Digestive Health Blog

Is Cologuard a Good Alternative to Colonoscopy?

Is Cologuard a Good Alternative to Colonoscopy?

You probably don’t think about your colon that often. Unless you’re experiencing painful or embarrassing symptoms, such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating, or diarrhea, it probably doesn’t cross your mind. But if you’re over the age of 45 it might be time to go and see your doctor about colon cancer screening – yes, even if you feel fine!

We use screening exams to look for evidence of disease in patients who show no symptoms of colon cancer – whereas we use diagnostic exams to evaluate patients already showing symptoms. If you’re dealing with a change in bowel movements, bleeding from the anus, blood in your stool, or a pain or lump in your abdomen, I recommend seeing your doctor as soon as possible for recommendations regarding diagnostic testing.

If you’re not experiencing such symptoms, screening is still important for your health. The earlier that colon cancer is detected, the better the chance of beating it. Also, by removing precancerous polyps, colon cancer can actually be prevented.

I’m going to talk you through two different colon screening options:

  1. Colonoscopy – the gold standard and the most common screening exam
  2. Cologuard – home screening test

cologuard or colonoscopy which screening test is best with blue colon cancer ribbon

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The GI Doctor’s Ultimate Guide to Fiber

The GI Doctor’s Ultimate Guide to Fiber

When dealing with gastrointestinal issues, you are asked one question over and over…

Are you getting enough fiber?

Why Does Fiber Help Digestion?

You may have heard over and over again how important fiber is for your health, but you may not understand why it has such an impact. Fiber plays a unique role in digestion it is not broken down into nutrients but instead stays intact as it makes its journey through your intestines.

A diet high in fiber can help keep your heart healthy, slow down the absorption of sugar through the gut wall, and aid in weight management. Getting enough intestinal fortitude ensures your digestive system runs smoothly. Allowing for a more comfortable pooping experience.

A GI doctor's guide to fiber with images of various fiber sources

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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

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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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