Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: February, 2017

By GI Associates
February 24, 2017
Category: blog

When your red blood cell (RBC) count is lower than normal, that means you have anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. It occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron. Because iron is responsible for producing hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your body’s tissues, a lack of iron will lead to a lack of oxygen in your body.

Some people have iron deficiency anemia for years before symptoms show up. Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Cravings for non-food items such as dirt, ice, and clay

While the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are similar for most people, the causes can vary. Here are 4 causes of iron deficiency anemia:

  1.    Blood Loss

Blood loss can cause a deficiency in iron because each milliliter of red blood cells contains one milligram of iron. Heavy menstruation, blood donation, nosebleeds, and internal bleeding including the GI tract can all cause a reduction in iron levels.

  1.    Diet

Our body absorbs iron through the foods we eat from the GI tract. Foods like red meat, pork, seafood, dark green leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals are high in iron. Make sure to eat or drink foods high in vitamin C alongside the iron-rich foods because they will help you efficiently absorb the iron. Find a healthy balance – too much iron in your diet can cause unwanted side effects.

  1.    Inability to Absorb Iron

Certain disorders or conditions can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb iron. Celiac disease, gastric bypass surgery, and bacterial infections can limit your intake of iron, so check with your healthcare provider if you have any of these conditions.

  1.    Pregnancy

Expecting mothers and their future infants require higher levels of iron throughout pregnancy, an incident of severe blood loss to cause damage. Blood loss during pregnancy and childbirth can have a debilitating effect on a child’s development as well as have negative implications for the mother. Consult with your healthcare provider to learn about iron supplements during pregnancy.


Contact your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing symptoms related to iron deficiency anemia or want to learn more information about what you can do to increase your iron levels.

Call 877-442-7762 to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at GI associates or visit www.giassoc.org/iron-deficiency-anemia.html for more information.

By GI Associates
February 13, 2017
Category: blog
Tags: digestion; Stress  

Digestion is controlled by the enteric nervous system, a system composed of the same neurotransmitters that make up the central nervous system. Because the brain and spinal cord are the communication centers of the central nervous system, stress can cause your digestion to come to a complete halt or move at a faster speed than normal. If you’re in a dangerous situation, for example, your body will stop digestion so it can focus its energy on the immediate threat.

It works the other way around, too. Issues with digestion can cause an increase in anxiety or stress in any normal situation.

If you’re experiencing problems with digestion due to stress, here are 4 ways to decrease the stress in your life for better digestive health.

1. Exercise

Exercise is a great way to release positive chemicals in your brain and reduce your stress levels. Try to get some form of moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, like walking, running, lifting weights, yoga, or playing sports. Make sure to exercise in the morning or daytime because if you exercise too close to bedtime you will lose sleep and be even more stressed the next day.

2. Sleep

Speaking of sleep, it can have a huge impact on your stress levels. Getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night is recommended – anything less than that can cause a decrease in brain function, resulting in stress in other areas of your life.

3. Diet

In times of stress, it can feel good to grab a box of donuts or chow down on some candy. Unfortunately, although junk food can give you temporary satisfaction, it will cause more long-term stress on your digestion and mind. A healthy diet allows your body to function to the best of its ability, giving you a decreased risk of stress.

4. Talking

Sometimes talking to someone can be the simplest solution in stressful situations. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or therapist, talking about what is stressing you out can feel like a weight lifted off your chest, and will help you avoid digestive issues.

Because stress is directly related to problems with digestion, try some of these tips to decrease the stress in your life. Your body and mind will thank you!

For more information about improving your digestive health, schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at GI Associates by calling 877-442-7762 or visit giassoc.org.