Dr. Lim Discusses Symptoms and Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

April is IBS Awareness Month. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults have symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), making it one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders diagnosed by doctors.

IBS affects the large intestine causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. “Although symptoms may be uncomfortable, they do not cause permanent damage to the colon and can be controlled over time,” says Dr. Nelson H. Lim M.D., a gastroenterologist and hepatologist with privileges at Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers.

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), IBS is not a disease but a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. This means that IBS symptoms are caused by changes in how the GI tract works.

“The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but food, emotional stress and hormones are just a few factors that can affect IBS symptoms,” adds Dr. Lim. He adds that a person with IBS may have a colon that is more sensitive and reactive than usual. “Sensitivity causes spasms after stimulation by things such as certain foods or medications. Milk, chocolate and alcohol might cause constipation or diarrhea, while carbonated beverages and some fruits and vegetables may lead to bloating and discomfort. Stressful events can worsen or aggravate symptoms, but it does not cause them.”

IBS usually begins before the age of 35 and is typically seen before the age of 50. Women and those with a family history of IBS are the most at risk for developing the syndrome. Since women are more likely to have IBS, many of them find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual cycle.

 “Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers Highlight Irritable Bowel syndrome Awareness.” SanTanValleyToday.com. 7 April 2011. http://www.santanvalleytoday.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2882:chandler-regional-and-mercy-gilbert-medical-centers-highlight-irritable-bowel-syndrome-awareness&catid=64:business

Arizona Digestive Health Provides Free Colonoscopies to Low Income Patients

Free colonoscopy screenings available March 28
By Katie Baker

Colon cancer is becoming a more common cause of death in the United States.

“Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the U.S., and is largely preventable with appropriate screening,” said Dr. Paul Berggreen, President of Arizona Digestive Health.

But many people put off getting a screening.

Berggreen said many don’t like the preparation and taking a day off of work, or the idea of a tube going up your backside.

“There is really no valid reason to put it off, and it is one of a relative short list of screening tests that can literally save your life,” Berggreen said.

Plus, Berggreen said with modern deep sedation, colonoscopies are painless.

He said all Americans should be screened starting at age 50 and African Americans at age 45. Those with a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or certain other conditions, should be screened earlier and more often according to recommendations from their gastroenterologist.

This month is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Wednesday, March 28 is National Colon Cancer Screening Day.

The Centers for Disease Control, the American Gastroenterological Association and the Colon Cancer Alliance in the Valley and Arizona Digestive Health will come together to provide free screenings to people who would otherwise be unable to afford it.

If you are interested you can call 602-323-3380 for more information.

Baker, Katie. “Free Colonoscopy Screenings Available March 28.” KPHO.com. 27 March 2012. <http://www.kpho.com/story/17267334/free-colonoscopy-screenings-available-march-28th>

Arizona Digestive Health to Provide Free Colonoscopies to Low Income Patients with CDC, CCA & AZDHS

As part of its education and prevention efforts for Colon Cancer Awareness Month this March, Arizona Digestive Health is joining with the Center for Disease Control (CDC),  the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS),  Arizona Chapter of Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) , and Mountain Park Health Center to provide free colon cancer screenings to low-income, under-insured or uninsured members of the community.

Starting Wednesday March 28, Arizona Digestive Health physicians and staff, in collaboration with the other three collaborative partners, will perform as many as 50 colonoscopies in three days through the CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP).

Mountain Park Health Center will identify participating patients who have no coverage for colorectal cancer screening or are unable to pay. Interested individuals who wish to participate in this pilot program can call Raquel Acosta, Cancer Program Manager at (602) 323-3380.

The Arizona Chapter of the Colon Cancer Alliance will provide funding for colonoscopy preparation materials for the participating patients as well as provide funds to cover fuel expenses for those traveling to the event. The CCA is a national patient advocacy organization dedicated to ending the suffering caused by colorectal cancer. In order to increase rates of screening and survivorship, CCA provides patient support, education, research and advocacy across North America.

Using funds received from the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Undy5000, ADHS, through contracted partners, will purchase Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program coverage for any patients that may be diagnosed with colorectal cancer during this event.  For the uninsured unable to access this event, ADHS has the Fit at Fifty Health Check Program providing colorectal cancer screening for uninsured Arizonans.  This program is Arizona’s component of the Colorectal Cancer Control Program and is funded by the CDC. Interested individuals can call (602) 323-3377 for more information.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, but is preventable when caught early. According to recent studies, colonoscopy alone can reduce a patient’s risk of dying from colon cancer by more than 50 percent. “One of our main priorities as gastroenterologists is the prevention of colon cancer, and this program is a valuable part of that effort, said Dr. Paul Berggreen, president of Arizona Digestive Health.“We are happy to donate our services and resources to ensure this effort is a success now and in future years.”

Beginning in 2009, the Colorectal Cancer Control Program works to increase colon cancer screening rates among men and women age 50 to 64. Through non-profit organizations, corporate sponsorship and volunteers, many of the CRCCP’s initiatives are at no cost to the patient. More information about CRCCP is available online at, www.cdc.gov/cancer/crccp/.

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