the burning sensation of heartburn? It can be painful and uncomfortable. But did you know that it could be due to a more serious yet common condition — gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? Reflux is when the contents of the stomach leak back up into the esophagus (the tube between the mouth and stomach). Here’s what you can do to prevent GERD, and the treatments that can manage it.
Putting out the fire
A healthy weight is your first line of defense against GERD. People need to know that a common reason for reflux is being overweight or obese, so prevention is often about weight control. Other tips include:
• Eating smaller meals
• Not eating two hours before bedtime
• Not smoking
• Avoiding certain foods that trigger reflux such as fried and fatty foods, alcohol, chocolate and caffeine
• Using over-the-counter medicine such as Tums, Pepcid or more powerful medications such as Prilosec OTC or Prevacid, which reduce the acid in your stomach
“If the symptoms are happening frequently, it’s very important to see your doctor for a referral to a gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in disorders of the digestive system). He or she can do an exam to evaluate the lining of the esophagus for evidence of damage” says Dr. Moshe Rubin, director, Gastroenterology, NYHQ. NYHQ has a full range of options to quickly diagnose and treat even the most complex cases of GERD.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS, a chronic (long-term) disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, causes symptoms such as abdominal cramping and change in bowel movements. IBS affects 10 to 15 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Yet, two-thirds of people with IBS don’t seek help.
With lifestyle changes, people with IBS may be able to manage symptoms. Dr. Ellen Gutkin, D.O., attending physician, Gastroenterology, NYHQ, notes these common symptoms of IBS:
• Abdominal pain or discomfort
• Increased gas
• Changes in bowel habits
• Diarrhea, constipation or both
• The sensation of incompletely passing stools
• Muscle pain
• Sexual dysfunction
The first line of treatment for IBS is to review a person’s diet. Food plays an important role in IBS in some patients. People can keep a food diary to see the relationship between the symptoms they feel and what they’re eating. If you have IBS, try avoiding caffeine, alcohol, beans, fruits, vegetables and milk products. Introducing foods with healthy bacteria, such as yogurt, may also help. Adding water or fiber to a diet may help patients have regular bowel movements and reduce the effects of IBS.
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will help diagnose IBS or other gastrointestinal diseases, such as celiac disease, cancer or Crohn’s disease.
New York Hospital Queens is a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
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