Gallstones: Can They Be Ignored?

The gallbladder is a tiny part of the body most people never think twice about. After all, when it does its job, there’s really no reason to consider it. This little sac is designed to store and release bile into the body during the digestive process. It is essentially tasked with making the digestion of fats flow a little more smoothly. When it performs as expected, the gallbladder is easy to ignore. If something goes wrong, however, discomfort and pain are likely.

Gallstones are the most common gallbladder-related concern that can arise. These form when there is too much cholesterol in the bile. Essentially, excess cholesterol promotes the formation of crystals that clump together to create the stones. If left unchecked, the stones can impede the flow of bile and cause a fair amount of pain in the process. Bouts of pain are known as gallbladder attacks. Other complications may arise, as well. As bile becomes trapped in the gallbladder thanks to those gallstones, it can lead to inflammation, which can cause a host of other problems.

Gallstones that don’t cause symptoms or interfere with digestion are generally not a cause for action. If symptoms, such as pain, vomiting and nausea occur, doctors will generally recommend the removal of the gallbladder itself. This involves a surgical procedure that is generally performed laparoscopically. Once the gallbladder is out of the body, the pain associated with attacks should go away. The good news is that people can lead long, healthy lives without a gallbladder.

Gallstones are not a reason for alarm. If they form without symptoms, it is generally okay to leave them in place. Should pain, discomfort or inflammation go along with their arrival, medical intervention is a wise choice to prevent complications.

People who suspect they have gallbladder-related pain should speak with a healthcare provider. The best recommendation will come from a physician with information about the particular case.


Tips For Avoiding Gallstones and Gallbladder Issues

Anyone who has suffered from gallstones knows this is a condition that’s best avoided, if possible. Quite painful and often only resolved through surgical intervention, this potential development can sometimes be prevented or treated through calculated lifestyle changes.

The gallbladder itself is a small storage sac in the body that stores bile made by the liver. When food is consumed, bile is injected into the small intestine to help break up fat. When the components of bile manage to solidify, they form stones that can vary in size and severity. In some cases, gallstones may be treated without surgical intervention. Oftentimes, however, a removal of the gallbladder is required to alleviate pain and recurrence issues.

There are lifestyle changes that may help prevent gallstones and assist in the treatment process should they develop. Some of the suggestions include:

• Eating a healthy diet – A healthy, well-balanced diet that is high in fiber and vitamin C can be especially helpful. Be mindful of vitamin C overuse, however, as it can increase the risk of kidney stones – an equally painful development.
• Drinking coffee – A number of studies have found that drinking coffee on a regular basis, at least for women, can reduce the risk of gallbladder disease.
• Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol – Some studies have suggested that drinking no more than two standard drinks a day can help lower the risk of gallbladder disease.
• Avoiding rapid weight loss – While obesity is also a risk factor, fast weight loss can increase the risk of gallstone formation. If weight loss is necessary, be sure to take a steady, healthy approach and don’t eliminate fat from the diet entirely.

Gallstones may not always be avoidable. If this condition is a concern, be sure to speak with a qualified healthcare provider. Courtesy of advanced surgical techniques, having the gallbladder removed when it is necessary, generally only involves a fairly simple procedure.

Acid Reflux And Exercise: Get The Facts

Acid reflux is a painful condition that results when the stomach’s acids back up into the esophagus. When the condition is chronic, it may have progressed to become a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short. If left unchecked, both conditions can cause damage to the esophagus courtesy of that backflow of acid. In some cases, people may even find their risk for developing esophageal cancer increases.

While the connection between exercise and GERD is a murky area for some sufferers, there are some compelling reasons why exercise should be considered even when the condition is present. As it turns out, obesity is one of the prime contributing factors to GERD in many cases. With that in mind, shedding pounds can greatly help reduce symptoms. What’s more, very particular types of exercise can be helpful in treating the condition.

Researchers have found that certain types of exercise can be very helpful for people who suffer from GERD. In fact, many say moderate forms can be quite useful in contributing to treatments. Here are a few of the exercise types that can help patients who suffer from GERD address weight without necessarily agitating the condition:

• Moderate, less agitating exercise – While running might be off the table, researchers have found that working out on a stationary bike can help incorporate fat-burning cardio workouts into the routine of GERD patients.
• Walking – Fast-paced walking can be a good exercise start for GERD patients.
• Weight lifting that doesn’t involve lying flat – It might be best to avoid bench presses and leg curls, but other weight lifting exercises might prove to be helpful.

People who suffer from acid reflux or GERD should discuss exercise options with their healthcare providers. Surgical intervention may be recommended for people who suffer from acid reflux. Bariatric surgery may also be in order to address obesity if it is a related concern.

Pros and Cons of Bariatric Surgery

Most people understand that obesity can lead to serious health conditions and life-limiting afflictions. Tackling this issue head on can improve health, personal appearance and even outlook on life. Surgical interventions can be especially helpful for those who are morbidly obese, but there are some pros and cons to consider. Weight loss surgery offers tremendous benefits, but it’s not the best choice for everyone.

Invasive weight loss surgery procedures, such as gastric bypasses, are generally only recommended when people a have a body mass index of 35 or higher and weight-related health conditions. Those with a BMI of 40 will find this type of operation is recommended whether health complications have presented or not. Other options, such as balloon and lap band procedures, may be available for those with a lower BMI.

Here’s a look at the potential pros and cons of moving forward with procedures such as a sleeve gastrectomy or bypass:

The Benefits

Weight loss surgery procedures have been proven to be highly effective in helping people shed pounds and keep them off. The benefits, beyond weight loss, may include:
• Increased stamina
• Lowered blood pressure
• Improved sleep
• Improved breathing
• Improved or reversed type 2 diabetes symptoms
• Reduced risks for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain forms of cancer
• Ability to maintain weight loss over the long-run, especially when more permanent solutions are considered

The Potential Cons

Weight loss surgery is surgery. In the case of a bypass or sleeve procedure, the operation is considered a major one. With that in mind, patients are exposed to all the potential risks that go along with surgery. Overall, the other potential cons are relatively minor, but may include the need for ongoing counseling in regard to diet and nutrition. Patients are also likely to find they do need to make lifestyle changes to support ongoing, healthy weight loss.

Bariatric surgery has proven itself very beneficial for helping those who are obese shed pounds and keep them off. To learn more about the options and their potential pros and cons, speak with a licensed bariatric surgeon or other healthcare provider.

The Simple Fix for Acid Reflux That’s Attracting Lots of Attention

Millions of Americans know first-hand the pain and discomfort acid reflux and heartburn can cause. While over-the-counter medications and strategic dietary changes can help many keep the biggest concerns associated with reflux at bay, some people find their symptoms don’t subside no matter what steps they take. In these cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to avoid permanent damage to the esophagus.

While several surgical techniques can prove very beneficial for combating acid reflux, a new procedure is gaining a lot of attention as of late. Known as the LINX procedure, this surgery is less invasive than other options and has been showing great promise in treating people with chronic reflux issues.

LINX is a device that is designed to help prevent the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. It is implanted into the body by fitting it around the esophagus itself. The LINX device is nothing more than a strand of magnetic beads. When these are fit around the esophagus, it allows the normal swallow of food by opening for the process of eating. It, however, snaps closed to prevent acid flow back into the esophagus.

The LINX procedure was recently approved for use in the United States and has shown a great deal of promise since its introduction. The relative ease in which the medical device can be implanted and the benefits it provides have made it a popular option for treating people with chronic reflux.

People who suffer from heartburn that is frequent and painful should speak with their healthcare providers for assistance. If acid reflux has developed, taking action to prevent permanent damage is important for avoiding potentially dangerous complications. In many cases, routine medications can make a great deal of difference. For those who don’t enjoy relief through medications alone, LINX and other surgical procedures may provide the necessary help.

Tips for Avoiding Pain After Gallbladder Surgery

For those who suffer from chronic gallbladder problems, such as inflammation or stones, removal of this non-vital organ is often very much vital. Life without a gallbladder can go on as normal, to be sure, but sometimes digestive issues crop up. About half of people who have their gallbladder removed complain of digestive discomforts, bloating and gas after surgery. This is simply because they may have issues digesting fat as efficiently as they once did.

These tips can help reduce or eliminate post-surgical problems with digestion and keep discomfort at a minimal level:

• Start out slowly – In the first few days after surgery, eat a light, clear diet. Gelatins and broths are best. Slowly add mild solid foods back into the diet after that and gauge the body’s reaction to them.
• Low-fat makes sense – Smaller food portions and low-fat choices are often best following surgery. The need to skip French fries might not last forever, but it is highly recommended as the body adjusts to the new normal. Smaller portions can help keep bloating issues to a minimum, as well.
• Steer clear of fatty foods – Some of the items that are best to avoid include those fries, pizza, gravies made from meat drippings, high fat-meats, fat rich dairy, chocolate, cream-based foods and certain oils, such as palm. Spicy foods can be an issue as well.
• Take care with high-fiber foods – It’s best to be very careful and slow about reintroducing high-fiber foods into the diet. Foods such as whole-grain breads, nuts, broccoli and cabbage may put an extra strain on the digestive system and lead to diarrhea, bloating and cramps. Go slow and watch reactions before adding these items back into the routine on a regular basis.

Living life without a gallbladder to aid in digestion can take some getting used to. Be sure to take it slow after surgery and watch for foods that cause discomfort. Cut these out for a time and reintroduce later to see if the status quo changes. For more dietary advice, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider.

How GERD and Acid Reflux Are Treated

People who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic acid reflux will find that treatment options do exist to help them enjoy life normally without concerns for nagging, uncomfortable and often painful symptoms. While the best treatment option will depend on the particular case in hand, the goal of most is to reduce painful symptoms while also preventing long-term damage acid can dole out to the digestive system, especially the esophagus.

There are three main treatment options doctors have at their disposal to assist those with acid reflux or GERD. They are:

• Medications – Prescription medication can be useful for relieving heartburn symptoms while helping prevent damage caused by stomach acid. These medications are often found over the counter, but there are prescription strength antacids and other medications that may also assist. Some people find that medication controls their symptoms without a need for further treatment. Some medications may be used symptomatically, but others are prescribed for daily use indefinitely.
• Surgery –The most common surgery for GERD is called a fundoplication. This involves wrapping the top part of the stomach around the very bottom of the esophagus to strengthen the muscle that closes the esophagus to keep food and acid from backing up. The surgery is typically performed using a laparoscopic technique, but open surgery may sometimes be required.
• Endoscopic treatments – These are similar to surgery, but they are not called such since incisions are not required. Endoscopic treatments are relatively new, but involve the strengthening of the muscle as in the case in a full surgical procedure.

The best treatment for GERD or acid reflux will depend on the particular case in hand and the severity. To find out more about the options, be sure to consult with a licensed healthcare provider. Surgical options are generally only indicated when side-effects are worrisome or other treatments, such as medication and lifestyle changes have proven to not be effective.