Capsule endoscopy: The ultimate disposable camera

Swallow this camera; watch what happens in your small intestine

It’s hard to believe any procedure could be a patient’s favorite, particularly when it comes to gastrointestinal procedures. But that’s exactly what a capsule endoscopy has become for patients who need it to diagnose digestive health issues.

The procedure involves swallowing a tiny camera the size of a jellybean. The camera travels down past the stomach and into the small intestine, the organ responsible for breaking your sandwich down into carbohydrates, proteins and fat.

Once there, the camera takes photos of your small intestine — 50,000 to 60,000 digital images — and the shots are transmitted into a recorder worn in a pouch strapped around your waist.

Images are then downloaded onto a computer.

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Supporting caregivers of patients with liver disease

Your needs are important too

Doctor and caregiverOne 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

Constipated? 5 ways to unblock yourself

First line of defense: Water, fiber, exercise

con21 fw.fwFeeling 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