Digestive Health Blog

2019 Colon Cancer Awareness Month

2019 Colon Cancer Awareness Month

March is colorectal cancer awareness month… this year’s public awareness campaign is “Don’t Assume”. Its goal “is to challenge assumptions and misconceptions about colorectal cancer by dispelling myths, raising awareness, and connecting people across the country with information and support.”
2019 colon cancer awareness blue ribbon with text saying colon cancer isn't just a 50+ disease
In 2018, the American Cancer Society lowered their recommendation to begin colon cancer screening from 50 to 45 years of age for people of average risk. This change was due to the higher incidence of colon cancer being detected in younger adults. While this updated starting age has not been universally accepted, it does highlight the significance of getting screened.

“If you have questions about the age you should begin getting screened for colon cancer, please discuss this with your doctor. Early detection is the key to beating colon cancer!”
-Matthew Eidem

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When Do You Need To See A Doctor About Your Constipation?

When Do You Need To See A Doctor About Your Constipation?

Constipation can be disruptive and even painful. Sometimes it seems to hit from nowhere, making you more and more miserable. Or maybe you’ve been living with constipation for a couple of weeks now, but the over-the-counter stool softeners and laxatives are only a temporary fix. There’s usually a reason behind your constipation — sometimes minor, sometimes serious, so it’s a good idea to pay attention and figure out why your bowel movements have slowed down — what can it mean?

constipation know when to see a doctor message with toilet in the background

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7 Gut Healthy & Delicious Snacks for Your Summer Road Trips

7 Gut Healthy & Delicious Snacks for Your Summer Road Trips

We’re finally rolling into summertime! That means family vacations and road trips are in our near future. What that also means is eating a lot of food on the go, which is usually not so healthy for you or your gut. With this challenge in mind, I wanted to provide a little info on digestive health along with some gut healthy snack options I would recommend.

Your gut’s health is reliant on the health of the microorganisms living within it –  the gut microbiome. Optimal health of this diverse community in your digestive tract has been proven to prevent obesity, diabetes, irritable bowel disease, liver disease, chronic heart disease, cancer, and many more.

The fast foods we tend to eat on road trips can leave you feeling bloated, constipated, and even lethargic – that doesn’t sound like a gut that’s up for any fun summer activities. But, there are so many good summertime snacks you can take on the go to keep you, your kids AND your gut happy.

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Colonoscopy FAQs

Colonoscopy FAQs

Every March I like to participate in Colon Cancer Awareness month by writing an article on the importance of following the American College of Gastroenterology screening guidelines. This year I thought I would do something different by sharing a few colonoscopy FAQs to help dispel some of the misconceptions and educate on why it is best way to screen for colon cancer.

Early detection is the key to beating this cancer! If you know someone 50 years or older, make sure they know about the importance of colon cancer screening. Thank you in advance for helping to promote this awareness message and let me know if you have any questions related to colon cancer.

In health,
Matthew Eidem, MD

Colonoscopy Information

Q: What is a colonoscopy?

A: Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to directly image and examine the entire colon. It is used to evaluate various gastrointestinal conditions like colon cancer and GI symptoms like bleeding. The physician will use a flexible tube called a colonoscope to examine the colon while taking biopsies or removing polyps if needed during the procedure.

Q: Why is colonoscopy regarded as the gold standard for colon cancer screening exams?

A: Colonoscopy is the only colon cancer screening exam that allows the physician to view the entire colon and then both detect and remove polyps. This distinction makes colonoscopy the best colon cancer screening exam.

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9 Reasons To See A Gastroenterologist Immediately

9 Reasons To See A Gastroenterologist Immediately

You don’t have to look far to see the importance of gut health being discussed. It seems everywhere we turn someone is talking about the gut microbiome and how incredibly important it is for our well-being.

This is because your gut is the home of your immune system, over 40 trillion microorganisms, and is an indicator of your overall health. This complex system has been linked to numerous diseases, including autoimmune disease, diabetes, liver disease, cancers, heart disease, and of course, gastrointestinal (GI) diseases.

So, if you find yourself struggling with persistent gut related issues, it isn’t something you should ignore. Sometimes when you have a GI problem, it’s a red flag of an underlying cause or of health issues that could get worse if left untreated. Either way, don’t ignore warning signs, instead tackle them head on – you could end up saving yourself pain, time, and money down the road.

If you’ve never seen a gastroenterologist before but are struggling with digestive issues, you might wonder when it’s time to see a GI doctor. I’ve created a list of the top 9 reasons to see a gastroenterologist in Plano, TX area to help educate others on the most common symptoms and help lessen any apprehension towards seeing a GI doctor.

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2017 Colon Cancer Awareness

2017 Colon Cancer Awareness

The American Cancer Society reports that 1 in 3 people in the U.S. are not up-to-date with their colorectal cancer screening and that 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented with screening.  I encourage everyone to join my team and colleagues at the Digestive Health Associates of Texas in helping to promote Colon Cancer Awareness this March. These statistics emphasize why creating more awareness for this type of cancer can SAVE LIVES!

Matthew Eidem, MD

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2016 Colon Cancer Awareness

2016 Colon Cancer Awareness

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month so there is no better time than now to spread the word on the importance of colon cancer screening.  This is a cancer that can be beat and often can be prevented with routine screening exams.  A colonoscopy is a painless procedure that can literally save your life. 

Matthew Eidem, MD

Colon Cancer Awareness Events in Plano, TX area

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SIBO – Are Bacteria Making Me Bloated?

SIBO – Are Bacteria Making Me Bloated?

What is SIBO?

National Center for Biotechnology Information defines small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) as the presence of excessive bacteria in the small intestine. In most patients, SIBO is not caused by a single type of bacteria, but is an overgrowth of the various types of bacteria that are commonly found in the colon. The small bowel is meant to be a sterile environment. When bacteria make their way into the small intestine, it can be very destructive to your digestive health and your overall well-being.

SIBO is now thought to be a potential cause for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

What Causes SIBO?

The cause of SIBO is usually complex, and is likely a combination of several events. In order to prevent SIBO, our bodies have protective mechanisms to defend ourselves against SIBO. Some of these mechanisms are gastric acid secretion and the presence of a valve between the large and small intestine (ileocecal valve) that are meant to prevent bacteria from refluxing back or making their way into the small intestine. Whether the issue is that these protective mechanisms fail or there is another trigger (e.g. stress, food), the underlying cause of SIBO is that the motility of the small intestine is slowed down to a level that allows more bacteria to grow in an area where they do not belong – the small intestine. Once this process occurs in your small bowel, you begin experiencing symptoms of SIBO.

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Can Your Bowel Movement Be An Indicator of Digestive Health?

Can Your Bowel Movement Be An Indicator of Digestive Health?

A stool or bowel movement is defined by the National Institute of Digestive Diseases as what is left after your digestive system (stomach, small intestine, and colon) breaks down and absorbs nutrients and fluids from what you eat and drink.  While no one likes to talk about it, regular bowel movements are imperative to our health.  In this blog article I’ll briefly cover what to be aware of in regards to bowel movements and what they can be indicative of in terms of our digestive health.

Bowel Movements – What Should I Be Aware of?

Unless you are suffering from intestinal issues, most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about our bowel movements.  If youBristol Stool Chart shows the 7 types of bowel movements to use as a guide when discussing with gastroenterologist in Plano, TX were asked to describe a normal bowel movement could you do it?  Since there is no a standard definition of a “normal” bowel movement, don’t be worried if you struggled with that question.  Bowel movements are highly individualized based on factors like diet and exercise.  The key thing to be aware of is what is normal for you.  Take note of the four characteristics below and let you doctor know if any of them change dramatically.  It’s helpful to create a log of any changes with dates and use the Bristol Stool Chart diagram to describe the shape.

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Colon Cancer Awareness 2015

Colon Cancer Awareness 2015

Since March is colon cancer awareness month, I wanted to take the opportunity to further promote awareness of this treatable and preventable cancer in Plano TX.  According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the U.S.  More than 50,000 Americans die from colon cancer each year.

Why get screened for Colon Cancer in Plano TX?

Over the past 20 years the incidence of colon cancer has been declining due to increased awareness and increased screening.  This cancer can be effectively treated if detected early and can even be prevented if precancerous polyps are removed before developing into cancers.  The key to beating colon cancer is to get screened at the recommended age.  The American College of Gastroenterology recommends getting screened at age 50 and re-screened every 10 years unless your doctor recommends otherwise (presence of polyps, family history of colon cancer, etc).  While there are different tests to detect polyps, colonoscopy is the gold standard due to its ability to view the entire colon and both detect and remove polyps during the same procedure.  For more detailed information on colonoscopy and the recommended screening guidelines, I encourage you to visit the colonoscopy page on my website.

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