News & Events
Diet plays only a small role in the prevention of polyps and colon cancer. To best protect your colon, choose a diet that is:
- high in fiber
- low in fats
- low in red meats
Smoking and being overweight also increase the risk of colon polyps and cancer.
While eating healthy is important, family history of colon cancer and polyps plays a bigger role than diet. It is more important to make sure your doctor knows your personal history of colon polyps and your family history of colon cancer and polyps so that appropriate screening tests like colonoscopy can be performed at the appropriate intervals.
Advertisements for acid suppressing medications are popping up on television and in magazines quite a lot lately. Are these medications, like the “purple pill,” better than generics or over the counter medications?
- Antacids such as Tums® or Rolaids® are the fastest-acting but weakest and shortest-lasting medications for acid indigestion or acid reflux.
- H2 blockers like Zantac® (ranitidine) or Pepcid® (famotidine) are also fast-acting, but these drugs last longer than antacids and are available over the counter.
- Proton Pump Inhibitors like Prilosec® (omeprazole), Prevacid®, Nexium®, Protonix® (pantoprazole), Aciphex®, and Dexilant® are even longer-lasting and their effect is stronger, but it may be many hours before they take effect.
For the most part, all medications in a class act very similarly. Generics and brand name drugs are really equivalent for the vast majority of people. 95% of patients respond the same way to all of medications in a class.
All medications can have potential side effects. Side effects of acid-suppressing medications are usually minimal.
None of these medications, even the over the counter ones, should be used long term (more than 2 weeks) without consulting a doctor. This is because these medications can work so well that they may mask a more serious disease.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver. It uses the liver to replicate (make copies of itself) and over time can cause liver damage and lead to cirrhosis (liver scarring.) Hepatitis C is transmitted by contact with an infected person’s blood.
Main criteria for screening include individuals who:
- were born between 1945-1965 (who have not yet been screened)
- have personal history of intravenous or intranasal drug use (even once)
- had a blood transfusion prior to 1992 (Recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force)
Screening requires a simple blood test.
As Hepatitis C generally causes no symptoms in early stages, if you meet the above criteria you should discuss screening with your primary care doctor or gastroenterologist.
If it is determined that you have the Hepatitis C virus there are several medication treatment options currently available and more emerging for qualifying individuals.
A screening colonoscopy could save your life. Routine colonoscopies for men and women ages 50 and above are proven to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Why is it then that many people neglect to have this important preventive procedure?
It is not uncommon for a patient to feel scared or apprehensive about a colonoscopy procedure. A frequently asked question about a colonoscopy is, “Will it hurt?”
Thanks to the modern sedation techniques and anesthesia, the colonoscopy of today is a painless procedure. The truth is that most people find the preparation harder than the procedure!
- Keys to colonoscopy prep
- Follow the preparation instructions carefully.
- Stay hydrated during the preparation.
- Pace out drinking the preparation solution if you start to feel very full or nauseous.
- If you are prone to nausea or have difficulty drinking large amounts of liquids, your doctor may be able to prescribe you some nausea medicine to take with the prep or prescribe you an alternative preparation.
During the procedure, you are sedated with intravenous medications and will typically not feel anything, or even remember anything, about the procedure. The sedation used in our procedure center today is much better than what was used in the past. Even patients that have had a hard time in the past – either having pain during the procedure, waking up during the procedure, having a hard time being sedated, or feeling nauseous during the procedure – have a pain free experience now.
Merrimack Valley Endoscopy Center now also uses CO2 (carbon dioxide) to inflate the colon during the exam instead of regular air. This new method prevents gas pains and cramps after the procedure.
Don’t be afraid to schedule your colonoscopy! This painless procedure could save the life of you or someone you love.
Call us at 978-521-3235 or visit our website: Merrimack Valley Endoscopy Center