Discovering, treating and leading the way to improved digestive and liver health. The University of Michigan is home to over 60 expert physicians and health care providers focused on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive tract and liver.
One day last year, I walked into clinic to see a patient with end-stage liver disease. His health had been declining, with frequent admissions to the hospital for confusion and fluid overload. The patient was in the bathroom when I entered the room, so I stopped to ask his wife how things were going. She dutifully started listing his current medications, described his recent symptoms, and showed me a list of his daily weights. Something about the frantic way she did this, made me stop and ask: “No, how are YOU doing?” Then she started to cry. Continue reading →
Feeling bloated and blocked can happen during times of stress, frequent travel or when we aren’t eating well, skipping sleep or aren’t exercising enough. Constipation is common.
Whether constipation is occasional, or happens over an extended period of time – not just for a few days but for periods of weeks to months – there are ways to find relief.
Start with simple solutions
If you have mild, intermittent constipation, the first line of defense is water, exercise and fiber. Water keeps stool soft and regular vigorous exercise accelerates movement of stool through the colon. Even though people with constipation typically drink the same amount of water and eat as much fiber as those without constipation, more fiber from supplements such as psyllium or ispaghula husk can help. If you’re constipated, aim for a total daily fiber intake of 20-25 grams. Continue reading →
We’re all prone to the uncomfortable feeling that arises when a doctor mentions screening for colon or rectal cancers. Despite the unease surrounding this topic, it’s time to stop avoiding the colonoscopy and get screened! There are often no symptoms with colorectal cancer. You can’t feel a polyp, and very rarely will you see visible blood. For this reason, screening is the most effective way to be protected.
According to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths in both men and women. Further, it is currently the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. That is why doctors recommend screenings, even though they may be embarrassing to discuss.
Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or rectum, most often as a polyp, or a small piece of tissue that protrudes from the inner wall. Screenings help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they progress. Everyone needs screening because we are all at risk for colon cancer. If everyone got screened we could prevent up to 90% of colorectal cancers. Continue reading →
NOTICE: Except where otherwise noted, all articles are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. You are free to copy, distribute, adapt, transmit, or make commercial use of this work as long as you attribute the University of Michigan Health System as the original creator and include a link to this article.