Category Archives: Digestive Tract

What is the Difference Between Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis is a condition that occurs when small pouches, called diverticula, develop in your digestive tract. In some cases, these small pouches become infected or inflamed, which is a condition called diverticulitis. Though these two conditions are directly related and quite similar, the difference between them is that one, diverticulosis, leads to another, diverticulitis.

 

To learn more about your options for Diverticulitis treatment in Los Angeles, contact Dr. Siamak Tabib today.

What is Diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis is the condition where pouches, “diverticula”, form in the walls of your digestive tract. Most commonly occurring in the colon, the lower part of your large intestines, the inner layer of your intestines push through the weak spots in the outer lining causing pressure. This pressure makes them bulge out into little pouches.

 

In this condition, the pockets are NOT inflamed and often cause no symptoms. Many patients with this condition are not even aware of it. Diagnosis usually occurs during a routine colonoscopy or during a CT scan. About half of Americans over the age of 60 are affected by diverticulosis. Diverticula are uncommon before the age of 40, with likelihood of occurring increasing with age.

What are the causes, signs and symptoms of Diverticulosis?

There are a few known triggers for diverticulosis, most notably diet and genetics. Although genetics cannot be controlled, if you are predisposed to diverticulosis it is a good idea to be aware of that if you experience symptoms down the line. When it comes to diet, it is thought that those with a diet lacking in fiber are most likely to experience diverticulosis, though this theory is yet to be definitively proven.

 

Patients with diverticulosis often report cramping, flatulence, bloating, and irregular bowel movements. However, there is much debate about these symptoms and whether they can be directly diet to diverticulosis or irritable bowel syndrome, a condition with similar side effects. Diverticulosis can result in painless rectal bleeding and is a known common trigger for lower gastrointestinal bleeding. Diverticulosis can also lead to diverticulitis, which occurs in 10-25% of patients.

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is a gastrointestinal disease characterized by the infection/inflammation of the diverticulum, the abnormal pouches that develop in the wall of the large intestine and occurs in 10-25% of people with diverticulosis. Diverticulosis develops into diverticulitis.

What are the causes, signs and symptoms of Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis can cause tears in the colon resulting in bleeding, intestinal obstruction, peritonitis, the formation of abscesses, sepsis, and many other conditions. The infection of the diverticulum is often a result of waste collecting in a diverticulum.

 

There are also many symptoms that someone with diverticulitis will experience, including nausea, vomiting, constant abdominal pain, abdominal tenderness, constipation, diarrhea, and fever.

 

The precise causes of diverticulitis are unknown, but major risk factors are likely obesity, smoking, genetic predisposition to the condition, sedentary lifestyle, and taking certain drugs. Like diverticulosis, it is theorized that a low-fiber diet can raise your chances of this disease, but it is not conclusive.

Diverticulitis Treatment in Los Angeles

Dr. Tabib and his team are here to help you more fully understand your health. If you have questions about diverticulitis treatment in Los Angeles, contact us today to set up an appointment to help put your mind at ease and get you on a treatment plan!

How to Tell if You Have a Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is an open sore that develops on the inner lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine. They can include a gastric ulcer on the inside of the stomach and duodenal ulcers that develop on the inside of your small intestine. It is important that if you experience any peptic ulcer symptoms, to contact your professional gastroenterologist in Los Angeles.

 

There are a few known causes of peptic ulcers, including the most common: prolonged, long-term usage of aspirin and other painkillers, like ibuprofen. If you’re someone who is constantly popping one of these medications out of habit when you don’t genuinely need it, you are more at risk for a peptic ulcer than others. These medicines are dangerous to the body when used persistently over time, and can result in lots of health issues, including ulcers.

 

Though many people think that stress and spicy food can also cause peptic ulcers, they do not, but they are known to make symptoms of a peptic ulcer worse. Similarly, there are foods that can help ease the symptoms of peptic ulcers, like foods that help buffer stomach acid.

 

The most common symptom associated with an ulcer is discomfort in the abdomen, often described as a burning pain. Stomach pain can be a symptom of a myriad of problems, but remains to be the first and most common symptom of a peptic ulcer. Though you should not panic if you experience stomach pain, it is something to take note of and monitor closely.

 

In addition to the pain most people experience, ulcers can also cause loss of appetite and attendant weight loss, bloating, belching, nausea, and vomiting. Some ulcers are asymptomatic. However, severe symptoms may indicate perforation, bleeding, or obstruction as a result of your ulcer, and should necessitate immediate medical attention.

 

In addition to general stomach discomfort, there are lots of symptoms of a peptic ulcer. Should you experience these symptoms, consulting a physician and seeking a diagnosis and treatment plan should be your next plan of action.

 

● A dull, gnawing ache in your stomach
● Burning stomach pain
● Chronic, intermittent discomfort over a period of weeks
● Flare-ups 2-3 hours after meals, or on an empty stomach
● Relief from pain after eating or antacid use
● Trouble breathing
● Nausea or vomiting
● Unexplained weight loss
● Appetite changes
● Feeling faint

 

Symptoms that should prompt a call to your doctor include:

 

● Sudden, sharp, or persistent pain
● Bloody stools (may be black)
● Bloody vomit (may resemble coffee grounds)

 

Gastroenterologist in Los Angeles

If you are experiencing these symptoms, seeking help from a professional gastroenterologist in Los Angeles should be your next plan of action. A Gastroenterologists like Siamak Tabib, M.D. is a specialist that can help you establish a diagnosis and treatment plan that will help alleviate your symptoms permanently. It’s time for you to give us a call to set up a consultation!

How to Prevent Food Poisoning

Anyone can get sick from food poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six Americans gets sick from foodborne illness.
Whether you experience a mild discomfort (i.e. upset stomach) or require a trip to the hospital depends on how strong your immune system is. For more information on combatting food poisoning and maintaining a healthy digestive system, contact the top gastroenterologist in Los Angeles, Dr. Siamak Tabib.

 

While we cannot always prevent food poisoning, we can reduce the risk by following these food safety precautions:

1. Be Grocery Savvy

When grocery shopping, shop for frozen goods last. This allows perishable foods to stay cold for much longer until it’s time to store them in the fridge. Use separate bags for raw meats and for other grocery items to avoid cross-contamination.

 

And always check food labels for use-by dates. Although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service maintains that best-by and use-by dates are not indications of food safety, it’s better to err on the side of caution and follow the dates on the label.

2. Make Washing a Habit

Washing your hands thoroughly before food preparation could reduce the risk of food contamination. Follow proper hand washing techniques to remove dirt and bacteria from your hands.

 

When it comes to produce, it’s always a good idea to give them a good wash whether you peel them or not. The exception to the rule is with salad greens—these are already pre-washed and washing them at home could introduce new bacteria and pathogens.

 

Cutting boards and countertops also need to be washed especially when handling raw meat. Bacteria could spread onto surfaces and cause cross-contamination.

3. Cook Foods Thoroughly

Raw meats like chicken and ground beef have the highest severity index in terms of food poisoning, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest report.

 

Just because a meat has browned doesn’t mean that it’s properly cooked. Use a food thermometer when cooking meats to ensure that it meets the minimum internal temperature for doneness.

4. Store Leftovers Properly

Holidays and other special occasions often leave us with a surplus of food. To avoid foodborne illnesses, refrigerate leftovers within two hours after they are cooked. This reduces the risk of bacterial growth.

 

Keep refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below when storing cold perishable foods. To cool food rapidly, divide them into smaller batches or pieces and place them in shallow containers. The cold temperature prevents bacterial growth.

 

When it’s time to thaw out frozen foods, make sure to do it safely. A microwave provides the fastest way to thaw out leftovers, but see to it that the heat reaches the safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can reheat leftovers in a saucepan.

5. Know When to Throw Out Food

You may feel bad about throwing out food, but sometimes leftovers are no longer safe to eat. Food spoils easily when left at room temperature. Even if you refrigerate them, there is no guarantee that they will remain fresh for long. Most foods have telltale signs of spoilage (i.e. funny smell, different texture, presence of molds), but some do not so use your better judgment on when to throw out leftovers.

Gastroenterologist in Los Angeles

Following food safety practices helps in reducing the likelihood of food poisoning. But in the event that you or a family member experience the symptoms (e.g. diarrhea and vomiting) of food poisoning, seek the help of a medical professional to get immediate treatment.

 

Dr. Siamak Tabib, M.D. is a prominent gastroenterologist in Los Angeles who treats food poisoning and other digestive tract problems. Also known as the “stomach doctor”, he provides diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and educates patients on how to prevent diseases. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Siamak Tabib, M.D. today.

Creating Your Pancreatitis Diet

Pancreatitis is a medical condition that is the result of the presence of active digestive enzymes inside pancreas. The pancreas produces enzymes as part of the body’s natural digestive process, but they are not supposed to become active while inside the pancreas. This is when chronic inflammation of the pancreas can occur, which can be extremely painful.

 

It is estimated that approximately 80,000 cases of pancreatitis are reported every year. The good news is that there are a number of treatment options. For those with chronic pancreatitis, nutrition plays a big part in treatment. Through proper diet and nutrition, patients with pancreatitis can maintain normal blood sugar levels, prevent malnutrition, and also help prevent (or manage) other conditions associated with pancreatitis, such as diabetes and complications with the kidney.

 

For more information about pancreatitis and pancreatitis treatment options, visit the top gastroenterologist in Los Angeles, Dr. Siamak Tabib.

Foods to Avoid, Limit, or Eleminate

Patients with chronic pancreatitis should avoid, limit, and/or eliminate the following:

 

• Red meat (and meats with a lot of animal fat) and organ meats

 

• Greasy, deep-fried foods

 

• Processed snack foods (like potato chips)

 

• Fatty additives (like mayonnaise, margarine, butter)

 

• Refined and processed sugars, including beverages (like sodas) and desserts

 

• Alcohol (with complete abstinence if the pancreatitis is the result of alcohol consumption)

 

It is important to avoid the above foods, as they can often times cause pancreatitis flare-ups. Additionally, they force the body to work overtime to process these types of foods. It is not uncommon for pancreatitis patients to also develop diabetes, since diabetes has to do with pancreas function. By regulating the amount of refined sugars in the diet, you will help prevent major spikes in the blood sugar levels.

 

In addition to the above foods to avoid and/or eliminate, it is highly recommended that pancreatitis patients avoid smoking any kind of tobacco products.

Foods to Eat

The diet for a pancreatitis patient ideally should consist of the following:

 

• Foods that are rich in protein (particularly lean, low-fat protein), such as chicken, fish, turkey, beans, and lentils.

 

• Nutrient-dense unprocessed foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Spinach, blueberries, and cherries can help to protect your organs from damage.

 

• Low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives (such as almond milk)

 

By sticking to these foods, you help your pancreas and kidneys from having to work so hard to digest and process the substances within your body. Additionally, you will help to naturally regular the amount of vitamins your body is receiving, since a number of necessary vitamins and nutrients will be naturally found in these types of foods. It is not uncommon for pancreatitis patients to experience vitamin deficiencies if they are not eating the right foods and testing vitamin levels and regulating certain vitamin deficiencies with vitamin supplements.

Tips for Pancreatitis Patients

Below are some helpful tips for pancreatitis patients, while adjusting to their dietary changes:

 

• First, and foremost, you should always check with your physician before changing your eating habits. Your physician should be able to provide you a suggested list of foods to stick with and answer any questions that you may have about what you specifically should (or should not) eat.

 

• Try to eat more frequently, but with smaller portions. It is easier on the body’s digestive system and the digestion process to handle a more frequent intake of food, than two or three large meals per day. You may also benefit from not feeling extremely hungry or full!

 

• Avoid eating too much fiber, as too much fiber can slow down digestion and can reduce the effectiveness of the digestive enzymes you have to break down your food.

 

• Regular monitor your vitamin levels through regular blood tests. By doing this, your doctor can help advise you about where you may be deficient and require supplements. Taking a daily multivitamin supplement can help to replenish your body of vitamins it may be lacking.

Gastroenterologist in Los Angeles

If you or someone you know suffers from pancreatitis, there are pancreatitis treatment options available. Call the offices of Dr. Siamak Tabib today at (310)-652-4472 to schedule a free consultation. Dr. Tabib is an experienced gastroenterologist in Los Angeles. He and his team have helped patients with both acute and chronic pancreatitis. Contact us today!

How Does an Upper Endoscopy Work?

Are you experiencing symptoms of nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, or severe indigestion? What about abdominal pain? Do you have a discomfort in your digestive tract that is preventing you from eating or breathing normally?

 

An endoscopy is the perfect procedure for assessing and diagnosing any ailments relating to the digestive system. In particular, an upper endoscopy can entail a deeper look into the stomach, duodenum, and esophagus to find out what’s going on. Dr. Siamak Tabib is a qualified and highly rated gastroenterologist in Los Angeles with the better health of your digestive tract at heart. If you are looking to schedule an endoscopy procedure, you can read more to find out exactly what the service entails.

 

In this article, you’ll find out who can be a qualifying candidate for an endoscopy, and the details of the endoscopy procedure itself. If you ever have any further questions or concerns, please never hesitate to contact us!

Who is a Good Candidate for an Upper Endoscopy?

There are a wide variety of patients who may need an endoscopy, for a diversity of reasons. Candidates are typically those who are experiencing any adverse symptoms in the stomach, esophagus, or digestive tract.

 

An endoscopy can be performed to diagnose:

 

• Celiac Disease
• Crohn’s Disease
• Constipation
• Diarrhea
• Duodenal Ulcers
• Gastroenteritis
• Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
• And many more ailments

 

Good candidates for this quick and easy endoscopic procedure are generally:

 

• Experiencing digestive problems
• Having trouble swallowing or digesting food
• Experiencing rapid weight loss
• Having nausea, vomiting, or retching
• Diagnosed with pre-existing digestive conditions

Who is NOT a Good Candidate for an Upper Endoscopy?

While most patients an easily qualify for an upper endoscopy, there are a few reasons why it may be unsafe for an individual to undergo such a procedure. Since the procedure does require sedation, those with allergies to medication or any existing or medical conditions may not be eligible for the procedure. Pregnancy may also deny candidacy for an upper endoscopy.

How Upper Endoscopies Work

 

Before the Procedure

 
Before the procedure itself begins, there is some preparation work that you’ll have to do at home. Since the endoscopy will be looking at the stomach and esophagus, it is required that these be empty before the procedure. This means that you can’t eat or drink anything for a while beforehand. Make sure to get plenty of rest the night before your procedure as well.

 

As mentioned before, upper endoscopies require sedation. This means that Dr. Tabib will give you the necessary medications needed to sedate you. As soon as you have properly fallen under the effects of sedation, you are ready for the procedure.

 

During the Procedure

 
Fortunately, an upper endoscopy procedure only takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Dr. Tabib will insert a thin tube (the endoscope) into your mouth, where it will go all the way down into your intestinal tract. The endoscope is used as a sort of camera that transmits 3D images to a monitor screen.

 

Using this method, Dr. Tabib will be able to examine your stomach, esophagus, and duodenum, which is the upper part of the upper intestines. He will take a look at the lining of the stomach, the folds of tissue, and other parts of the organs as well. In particular, he will be looking for inflammation, bleeding, or tears. In some cases, he may even want to perform a biopsy by taking some tissue samples from the stomach. This is only in cases of severe bleeding or inflammation, however.

 

After the Procedure

 
After the endoscopy procedure is complete, you will need to remain resting at the endoscopy center until the effects of sedation wear off. For you, this will be a nice time to relax and take it slow. Once the medicine has worn off, you are cleared to go home. Dr. Tabib may give you additional instructions on a case-by-case basis.

 

Remember to never drive yourself to or from your appointment – it’s illegal to drive when you had sedation done! Bring a friend or family member to assist you to ensure your best safety and comfort.

Gastroenterologist in Los Angeles

Are you experiencing pain or irritations in your upper intestines? Are you having problems digesting food, or do you feel nauseous? If so, you may be a good candidate for an upper endoscopy from a gastroenterologist in Lost Angeles. Dr. Tabib and our professional staff members are happy to assist you at your earliest convenience. You can visit our website for more information, and give us a call at (310) 652-4472 to set an appointment.

What Are the Most Difficult Foods to Digest?

The composition of some foods makes them difficult to digest and it can cause unpleasant symptoms of bloating, cramps, diarrhea, or upset stomach. Below is a list of foods to avoid when you’re having digestive problems.

 

For more eating tips and gastrointestinal treatments, allow Dr. Siamak to answer any questions you may have. As the premier gastroenterologist in Los Angeles, Dr. Tabib takes pride in making every patient feel comfortable before proceeding with treatment.

 Wheat, Barley and Rye Products

As people make healthier choices in their diet, a common restriction is gluten-free. Products such as wheat, barley and rye contain gluten, which is a protein some people find difficult to digest. These ingredients can be commonly found in pasta, bread, baked goods, and cereal as well as gravy, salad dressings, sauces, beer, broth, fried foods, and season snack foods.

 

If you are sensitive to gluten products, you may experience lack of energy, mental fatigue, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. For a gluten-free diet, consider milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and gluten-free grains such as quinoa and millet.

Dairy Products

Some people are lactose intolerant, which makes it difficult for them to break down lactose into simple sugars for their body to absorb. Without enough lactase to break down lactose in their body, undigested lactose passes into their large intestine where bacterial fermentation produces gas, bloating and stomach cramps. Products to avoid include diary-based products, milk, soft cheeses, butter, ice cream, instant mashed potatoes, cakes, custard and some chocolate.

 

If you are lactose intolerant, consider lactose-free products, lactase tablets with your first bite of lactose-containing foods or diary alternatives such as plant-based milk (almond milk, soy milk, etc.).

Foods That Cause Acidic Reflux

Some foods cause digestive difficulties because they relax or weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is located at the bottom of your esophagus. The LES prevents acid reflux which occurs when food and stomach acid back up from your stomach into your esophagus. Such foods include:

 

• Fatty foods, which slow down the digestive process and worsen constipation or speed up movement, leading to diarrhea.
• Fried foods, which work the same ways a fatty foods — they move, undigested particles through the body too quickly, leading to diarrhea or the opposite causing constipation.
• Citrus foods such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit irritate the stomach lining.
• Spicy foods stimulate the digestive system. If you’re experiencing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, avoid food choices with spice levels.
• Caffeinated foods stimulate gastrointestinal tract, making contents move more quickly through your system. If you already have diarrhea, caffeine will only worsen your digestive problem. Avoid foods that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.

 

If you have acid reflux, you may experience heartburn, inflamed vocal cords, chronic cough, and pain that mimics chest pain.

Processed Foods

Processed foods lack fiber, which helps regulate bowel movement. Processed foods also contain preservatives and artificial coloring. These additives increase constipation as they are more difficult to break down and digest.

Artificial Sweetener

Sorbitol, an artificial sweetener that is hard-to-digest is often found in some fruits such as prunes, apples and peaches. Once sorbitol reaches the large intestines, it can upset the stomach creating gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Spoiled Foods

Spoiled foods contain bacteria like salmonella and E. coli that can pass from raw meat to veggies and fruits. Eating spoiled foods can cause digestive problems or worsen existing ones, including diarrhea, vomiting or constipation. To prevent this, look for dated items like eggs, dairy products, produce and meat. If you eat spoiled foods and experience food poisoning, you may feel muscle pain, fatigue and abdominal cramps.

Gastroenterologist in Los Angeles

If you suffer from digestive problems, schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist in Los Angeles for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan. Dr. Tabib has extensive knowledge of the stomach and digestive tract and will be able to recommend the treatment that will be best for you.

How Can You Stop Bleeding in Your Digestive Tract?

What is Gastrointestinal Bleeding?

Gastrointestinal bleeding, or GI bleeding, can happen in virtually any area of the digestive tract. It can occur in the stomach, esophagus, intestines, anus, or rectum. However, the bleeding is not easily noticed. It may start suddenly and only last a short while, or happen more than once and frequently.

Causes of GI Bleeding

  • Small growths of tissue known as polyps

  • Ulcers caused by alcohol abuse, NSAIDS, or H. pylori infection

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Anal fissure

  • Inflammation of the intestines, stomach lining, or esophagus

  • Diseases such diverticulosis, cancer, colitis, or Crohn’s disease

GI Bleeding Diagnosis and Treatment

GI bleeding may suddenly stop all on its own. You may need an endoscopy, which is a procedure used to find and treat GI bleeding. An endoscope is a special bendable tube with a camera and light on the end that passes through the digestive tract through either the mouth or rectum, based on where the bleeding occurs. In some cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary if a great deal of blood is lost. Certain medicines or sometimes surgery is used to stop bleeding.

When You Should Contact Your Doctor

  • Experiencing heavy abdominal swelling or pain, vomiting, or nausea.

  • Bowel movements are black or tarry.

  • You experience severe heartburn or other stomach acid issues.

  • You are generally concerned about your digestive conditions.

As a patient, you have the right to ask any questions about your health care. Learn about your specific health condition and how it can be successfully treated. Openly discuss various treatment options with your healthcare practitioner in order to make a sound decision on what care you would like to receive. Prior to following any course of therapy, it’s best to talk to a Gastroenterologist Los Angeles patients depend on, to ensure that treatment is both effective and safe for you.

Schedule a consultation with gastroenterologist to learn how to stop bleeding in your digestive tract or if you want to find out more information about your treatment options.