Millions of people are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) every year making it one of the most common gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. Despite its prevalence, there remain many misconceptions about IBS among both patients and doctors. Here we review some basic concepts in hopes of demystifying this nebulous syndrome. What is IBS? Irritable bowel syndrome is defined by a constellation of symptoms including abdominal pain and altered bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation) ...

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It’s been a long day, and you just want to decompress. My boyfriend tells me about his day. I get to hear about the insane amount of reading he has to do for graduate school, or about the occasional annoying customer he’s had to deal with at his part-time job as a bank teller. When it’s my turn to decompress, I usually gripe about a patient or two from the ...

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Parents are appropriately expressing concern about the safety of Miralax®, a commonly used stool softener in kids, after a recent New York Times article exposed a potential association with long-term use of the drug and undesired behavioral side effects. As the article explains, the FDA has awarded a research grant to a team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to directly address these concerns. Miralax® has been used ...

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The really incredible advances in the treatment of hepatitis C bring to life several relevant questions as we move forward into 2015. First, who should be treating hepatitis C patients (primary care providers, gastroenterologists, infectious disease specialists)? Second, can we really afford to use these new treatments? I recently discussed this topic with my GI and hepatology colleagues in AGA Perspectives, the bi-monthly opinion magazine of the
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I see patients with abdominal pain every day. Over my career, I’ve sat across the desk facing thousands of folks with every variety of stomach ache imaginable. I’ve listened to them, palpated them, scanned them, scoped them and at times referred them elsewhere for another opinion. With this level of experience, one would suspect that I have become a virtual sleuth at determining the obvious and stealth causes of abdominal ...

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medpagetodayFrom MedPage Today:

  1. NSAIDs Linked to Leaks After GI Surgery. Postoperative nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use was associated with anastomotic leak after nonelective colorectal surgery.
  2. More Nurses May Mean Fewer Deaths in ICU. A high nurse to patient ratio in intensive care units was independently associated with a lower risk of in-hospital ...

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Last year, I underwent a colectomy, a surgery that removed my entire colon. Afterwards, I had to wear a temporary waste-collecting pouch attached to my abdomen known as an ostomy. Until my next surgery, I was now an “ostomate.” One of the early side-effects of the surgery was that I was prone to bouts of severe dehydration that left me hospitalized for a few days. During one of my dehydration-related ...

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Colonoscopy is the most effective test for the detection and prevention of colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. An estimated 14 million colonoscopies are performed in the United States every year. About 20 to 40 percent of these colonoscopies have inadequate bowel preparation according to multiple studies. Inadequate bowel preparation is costly to the patient, the health care system, and society. In one study, poor ...

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Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), the new hepatitis drug manufactured and marketed by Gilead Sciences, has garnered considerable media attention over the last several months. The drug was approved by the FDA in December after phase III clinical trials showed it was highly effective in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection. In fact, with an overall SVR (sustained virologic response) of 90 percent for the genotypes studied, Sovaldi may represent a cure for many of the 3.2 million Americans afflicted ...

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She arrived by ambulance in the middle of the night, awake, alert, and bleeding like crazy. We’d gotten a call earlier in the evening that she was on her way from a small hospital about forty miles to the north. We were the big city hospital, and an attending physician had agreed to have her transferred for a life-saving procedure, in this case a shunt that might stop her bleeding. People ...

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