Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for category: Gastroenterology

How to add more fiber to your diet

Fiber is one of the most important parts of a healthy diet, yet surprisingly, we can’t physically digest any of it. Instead, fiber is used to regulate the digestive process and help our bodies absorb nutrients from food.

Dietary fiber is derived from plants and is indigestible to humans. There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material in our intestines. Soluble fiber can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Some examples include fruit, nuts, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes.

Insoluble Fiber does not dissolve in water and increases the bulk of waste products. It also enhances movement of waste products through the digestive system. Some examples include whole-wheat flour, beans, vegetables, and potatoes.

To achieve a healthy digestive system, you must obtain a healthy balance of both soluble and insoluble fibers to gain the most benefits from your food.

If managed properly, fiber can help the digestive system produce the healthiest bowel movements possible. If managed improperly, fiber can cause constipation or diarrhea.

Fiber and fluid intake

Fiber can only be effective if your fluid intake is also up to par. If you eat the recommended amount of fiber in a day and don’t drink enough water, you can experience constipation. If you eat the recommended amount of fiber in a day and drink too much water, it can cause diarrhea.

Recommended amounts of fiber:

The recommended amounts of daily fiber intake are as follows:

  • Children ages 1-8 – 19-25g
  • Children ages 9-18 – 25-31g
  • Women 19-50 years of age – 25g
  • Men 19-50 years of age – 38g
  • Women 50+ years of age – 21g
  • Men 50+ years of age – 30g

If you find it difficult to take in the recommended amount of fiber through food, there are fiber supplements that can help you achieve your daily goal. Fiber supplements work similarly to fiber-rich foods because you have to drink an appropriate amount of fluid for them to be effective. However, you shouldn’t solely rely on a fiber supplement as a replacement because natural foods offer more beneficial nutrients.

Foods that contain 5+ grams of fiber:

  • 5 dried prunes
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ½ cup cooked barley
  • ½ cup dried beans, peas or legumes
  • 1 cup whole wheat pasta
  • 1 medium pear
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 ounce almonds
  • 3 cups popcorn

Foods that contain 2 – 4 grams of fiber:

  • ½ cooked potato with skin
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • ½ cup raw carrots
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread
  • 1 small bran muffin
  • ½ cup oatmeal

If you plan to add more fiber to your diet, do so gradually. Remember to take in the proper amount of fluids to balance out the fiber intake. Fiber is extremely beneficial for a healthy digestive system and helps your body absorb key nutrients from food.

Let GI Associates help to get your digestive system in check. Contact us at 877-442-7762.

By GI Associates
July 26, 2016
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: GERD  

PrGERDobably most people in Central Wisconsin have suffered heartburn or indigestion at one time or another. But if you have it constantly, or it seems to be getting worse, you may need to talk to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in conditions related to the stomach and digestive tract, at GastroIntestinal Associates, SC.

Your heartburn may not be just heartburn – it may be Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – a much more serious condition.
GERD is a condition that affects many people each year. GERD is caused when digestive acids in your stomach flow back into your esophagus, causing burning and irritation. This is called acid reflux, and it happens to nearly everyone once in a while. However, if it happens more than twice a week or becomes debilitating, your doctor may diagnose you with GERD.  Left untreated, GERD can cause damage to the lining of your esophagus and possibly lead to other more serious conditions such as Barrett’s, cancer or strictures.

Symptoms of GERD include but are not limited to:

  • Heartburn/chest pain
  • Sour taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food or liquid
  • Feeling of a lump in your throat

It is important to note that if you are having severe chest pain, especially if it is accompanied with shortness of breath, jaw pain or arm pain, you should contact a doctor immediately – these are also signs of a heart attack.

Most of the time, GERD can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, or a combination of both. In many cases, GERD can be controlled simply by simple diet changes and over-the-counter antacids. However, if it becomes serious, your gastroenterologist will probably prescribe stronger medications for it.

Certain foods may trigger GERD. As each person is different, only you will know which foods cause you problems. However, food and drink are not the only triggers of GERD. Other potential triggers include, but are not limited to:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Chronic conditions such as diabetes
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Asthma

Your gastroenterologist will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for you.

If you are looking for a qualified gastroenterologist contact GastroIntestinal Associates, SC, at (715) 847-2558 we have clinic locations in Wausau, Stevens Point, Antigo, Rhinelander, Woodruff and Eagle River.

By GI Associates & GI Associates Endoscopy Center, LLC
May 02, 2016
Category: Gastroenterology

Frequently asked questions and answers about fecal transplantation

Healthy people have large amounts of good bacteria in their digestive system. These bacteria help to digest food. Some people have fecal transplantfewer good bacteria and more damaging bacteria, called Clostridium difficile, (C diff). Fecal transplantation is an innovative procedure to help people replenish their supply of good bacteria and aid digestion and elimination. Below are a few frequently asked questions and answers about fecal transplantation.

What is fecal transplantation?

Fecal transplantation involves using stool from a person with healthy gut bacteria and transplanting it into a person with low amounts of good bacteria. Medications like antibiotics can lessen good bacteria and allow bad bacteria like C diff to thrive. A fecal transplant allows good bacteria to replenish themselves and drive out the bad bacteria.

What happens during a fecal transplant procedure?

During a colonoscopy, healthy stool and saline are introduced into your gastrointestinal tract through your colon.

Is fecal transplantation a safe procedure?

There are no documented cases of infection, however, fecal transplantation is still a new procedure. The healthy stool donors undergo a rigorous screening process, similar to screenings for organ or tissue donations. They have serology tests to test for HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis. Their stool is also tested for salmonella, parasites and C diff.

Should I consider a fecal transplant?

Your doctor may recommend a fecal transplant if you have not responded to Vancomycin and have had at least 3 recurring episodes of C diff proliferation. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, colitis or Crohn’s disease you will most likely not be suitable for fecal transplantation.

How much does a fecal transplant cost?

Usually, there is no additional charge for the fecal transplant. You are charged for the colonoscopy procedure during which the stool is introduced. Most insurance companies cover the colonoscopy procedure and any laboratory testing involved.

For more information on fecal transplantation and whether you can benefit from the procedure, please call GI Associates at 877-442-7762, with offices in Wausau, Stevens Point, Woodruff, Eagle River, Rhinelander and Antigo, Wisconsin.