Diverticulitis is a common and sometimes serious problem that affects several hundred thousand people each year. Diverticulitis is the condition where small outpouchings or “pockets” in the wall of the large intestine called diverticula become inflamed and infected, and typically presents as a constant lower abdominal pain, associated with fever or chills, and often bloating or constipation symptoms. Despite becoming even more common in recent years, not much is understood ...

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“I’m not really a pill person.” “I was never one for all those pills.” “I don’t really like taking those pills.” “I’m not really into taking pills.” As a doctor, I hear some version of this phrase every day. It’s almost accusatory, like “Hey, Doc — don’t even think about pushing all those pills on me!” Luckily, since I am a gastroenterologist, I don’t dispense nearly as many medications as doctors in some other fields ...

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Did you know that married men have a lower colorectal cancer mortality when compared to unmarried men? What about the fact that married men have higher rates of colorectal cancer screening? Interesting, right? In fact, studies showing the association between marriage and favorable behavior regarding colon cancer screening have been published as early as 2010. More recently, a study published in the journal Preventive Medicine found that married men are ...

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I’ll just start this off by saying that I am not exactly sure where I stand on the white coat thing. One part of me loves the white coat as a symbol, a shield against disease, and a place with pockets to put my things; and then there are other days when I just want to throw that germ-ridden cotton barrier to the doctor-patient relationship in the trash, roll up my sleeves, ...

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Although it is still early, 2016 is already shaping up to be a year to remember in science: Long-postulated gravitational waves were finally discovered, the CDC scrambles to battle Zika virus on multiple continents, and long-awaited clinical testing begins for a new HIV vaccine. But these accomplishments all pale in comparison to the monumental study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology titled “Anal Intercourse and Fecal ...

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Your primary care doctor has been nagging you for years. Your wife and brother seem to be in on the scheme too. Every once and a while one of your coworkers even says (with a chuckle) “C’mon Bob, you’re fifty-seven, you really need to get it done!” “OK, enough,” you finally say, “I’ll go for a colonoscopy!” So at your next visit you ask your primary doctor how to set it ...

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Me: Hello Mrs. Smith, my name is [BEEP!] Dr. Gandolfo and I am a [BEEP!] gastroenterologist. [BEEP!] Your doctor wanted me to [BEEP!] talk to you about something that showed up on [BEEP!] your CT scan. Mrs. Smith: Who are you? I [BEEP!] didn’t hear your name? Me (louder): It’s Fred Gandolfo, I am the [BEEP!] stomach doctor. [BEEP!] I need to talk to you about [BEEP!] that CT scan you had.  You see, there was … [BEEP!] [BEEP!] [BEEP!] Can you straighten your ...

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Everywhere you go, you can see people from all walks of life sporting some pretty cool tattoos. Tattoos are so popular nowadays that they’re almost conformist. I consider myself really hip since I don’t have any tattoos; how avant-garde! However, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate good ink when I see it. As a matter of fact, I even dabble as a tattooist sometimes. It is common practice to leave a permanent tattoo at ...

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Overtesting and over treatment are big problems in modern medicine.  It sometimes goes like this: Have a minor complaint? It’s probably nothing, but we should do an exhaustive workup because there is a 0.00001 percent chance it could be cancer, maybe. However, if you happen to be that one patient in 10 million that had cancer, and we actually found it early by aggressive testing, then you would be glad you went for ...

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Here is a question I get asked all the time by patients: “Is that bad?” This is different than the similar, more appropriate question, “Is it bad?” which is usually asked after being given a specific diagnosis.  For example, after a colonoscopy where a large polyp was discovered and removed I will tell the patient about the findings.  He may ask, “Is it bad?” The answer is usually “No, the polyp ...

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