All About Living Life with Celiac Disease

All About Living Life with Celiac Disease

Typically found in popular ingredients, including barley, rye, wheat, noodles, breakfast cereal, and bread, gluten is often an essential part of a person’s diet. But for patients who have celiac disease, taking in food items with gluten can lead to major health challenges. The one effective treatment for this condition is the elimination of gluten from the diet. If you think you may have celiac disease, partner with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist at Arizona Digestive Health to diagnose and address your gluten sensitivity. Our specialists will help you process your new condition and help you modify your food choices and daily intake accordingly.

Celiac disease and what it means

Known as an autoimmune disease, celiac disease is a condition in which ingesting gluten causes harm to the small intestines. Patients can have celiac disease at any point in life. It is estimated that about two million people in this country have developed celiac disease and that almost two-thirds of all Americans with celiac disease are not diagnosed or misdiagnosed. If treatment is not sought, this condition may result in serious health problems.

Some signs of celiac disease

Someone with celiac disease might have a single or more of these listed complications after ingesting gluten:

  • Eroding enamel
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Pain, prickling, or numbness in the feet
  • Rashes
  • Fainting spells
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Trouble holding in bowel movements

When you or your loved one are seeing these common celiac disease signs, contact our practice to plan a consultation with a GI specialist. Having proper attention can help boost your total well-being and your intestinal health.

How is celiac disease detected?

A GI physician is able to diagnose celiac disease. Your physician might perform one or both of the following celiac disease tests to identify or rule out this disease:

  • An HLA genetic test searches for the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes, which can rule out a celiac disease diagnosis if not found.
  • To diagnose celiac disease, a tissue transglutaminase (tTG)-IgA test is usually performed. This treatment requires our team to take a sample of your blood.

The next step in looking for celiac disease is to perform an upper endoscopy. Throughout this procedure, your gastroenterologist will check your small intestine for any damage by placing a thin camera device precisely through the oral cavity. Endoscopy is often a quick procedure that can be done as an outpatient option at Arizona Digestive Health.

What you can do to manage celiac disease

Even though celiac disease is a life-long condition, it may be treated by adopting a diet of gluten-free foods. For the majority of patients who have celiac disease, following a gluten-free lifestyle can serve to soothe issues and even encourage the intestines to heal. People who have the condition and stick to gluten-free eating habits usually see improvements to their digestive system within a few weeks. Isolating gluten from your diet might seem hard in the beginning, but through the guidance of an experienced dietitian and a physician at Arizona Digestive Health, patients in Arizona who have celiac disease can modify their diet and go on to have active lives.

Reach out to our Arizona team if you think you have celiac disease

Being gluten intolerant could affect your overall wellness, as well as interfere with many aspects of your life. To discover more about celiac disease and how to treat this digestive illness, please call Arizona Digestive Health. Our team prioritizes your health above all else and will work hard to restore your quality of life.

Red Blood in the Stool: Is This a Cause for Concern?

Red Blood in the Stool: Is This a Cause for Concern?

Detecting red bloody stool can be a cause for concern and may leave you feeling worried about your general health. But blood in your stool (called hematochezia) does not always indicate a serious medical issue. Several conditions may result in having blood in the stool. The gastroenterologists at Arizona Digestive Health frequently treat this concern and can determine the reason for gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding in people of all ages throughout the greater Phoenix area.

What might blood in the stool indicate?

Blood in a bowel movement is a sign that bleeding has happened somewhere along the digestive tract. Bleeding might happen in any portion of the GI system, which starts at the esophagus and ends at the rectum. Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool can be caused by minor internal conditions that can be managed easily. But since blood in a bowel movement can also be an indication of a variety of concerning GI problems, it is of great importance to consult with a GI doctor as early as possible to confirm its cause.

What causes red blood in the stool?

Although blood in the stool may be completely a benign symptom, it may also be evidence of a more significant health condition and should never be ignored. Bloody stool causes could include:

  1. Colon cancer
  2. Gastric cancer
  3. Crohn’s disease
  4. Ulcerative colitis
  5. Anal fissures
  6. Hemorrhoids

Should I see a GI physician for bloody stool?

Instances of blood in bowel movements that occur more than once should be assessed by a gastrointestinal specialist. Timely care should be received if a large amount of blood is present or in instances where symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, exhaustion, lightheadedness, or other concerns, also arise. The doctors at Arizona Digestive Health can perform testing to ascertain at what point along the GI tract the bleeding is originating. They can also identify bloody stool causes and decide if treatment is required. Common procedures performed to diagnose the cause of rectal bleeding or bloody stool among Phoenix-area patients include:

  • Fecal tests (stool cultures): These common lab tests can detect the presence of occult (hidden) blood in a stool sample, which can be an indicator of colorectal cancer or additional GI conditions. It’s also important to know about iliac vein compression as this can cause discomfort, swelling, pain or clots in the iliofemoral veins.
  • Upper endoscopy: Frequently referred to as an upper GI, an upper endoscopy involves the insertion of a flexible scope that contains a small camera through the oral cavity and into the GI tract. This diagnostic procedure can help determine if the blood in the stool could be coming from an issue impacting the throat, esophagus, or stomach, which comprise the upper portion of the gastrointestinal system.
  • Capsule endoscopy: With this diagnostic procedure, a tiny capsule that houses a wireless camera is swallowed, similar to an oral pill. The small camera captures and sends pictures of the digestive system as it makes its way through the upper gastrointestinal tract and into the small intestine.
  • Colonoscopy: With a colonoscopy procedure, a flexible tube fitted with a state-of-the-art camera is used to convey a live-feed image of the lining of the colon (large intestine). GI physicians may recommend this tool to identify growths or conditions within the large intestine or rectum that could be causing red blood in the stool or rectal bleeding. Polyps can often also be excised throughout the course of a colonoscopy. Polyp removal can lessen the possibility of developing colon cancer in the future.

Expert care for digestive conditions in Phoenix, AZ

Gastrointestinal health is a very important part of your systemic health and wellness. If you have blood in your stool or rectal bleeding after having a bowel movement, it is vital to talk to a gastrointestinal specialist to diagnose its cause and help improve your health. Reach out to Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ to book a consultation with an experienced GI specialist.