6种对您的肠胃好的超级食物

您所摄入的食物对您的肠道菌群的影响扮演者重要的角色,因此您所选择的食物是确保肠道健康的关键。高糖分以及过量加工食品会导致肠道发炎以及易于受感染,而天然食品却能支援您的消化道健康。

超级食物提供重要的营养素与维生素以促进身体健康,甚至有助于修复您的肠道。它们也能够互相扶持您的整个身子需求。

不妨尝试在您饮食种包含以下的超级食物:

  1. 鸡蛋

不像以前的研究报告,摄入适量的鸡蛋并不会提高您的胆固醇。鸡蛋富含营养素如维生素A、胆碱、铁质和磷。鸡蛋也含有两种强化抗氧化物成分既是叶黄素和玉米黄素,有助于支援眼部健康及保护视力。

烹饪鸡蛋的方法有很多类型,例如西式蛋饼、荷包蛋和烘烤。您也可以水煮一批鸡蛋,当作触手可及的零嘴。

浆果类除了含高纤维,它也富含矿物质、维生素和抗氧化物。这些营养拥有强烈的消炎功效,有助于扶持体内因运动不足、不健康饮食和压力所致的发炎。再加上,浆果类也含低卡路里,所以不妨将它加入您的各种饮食种。

  • 浆果类

浆果例子包括草莓、黑莓、覆盆子、蔓越莓和蓝莓。您可以把它加入您的早晨麦片、冰沙、酸奶或甚至当作零嘴生吃。

  • 蒜米

一个常用的烹调材料,蒜米因含有医疗功效已被采用了几个世纪。蒜米是维生素B5、锰、纤维、维生素C和硒的来源。蒜米以促进白细胞增殖来提升身体的免疫功能,这有效于抵抗疾病以及减少有害的低密度胆固醇和高血压。基本上,蒜米的抗氧化、抗菌和抗病毒的特征,是维持健康身体的超级食物。

  • 深色绿叶蔬菜

深色绿叶蔬菜如菠菜、芜菁叶、羽衣甘蓝和宽叶羽衣甘蓝是最佳的铁质、纤维、锌、镁、钙质和维生素C营养资源。它们也富含胡萝卜素,一种能预防特定癌症的抗炎成分。它们也有能力降低慢性疾病如第二型糖尿病和心血管疾病的风险。

您可以直接把它们加入沙拉或加点橄榄油、香料和调味料翻炒它。这类型的蔬菜也能够加入炖汤内一起烹饪。

  • 克非尔(也称牛奶酒)

发酵食品如克非尔富含益生菌和酵素,促进均衡的菌群从而得到健康的肠道。益生菌有助于缓解IBS症以及促进体内菌群平衡。克非尔也有其他对健康有益的作用,例如拥有消炎效果、降低血压、减少胆固醇以及改善消化功能,这是因为克非尔含有维生素B、蛋白质、钾盐等。

  • 坚果和种子

坚果和种子装在各种植物化合物内包含着抗氧化物和抗炎功效,有助于抵抗氧化应激。坚果和种子也富含纤维和对心脏有益的脂肪,从而能够降低心血管疾病的风险。

一般常见的坚果和种子包括奇亚籽、杏仁、腰果、核桃、亚麻籽、大麻籽、澳洲坚果和开心果。您可以加入满手的坚果和种子到您的酸奶、早晨麦片或燕麦或甚至当作零嘴来食用。它们也可成为很好的煮熟蔬菜和沙拉配角。

超级事物的列表永无止境,所以最佳的健康是必须与每天食用多种类型的营养食品来搭配。您可以尝试并入以上所介绍的超级食物在您的均衡饮食中,作为整体健康和预防疾病的主要方法。

若您患有消化道疾病如溃疡性结肠炎,有些食物例如汽水、乳制品、干果和高纤维食物可能会刺激一些临床表现如直肠疼痛、腹痛和体重下降。溃疡性结肠炎是导致肠道黏膜发炎和溃疡的疾病,需要进行结肠镜检查以减轻其临床表现和症状。

如果您有饮食上的顾虑或想了解更多适合您健康情况的食物,您可以咨询营养师或新加坡的肠胃科医生

您需要知道有关结肠癌检查的五项事

结肠癌病例在新加坡逐年升高,定期进行结肠癌检查能够趁早发现患有结肠癌的可能性。结肠癌,也称为大肠癌、结肠直肠癌是本地男性的第一号癌症杀手,也是女性当中排名第二的常见癌症。

由于它既便宜又简单,粪便免疫化学试验(FIT) 是世界各地常用的检测方法。新加坡防癌协会通过癌症检测计划,每年都会分发粪便免疫化学检验器(简称FIT检验)以预防结肠直肠癌。FIT检验器也可以在常见诊疗所或药行以低价格索取。

若您的粪便免疫化学试验(FIT)是阳性,建议您进行更仔细地检测 —— 结肠镜检测。以这种策略(使用FIT检验)足以降低因癌症的死亡病例。然而,有些关于结肠癌检查的重要事项,您必须懂。

结肠镜检查比较有效

FIT检测检出癌症的敏感性为 80%,检出大肠息肉的敏感性为 20% – 30%。这代表FIT一次的检测10个大肠息肉中有7个可能无法检出,而10次结肠癌可能有2次漏检。这就与结肠镜检查形成鲜明的对比。专业的肠胃科医生较为能够在第一次的结肠镜检查中就检测出大部分的息肉与结肠癌。结肠镜检查不被推荐为主要的检测方案是因为检测费用较为昂贵。

输水式结肠镜检查

这较新的方法是病人在插管时不再吹入二氧化碳而是以输水方式的结肠镜检查方法。这种方式减少镇静剂的使用量也增加了结肠镜检查插管的安全性。

使用冷圈套息肉切除术(CSP)

当肠胃科专家使用冷圈套息肉切除术去除小息肉,导致大肠穿孔及出血的几率比较低。由此可见,全球专家使用这种方法的趋势也逐日上升。

专家的技术很重要

肠胃科医生是专门执行内窥镜检查,特别是结肠癌检查的专业人士。受过良好训练的肠胃科医生应该要有较高的结肠镜检查次数、能够平均在5分钟内将结肠镜推进至盲肠、 撤回结肠镜时至少花费6分钟检查结肠及拥有至少25%的腺瘤检出率(ADR)。

我应该何时进行结肠镜检查?

指南中最新提出,对无特殊风险的普通人群,检查开始的年龄,由原先推荐的50岁开始检查,提前至45岁开始检查, 提早了5年。主要原因是结肠癌新发病例,趋于年轻化,年轻人中越来越常见。当然推荐检查年龄与检测费用必须两者平衡。若费用负担得起,检查就可以趁早进行。结肠癌检查必须包含在体检程序中才算是完整的健康检查。对于特殊高风险人群(包括曾有肠癌、特定息肉病的家族史和/或个人病史)应该寻求专家推荐进行结肠癌检查的年龄。

How do i get Hepatitis B And What Are The Risk Factors i should be awared of?

Hepatitis B (HBV) is virus that primarily causes inflammation of the liver. It can lead to scarring of the organ, chronic infection, liver failure and liver cancer. If it isn’t treated, it can be fatal. One can become a chronic carrier if the infection lasts for more than six months.

HBV can spread commonly through:

  • Sexual contact – There is likelihood of contracting hepatitis B if you have unprotected sex with an infected person. The virus can be passed to you if the person’s saliva, blood, vaginal secretions or semen enter your body.
  • Sharing of needles – Needles and syringes that are contaminated with infected blood can spread HBV easily. You can face a high risk of hepatitis B if you share IV drug paraphernalia.
  • Needlestick injuries – HBV is a concern for healthcare workers, and people who work with hypodermic syringes and other needle equipment, and come in contact with human blood. They are wounds caused by needles that puncture the skin accidentally, that typically occur during usage, disassembly or disposal of needles.
  • Mother to child – Women who are pregnant and infected with Hepatitis B can pass the virus to their infant during childbirth. However, the newborn can receive vaccinations to avoid getting the infection. Pregnant women or women who want to become pregnant should talk to their doctors about being tested for Hepatitis B.

Risk factors of Hepatitis B

The virus spread through contact with body fluids like blood and semen from an infected person. The risk of HBV infection increases if you:

  • Share needles during IV drug use
  • Have unprotected sex with someone who is infected with HBV or with more than one sex partner
  • Are a man who has sex with other men
  • Work in a job with exposure to human blood
  • Travel to regions with increased HBV infection rates such as Asian, Eastern Europe, the Pacific Islands and Africa

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

There are often no symptoms of Hepatitis B, but it can also feel like other illnesses such as the flu. Hence, it is possible to have the infection and not know it. When they do appear, the symptoms usually show up about one to four months after being infected.

The signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark-coloured urine
  • Pale-coloured bowel movements

Seeing a Doctor

Head to a clinic and see a doctor immediately if you know you have been exposed to hepatitis B. Within 24 hours of exposure to the virus, a preventive treatment may help reduce your risk of infection. If you are showing symptoms, your doctor will examine for signs of liver damage such as belly pain and yellowing skin.

The tests that can help diagnose hepatitis B are:

  • Blood tests to detect signs of the virus in the body, and assess whether it’s acute or chronic
  • Liver ultrasound can show the amount of liver damage
  • Liver biopsy involves a small tissue sample of the liver for testing to check for liver damage

This article is written by Dr Chong Chern Hao, a gastroenterology specialist in Singapore.

What Is Jaundice And How It Can Be Treated

Jaundice occurs when there are high levels of bilirubin in the blood, causing the skin or whites of the eyes to turn yellow. This condition, called hyperbilirubinemia, is caused when there is a problem in any of the 3 phases during bilirubin production and metabolism.

Bilirubin is produced when the red blood cells is broken down and carried in the bloodstream to the liver where it binds with bile. Then, it is moved into the digestive tract, through the bile ducts, where it will be eliminated from the body, mostly in stools but a small amount in urine too. Thats why your urine and stool looks yellowish. When bilirubin cannot be moved quickly enough through the liver and bile ducts, the result is a build-up in the blood which gets deposited in the skin, leading to jaundice.

Causes of Jaundice

There are many causes of jaundice that contribute to these factors:

  • Bile duct obstruction
  • Bilirubin elimination problem
  • Liver damage
  • Massive destruction of red blood cells, which increaseas bilirubin production than what the liver can metabolized

Conditions that affect the excretion of bilirubin include:

  • Viruses attacking liver– Hepatitis A, Chronic Hepatitis B and C
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Medicines – NSAIDs, Antibiotics, Acetaminophen

Conditions that may cause an obstruction along biliary tract that prevents the flow of bile into the intestines:

  • Cholecystitis
  • Gallstones
  • Gallbladder Cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer)

Symptoms of Jaundice

The obvious characterization of jaundice is yellow-tinted skin and eyes. You may also have dark urine and light-colored stools. Other symptoms include vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, weight loss, and skin itching (pruritus).

It is important to not misdiagnose yourself when you experience yellow skin only, as it may be due to excess beta carotene in your system. It is an antioxidant found in foods such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. Too much of this antioxidant is not a cause of jaundice.

Look out for warning signs and more serious symptoms like stomach pain and tenderness, blood in vomit or stools, tendency to bruise or bleed easily, and changes in mental function such as confusion, drowsiness or agitation.

How is Jaundice Evaluated and Diagnosed?

When you visit a clinic in Singapore, your doctor will perform a physical examination and carry out blood tests to confirm the presence of jaundice and further determine its cause. Usually, imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) are done to detect blockages in the bile ducts. Sometimes, a biopsy may be required if certain causes are suspected or when the diagnosis is unclear after receiving the results of other tests. Treatments for jaundice depend on the cause identified.

FASTEST WAY To Boost Your Dietary Fiber Intake

Having an adequate fiber intake can bring many health benefits and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Found in foods, fibers can help in improving digestion, blood glucous levels, and lowering the risk of certain types of cancer and arthritis. Depending on the type of fiber, it also regulates blood sugar, helps with weight control and reduces constipation symptoms.

Seeing how essential dietary fiber is and the various health benefits it brings, here’s some quick, easy ways to incorporate fibrous foods into your daily diet with minimal effort.

  • Snack on fruits

Individual pieces of fruit make great snacks and they are portable and tasty. Some fruits have significantly more fiber than others. High-fiber fruits include apples, berries and pears. They can also be paired with foods that contain protein and/or fat such as cheese or nut butter, and improve fullness.

  • Eat the veggies first in meals

Vegetables are full of minerals, vitamins and fiber and offer plenty of health benefits including lowering your risk of several chronic diseases. It is a good strategy to eat your vegetables before a meal so you are able to eat more of them. Non-starchy vegetables such as artichokes, baby corn, Chinese spinach and carrots are high in nutrients and fiber while being low in calories.

  • Choose whole grains over refined grains

Due to the fact that whole grains are minimally processed, they are still intact with their germ, bran and hull, making them more nutritious. On the other hand, refined grains are only left with a fast-absorbing carb with the most nutritious parts taken away. Replace the refined grains with whole-grain versions in your diet, such as whole-wheat pasta or whole-wheat bread. You can also try oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and barley.

  • Snack on nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds make for a heart-healthy snacks and are full of beneficial nutrients, protein and fiber. They are also versatile foods and shelf-stable, making them ideal to snack on during the day. They can also be added in recipes to add extra fiber and nutrition to your meals.

  • Include beans and legumes in your diet

Legumes and beans contain a wide variety of nutrients and they are rich in fiber, vitamins, protein and minerals. They also have a positive impact on the gut microbiome and may reduce the risk of chronic disease. For example, a cup of cooked beans can meet up to 75% of your daily fiber requirements. Try chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, alfafa, tamarind, red kidney beans and lupins.

You can adopt the strategies mentioned above to help boost your fiber intake to optimal amounts. Having a balanced intake is crucial so you can receive the benefits for your health. You can also consult with a dietitian or gastroenterology specialist in Singapore to learn more about incorporating more dietary fiber and boost your gut health.

This article is written by Dr Chong Chern Hao, He is a gastroenterologist in Singapore specializing in various gastrointestinal disorder and liver disease.

What Lives Inside Your Gut: Microbiome And How To Boost It

The gut microbiome is an expansive community of trillions of bacteria that lives in our gastrointestinal tract. Our microbial ecosystems have a major influence on parts of our body such as immune system, body weight, metabolism, mood and appetite. Throwing them off balance can cause us to fall sick, and some illnesses can also disrupt our microbial ecosystems.

Our microbiome can also change throughout our lives as our environment, long-term diet and lifestyle factors continuously play a role as we age. We also have varying gut microbiome which explains why people might have different responses towards the same foods. As researchers learn more about microbes and how it keeps us healthy, there is also an understanding that richer and more diverse gut microbes can help lower the risk of allergies and diseases.

So what can you do to maintain healthy gut flora and increase the number of good bacteria in your body? Start with these diet tips to give your microbiome a healthy boost.

Fermented foods

Fermented foods have been receiving a lot of attention for its various health-promoting attributes, and are known to be beneficial on the gut flora through a probiotic effect. These foods are fermented using natural processes which boost the nutritional values and probiotics, which are live microorganisms essential in healthy digestion. Try kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, unsweetened yoghurt, and soybean-based products like tempeh.

Polyphenol-rich foods

Polyphenols are found in plants and they refer to naturally-occurring compounds. According to researchers, polyphenols act as a prebiotic-type substance and have an effect on the composition of the gut bacteria, increasing the number of healthy gut bacteria. Good choices are berries, nuts and seeds, broccoli, red onion, coffee and tea – especially green tea.

High-fibre vegetables

Once consumed, each type of plant becomes either soluble or insoluble when they enter our digestive system. Insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation symptoms and speeds up the waste’s movement through the digestive tract. Some soluble fibers are prebiotic, such as inulin and beta-glucan, which helps the good bacteria in our gut to thrive. Good examples are onions and garlic, artichokes, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, broccoli and carrots.

It is crucial to increase your fiber intake gradually and drink plenty of fluids to ensure your waste movement in your digestive tract is going smoothly too. Too much fiber amount may cause bloating and stomach pain symptoms.

Cut down on sugar and artificial sweeteners

They are sugar substitutes commonly used as food additives and are also found diet soda and other soft drinks. Researchers found evidence that suggests consuming artificial sweeteners may adversely affect gut microbial activity which can pose a range of health issues. Consuming large amounts of sugar and sugary foods on a regular basis can be difficult on your gut to achieve a healthy microbiome.

When it comes down to the gut microbiome, our digestive systems plays a vital role in many areas of our health concerns such as immunity, mental health and metabolism. There may also be digestive symptoms such as chronic constipation and blood in stools that will require a colonoscopy to investigate them. Pay attention to what you are eating as your intestinal flora can influence your health in beneficial and harmful ways. You can also visit a gastroenterology specialist in Singapore to know more about your gut health.

The Silent Killer: The Truth About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the 5th and 6th most common cancer to take lives in men and women in Singapore, respectively. More than 80% of cases cannot be fully treated by the time of diagnosis. About 5% of pancreatic cancer patients live beyond five years, but only 1% survive beyond ten years. What is pancreatic cancer, and why is it so lethal?

What is pancreatic cancer?

The pancreas is an organ located in the upper abdomen, in between the stomach and the spine. The organ has two functions, which is to secrete enzymes to digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates (exocrine function); and to produce insulin and glucagon to regulate blood sugar levels (endocrine function).

Pancreatic cancer occurs when a tumour grows in part of the pancreas, hindering the normal function of the pancreas. In advanced stages of the illness, the growth of the tumour can also metastasise (spread) to other parts of the body, which makes total removal of cancer cells close to impossible.

There are two main types of pancreatic cancer, depending on which part of the pancreas the tumour begins to grow in. The more common and also more aggressive type is the exocrine pancreatic cancer, wherein the tumour affects the exocrine function of the pancreas. The less common variant is the endocrine pancreatic cancer, in which the tumour affects the endocrine function of the pancreas.

Why is pancreatic cancer so lethal?

Pancreatic cancer is said to be an aggressive and deadly illness because most of the patients who are diagnosed have little chance of survival. Here are some of the reasons why pancreatic cancer offers little hope for patients:

  • There is no known cause: There is no known cause for pancreatic cancer, making it difficult to identify people who are at-risk. While there are some factors found to have correlations to pancreatic cancer, such as a family history of pancreatic illness, smoking, and obesity, these are still much too general to effectively predict or narrow down people at risk of developing pancreatic cancer, such that early diagnosis can be made.
  • Symptoms are non-specific: Doctors list the symptoms of pancreatic cancer to be upper abdomen pain, jaundice, poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, malnutrition, and pale greasy stools, amongst others. However, these symptoms vary from case to case and are not specific to pancreatic cancer. This makes it difficult to immediately pinpoint the cause of symptoms to pancreatic cancer.
  • Symptoms arise when its already too late: Most cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed when it is already too late to be cured. This is because symptoms of pancreatic cancer often only arise at the later stages of cancer when the tumour has already grown quite large. At this point, the growth would have infiltrated nearby organs such as biliary ducts, liver, surrounding lymph nodes, blood vessels and bones, making it impossible to remove at the time of diagnosis.
  • There is no reliable screening method: Unlike breast cancer or colon cancer where diagnosis tests are relatively reliable and accessible, pancreatic cancer lacks a reliable and widely available test for the masses to conduct regular checks. This makes it difficult to detect pancreatic cancer at the early stages when it is still curable.

Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer continues to take lives with warnings that are too little and too late. What you can do is to maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk factors of pancreatic cancer, and keep a lookout for warning signs. If you would like to know more about pancreatic cancer, you can consult a gastroenterologist specialist to tell you more about its symptoms, diagnosis methods, and treatment options.

Know What Your Stools Are Telling You About Your Health

Bowel movement is a natural process that all humans undergo to eliminate wastes from the body. While some may dismiss it as a daily inconvenience, the appearance of one’s stools can be a useful indicator of one’s gastrointestinal health. Thus, it is good to have an idea of the different kinds of stools and what they tell you about your health.

What are stools?

Faeces excreted from the body consist of undigested food, proteins, bacteria, salts, and various other chemicals from the intestines. The appearance and smell of stools differ from person to person, although there are some characteristic trends for healthy and unhealthy faeces.

  •    Healthy stools

Healthy bowel movement should be easy and painless to pass. Normal stools should be log-shaped, brown to greenish in colour, and soft to firm in consistency.

Between 3 times a week up to 3 times a day is considered a normal frequency for passing stools. As this frequency varies from person to person, anything out of one’s usual routine can be a sign of something being amiss.

  •    Hard, lumpy stools

Small, pellet-shaped stools that require straining to pass is usually an indication of constipation. Constipation can be caused by a number of issues, such as stress, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and certain medications. However, in otherwise healthy individuals, hard, lumpy stools are likely to be a consequence of a lack of fibre. This problem can be solved by increasing the intake of dietary fibre and drinking more water.

  •    Very loose stools

Formless or watery stools, otherwise known as diarrhoea, can be a symptom of various conditions, such as food poisoning and stomach flu. Prolonged diarrhoea lasting more than a few days can be a sign of more serious issues like IBS, Crohn’s disease, or celiac disease.

Aside from getting to the root cause of diarrhoea, persons suffering from it should take extra care to stay hydrated by drinking water and electrolyte drinks, to counter dehydration and malabsorption of nutrients.

  •    Strange-smelling stools

Faeces naturally smell unpleasant due to the fermentation process that occurs in the intestines. However, stools that smell exceptionally foul may signal malabsorption of nutrients, causing excessive fermentation of undigested food. This could be a warning sign for conditions such as celiac disease, bacterial infections, or food intolerances.

  •    Blood in stools

Blood in stools can appear as red or black stools. Red stools may indicate bleeding in the lower intestinal tract, or bleeding due to hemorrhoids. A less alarming cause of red-tinted stools may be coloured foods consumed recently, such as beetroot, cranberries, or tomato juice.

Similarly, black stools may indicate bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, or be due to foods such as licorice, iron supplements, or bismuth medications. To ascertain if it is blood in your stools, first rule out the possibility of these foods being the cause of your red or black stools.

While the occurrence of hemorrhoids in Singapore is common and usually non-serious, blood in stools may signal a more serious problem that is worth a visit to your doctor sooner rather than later.

  •    Fatty, oily stools

Stools sometimes appear stinky, yellowish, and greasy due to high fat content. As a result, these oil-slicked stools tend to float rather than sink. This type of stools is a sign that the body is not absorbing fats from food properly, which may be contributed by pancreatic conditions, a gastrointestinal infection, or cystic fibrosis.

If these symptoms last for more than a few days, a visit to the doctor will be helpful to ascertain the cause of oily stools. While acute pancreatitis is usually short-lived and treatable, chronic cases cause prolonged discomfort and may increase the chances of contracting pancreatic cancer. You doctor will be able to advise you on relevant information such as options for pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer treatment in Singapore.

What should you do if you detect unusual changes in your stool?

Fleeting changes in stool appearance are normal in healthy persons, dependent on the day-to-day activities and diet of the individual. It only becomes a cause for concern when these unusual symptoms persist for more than a few days, or occurs alongside pain or other symptoms. A more urgent case is blood in stools – these should be checked out by your doctor if the bleeding lasts for more than two days without an apparent cause.

The first course of action when investigating unusual stools is to consult your doctor, who may refer you to a gastroenterologist specialist. To diagnose your condition, you may be required to provide a stool sample for clinical testing. Further examinations like an endoscopy may also be performed. After diagnosing the state of your health, the gastroenterologist can then dispense you advise for suitable treatments.

Potential Health Benefits Of Drinking Coffee For Your Liver

Our liver is vital to life and is the largest internal organ in the body. It performs many different functions for the body, including processing digested food and nutrients from the intestine, eliminating toxins from the bloodstream, and manufacturing proteins and enzymes responsible for the body’s chemical reactions. The complexity of the liver makes it susceptible to different diseases such as cirrhosis, hepatitis and fatty liver disease.

Liver disease is an important health issue; liver cancer is one of the most common cancer around the world. It is also a major cause of cancer-related deaths globally.

Benefits of consuming coffee

Studies have proven that having a cup of morning coffee might lower the risks of liver disease. Through epidemiological evidence, studies in patients who suffer from a variety of liver diseases have found that moderate coffee consumption brought a positive effect on limiting the progression rate of the disease.

In essence:

  • Moderate amounts of coffee consumption may help to lessen the risk of liver cancer, and the risk of developing liver cancer reduces as coffee consumption increases.
  • Patients with Hepatitis C who consumes more coffee, have a lower rate of disease progression as compared to those who drink lesser.
  • Drinking coffee moderately may also be related to a slower progression rate of chronic liver disease. Those who drink higher amounts of coffee were found to show a milder course of fibrosis, particularly in patients with alcohol-related liver disease.
  • Consumption of caffeine has been related to slower development of cirrhosis in patients who are scheduled to undergo liver biopsy.
  • The association between moderate consumption of coffee and a slower rate of fibrosis were also seen in patients with cirrhosis, fibrosis, Hepatitis C and non-alcohol related liver disease.

Aside from caffeine, several coffee components are also investigated for their benefits with the liver. Naturally-occurring compounds found in coffee, such as cafestol and kahweol, have revealed anti-carcinogenic properties, while caffeic acids and chlorogenic display anti-viral characteristics.

However you drink coffee, be it espresso, filtered or instant, you should keep in mind to avoid adding too much milk or sugar to prevent any other health complications. It is important to also remember that despite the fact that drinking coffee may provide benefits and reduce the risk of developing liver disease, as well as lower the progression risk for those who already suffer from some degree of liver damage.

The key messages for good liver health continue to be the same, such as reducing the amount of alcohol consumption, keeping to healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, doing regular exercises, and drinking plenty of water.

Cases of fatty liver is also on a rise among the younger population, where there is an abnormal accumulation of fats in the liver cells. It is prevalent in those with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. You can talk to a gastroenterology specialist in Singapore to address any health concerns regarding your liver.

What To Expect For An Endoscopy & How To Prepare For It

An endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure that involves inserting a long, thin tube directly into the body, commonly through the mouth or anus, to make observations on an organ or tissue in detail. The flexible tube has a camera and light attached to it so the doctor can visually examine your digestive tract on the TV monitor.

Through the endoscopy procedure, the doctor can evaluate and diagnose certain the cause of symptoms and therefore, recommend the appropriate treatment. It can also be used to carry out treatment directly and avoid the need for further surgery.

Different types of endoscopy

Gastroenterology specialists are specialized in endoscopy and they are the ones who will perform it. It can be a useful procedure to help in a broad array of medical conditions related to all parts of the digestive tract. There are generally 2 groups of digestive endoscopies.

General endoscopy helps to evaluate most digestive symptoms and recommend treatment, including procedures like:

  • Gastroscopy: Esophagus, stomach and small intestine (duodenum)
  • Colonoscopy: Large intestine and colon

Advanced endoscopy includes more complicated endoscopy types with higher risks of complications but often help patients avoid a more invasive surgery, namely:

  • ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography): Bile ducts and pancreatic ducts
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): The gastrointestinal (GI) tract and neighbouring organs

When will you need an endoscopy

There are mainly three reasons when endoscopy will be recommended to you.

1. Investigate symptoms and signs

Your doctor can take a look and investigate digestive signs and symptoms like persistent abdominal pain, difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), change of bowel habits, blood in stools and gastrointestinal bleeding.

2. Diagnose

A biopsy can be carried out using endoscopy to collect tissue samples and test for conditions and diseases such as ulcers, digestive tract bleeding, polyps or growths in the colon to prevent the development of colon cancer.

3. Treatment

It may also be used to treat problems in the digestive tract. Special tools and devices can be passed through the endoscope to remove bile stones, for example. If polyps are found in the colon, they can also be removed through endoscopy with standard polypectomy techniques. for the prevention of colon cancer development.

How to prepare for the procedure

Your doctor will share specific instructions in preparation for the endoscopy. Typically, you will need to fast for about 8 to 12 hours before the endoscopy so your stomach will be empty for the effectiveness of the procedure. Laxatives may also be taken on the previous night to clear your system for procedures investigating the gut. Remember to mention the supplements and medications you are currently taking so your doctor will advise you accordingly to stop taking or continue as per normal.

During the procedure

The procedure is usually an hour-long duration and won’t require an overnight hospital stay. A local anaesthetic is applied to numb a specific area of your body, such as the back of your throat. The endoscope will be inserted into your body openings, which depends on the examined area, i.e. throat, anus, or urethra. For insertion through the mouth, you will be asked to wear a mouth guard to protect the lips and teeth, and hold your mouth open.

You may feel some pressure during the insertion but generally, you shouldn’t feel pain. Images will be transmitted to the monitor for your doctor to view and look for abnormalities. Gentle air pressure may be added into your esophagus to allow the endoscope to move freely and examine your digestive tract easily.

A sedative will also be given to patients to help them to relax and be more comfortable, and have a good experience when going through the endoscopic examination. During the procedure, patients will not feel or remember the process but your doctor will ensure it is performed safely with adequate monitoring.

Due to the sedative, your judgement, reaction times, and memory may be impaired. Thus, arrange for someone to drive you home afterwards and plan for an additional 24 hours for the sedative effects to wear off before resuming work or other activities.

The risks and possible side effects

After endoscopy, you may experience mildly uncomfortable symptoms such as sore throat, cramping, bloating and gas. It is a relatively safe procedure with a low risk of serious complications. However, if you experience symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, vomiting blood, severe and persistent abdominal pain, it should be reported to a doctor.

Possible complications can include a minor infection in the area of investigation, persistent pain experienced in the endoscopy area, perforation (tearing) of an organ or internal bleeding.

5 Things About Colorectal Screening That You Must Know

With cases of colon cancer in Singapore on the rise, going for regular screening programs is crucial to help in an early detection of the cancer. Colon cancer, which also can be referred to as colorectal cancer, rectal cancer or bowel cancer, is the most common cancer affecting men and second most common cancer affecting women.

Stool test to look for microscopic blood, also known as FIT (fecal immunochemical test) is being used to screen for colorectal cancer nationwide. It is cheap and easily available. Singapore Cancer Society, through their cancer screening program, provides the kits free of charge. It is also available at very low cost at most family physicians’ clinic and polyclinics.

Anyone found with a positive FIT would then be advised to go for a colonoscopy. This strategy is proven to lower the cancer related death in the population. However, there are some facts that are really important to know regarding colorectal screening.

Colonoscopy Is Still Better

Each FIT only has a sensitivity of about 20-30% for detecting large polyps and about 80% for detecting colorectal cancer. In other words, if you only do FIT once, at least 7 out of 10 big polyps would not be detected and two out of ten cancer would be missed. This is is stark contrast with colonoscopy: All large polyps and colorectal cancers are expected to be diagnosed with a single colonoscopy done by a well trained gastroenterologist. The main reason preventing colonoscopy from being recommended as the main strategy is the cost involved.

Water-Assisted Colonoscopy

It is a new technique of doing colonoscopy, where water instead of air or CO2 is used to facilitate insertion of colonoscope into the colon. Water-assisted colonoscopy is more comfortable and it reduces the need for sedative medication and adds to the safety of colonoscopy.

Using Cold Snare For Polypectomy

The risk of perforation (causing a hole in the colon) reduces significantly when the gastroenterologist use cold snare to remove small polyps. This is a newer approach that is advocated by major professional bodies governing the use of colonoscopy world wide.

The Skills Of The Person Doing The Colonoscopy Matters The Most

This is highlighted repeatedly in all major guidelines governing the use of colonoscopy as a screening tool for colorectal cancer. The specialist that is trained specifically to do endoscopy including colonoscopy is called a gastroenterologist. The gastroenterologist should have a high volume of colonoscopy, a very short average cecal intubation time (<5 minutes), at least 6 minutes in withdrawal time and have at least 25% adenoma detection rate.

When Should I Go For Colorectal Screening?

For a while the recommendation is for an average risk person is to start screening at age of 50. This guideline has recently been changed in the United State and the age to start screening has been lowered to 45 because the age of onset of colorectal is decreasing over time. The recommended age to start screening is a balance between case detection and cost of screening. If cost is not an issue, screening can be done earlier. health screening is not complete without colorectal screening for most individual. For those with a higher risk of colorectal cancer, including people with family history and certain colon conditions, there should consult with doctors regarding the optimum age to begin screening.

Bloated Stomach, what to eat?

Most of us might be familiar with the feeling of a bloated stomach. It can be about of the occasional discomfort – after a heavy meal or just the case of the holiday tummy, but it can also be a sign to other belly woes. While the condition can appear alone, it is also generally associated with functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Bloating gives off a sensation that the tummy or abdomen is full, stretched and uncomfortable as it is mostly caused by air or built-up gas in the digestive system. Other accompanying symptoms to bloated stomach include abdominal pain, flatulence, constipation and diarrhoea. Those who suffer regularly from belly woes, a bloated stomach could also be related to other medical conditions like acid reflux or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

In some cases, stomach bloating can be cleared up by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle routine. Your diet especially, plays a huge role in regulating the amount of air and poop that is trapped inside your digestive tract. Read on and try some of the best foods to help battle a bloated stomach.

  1. Probiotics

These good bacteria that is gut-friendly for your digestive tract kills off bad bacteria that can cause digestive issues and symptoms. You can consume probiotics through natural probiotic foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir that can boost good levels of good gut bacteria. Alternatively, you can also take probiotic supplements to improve bloating.

  1. Peppermint

Peppermint is a popular herb choice to deal with digestive issues as it offers antispasmodic and digestive properties, thanks to the active ingredients menthol and menthone. Try a cup of peppermint tea the next time you are feeling bloating. The secretion of gastric juices and bile stimulated by peppermint can help to expel gas and beat the bloat fast. 

  1. Water-rich fruits and veggies

As an effective natural remedy, they are rich in beneficial enzymes as well as water and key electrolytes.

  1. Potassium-rich foods

High sodium intake could be the culprit behind your bloated stomach. Eating potassium-rich foods can help to counter sodium’s impact for your kidneys to flush out the excess salt and maintain the overall potassium-sodium level for water balance. Excellent sources of potassium include leafy greens, legumes, bananas and avocados.

  1. Herbs, spices and teas

The power of natural digestion-soothing herbs has been known for centuries to soothe an uncomfortable tummy. In addition to its healing properties, they help to relax the muscles in the digestive tract, relieving constipation and feeling of fullness. Try eating fresh-ground herbs such as rosemary, fresh peeled ginger root, and herbal teas to promote gut health.

Seeing The Doctor For Bloated Stomach

If the mentioned suggestions do not help to ease your symptoms of bloated stomach and they persist, consult with your doctor. As there are many different factors and disorders that can cause stomach bloating, it will be good to have some tests run by a specialist so more information can be gathered to determine the underlying issue and rule out a serious condition.

Dr Chong is highly experienced in providing care for digestive and liver disorders. A physical examination and tests may be conducted for our doctors to provide the recommendations accordingly for the treatment of bloated stomach.

Book your appointment at us today.

7 Foods To Avoid If You Have IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder where one experience changes in their bowel movements with symptoms like diarrhoea, constipation and abdominal pain. The medical condition of IBS in Singapore is a common occurrence. Aside from medical intervention which is important in the treatment of IBS, certain foods can also be a trigger to their condition. To manage IBS, it is advisable to eliminate some of the common foods that are more likely to cause or worsen digestive symptoms.

Certain foods high in fibre

Increasing your intake of fibre can worsen your IBS symptoms, particularly if you have gas and diarrhoea frequently. These include nuts, whole grains, broccoli, tomatoes and cabbage. However, you can try on sources of soluble fibre in produce items like carrots, berries, apples and oatmeal, which dissolve in water.

Gluten

Commonly found in grain products, gluten is a protein that can badly affect the intestines for people who are intolerant to gluten or experience IBS. Try to eliminate rye, barley and wheat-based products like cereal, bread and pasta from your diet and observe if your gastrointestinal problems improve

Lactose

For people who have dairy intolerance, they face a digestive problem in which their body is not able to digest sugars found in milk. As such, they may experience flatulency, bloating and bouts of diarrhoea. Avoids foods like cheese, yogurt, milk and ice cream.

High-fat foods

Foods with high fat content can be harsh on the system for people with IBS, especially frying food which changes the chemical makeup of the food and makes it more difficult to digest.  Processed foods like premade frozen meals and fried foods are the common offending foods that can trigger IBS symptoms.

Sweeteners

Some types of sugar can be poorly absorbed by the bowel, which includes sorbitol and fructose. They are commonly used as a sweetener found in dietetic foods, gums, candies, corn syrup, and diet drinks. They can also be found naturally in honey and some fruits.

Caffeine

Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the intestines that can be a trigger for people with IBS and cause symptoms like diarrhoea. Chocolate snacks and caffeinated drinks like teas, coffee and soda are such examples due to their high sugar content and concentration of caffeine.

Gas Producing Foods

When you eat too much of foods that are gas-producing, this may cause increased bloating and retention of gas. Such foods include beans and other legumes like peas and lentils, onions, raisins, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower.

Seeing a Doctor for IBS

It is important to keep in mind that everyone’s food triggers and digestion will vary from one individual to another. Getting to know your own body and keeping a food diary is important to know which foods are those you will have a bad reaction to.

If your IBS symptoms still persist despite making dietary changes, it may be time to visit a doctor for IBS.

Gastroenterology Care: When To See A Digestive Specialist

Your digestive system includes the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas and colon, which means the symptoms of gastrointestinal can be all over the map. This means some medical concerns may need more specific attention and care than your primary care doctor typically provides. Gastroenterologists have additional specialised medication training and signification experience dealing with digestive and liver disorders. Seeing a specialist in gastroenterology can leave you more assured under experienced hands during procedures and a more accurate detection of concerns like polyps and cancer.

So, when do you need to see a gastroenterologist? Here are a few signs that it is time to book an appointment.

If you are experiencing any of the following common symptoms:

  • Constipation and diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Changes in bowel habits or bowel movement urges that are difficult to control
  • Heartburn/Acid Reflux
  • Excessive gas or belching (Flatulence)
  • Stomach upset, nausea, vomiting
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Difficulty swallowing

Conditions under the care of a gastroenterologist include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (including Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
  • Polyps
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Ulcers

A gastroenterologist is specially trained to treat and manage disorders and diseases of the digestive tract, starting from the esophagus to the anus. Getting your symptoms looked into and treated by a specialist is the best choice to receive the most up-to-date care for digestive conditions.

Diagnosis and Screening by a Gastroenterologist 

If you are at the age 50 or above, it is recommended to see a gastroenterologist for cancer screening. You’ll also be able to determine the best schedule of screening for you depending on your potential risk factors such as family history. Even though you do not have any symptoms or suspected diseases, undergoing such tests allow cancers to be detected earlier and have a higher chance of being treated more successfully. The certainty of a cure is higher when cancers are detected at an early stage and even reduce the risk of cancer development itself.

A specialist in gastroenterology will be able to perform medical procedures like colonoscopy to investigate symptoms and detection of cancers as well as carry out a biopsy.

Mucus In Stool: What is that?

Do you know that your stomach is capable of eating itself due to the strong acid produce in your stomach? There is a thick protective mucus barrier which prevents that from happening, and without it, ulcers can form which leads to poor digestion and abdominal pain symptoms.

This jellylike substance also keeps the lining of your colon moist and lubricated. As such, experiencing a small amount of mucus in your stool is usually nothing worrying and it can appear clear, white or yellow. But when will the presence of mucus in your stool be a cause for concern?

Excess mucus in stool

The presence of large amounts of visible mucus in your stool might be a sign of a problem. Sometimes it can be accompanied by other symptoms, which could be indicative of an underlying problem that may be serious. Symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, cramping, changes in bowel movements or blood in stool can be present. You should talk to a gastroenterology specialist if you noticed an increase in the amount of mucus in stool.

Causes

Excess mucus in the stool may point towards a gastrointestinal (GI) problem. Changes in mucus level may lie in the mucosal layer in your intestines being broken down as a result of an inflammatory process. As such, mucus may be excreted with your stool. This will give pathogens inside your colon easier access to your body and increases your chance of potentially falling ill.

There are also other conditions that can be the cause of an increase in mucus levels, namely:

  • Cystic fibrosis

A genetic disorder that causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus, causing mucus buildup in liver, lung, and intestines which leads to breathing and digestive problems.

  • Crohn’s disease

An inflammatory bowel disease affecting the GI tract with symptoms like diarrhoea or fatigue.

  • Ulcerative colitis

Similar to Crohn’s disease, this inflammatory bowel disease affects the large intestine or colon with symptoms such as blood-stained mucus or stools containing mucus during bowel movements.

  • Intestinal infection

Infection from bacteria or food-borne GI illnesses can also lead to mucus in the stool, such as salmonella, which develops from consuming contaminated water or food.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

It is a common disorder that affects the normal function of the large intestine, and can increase the amount of mucus that appears in stool.

  • Malabsorption issues

There is a number of different disorders that can result in malabsorption issues, which is when the intestines are unable to absorb or digest certain essential nutrients. Some conditions related to malabsorption are chronic pancreatitis, certain cardiovascular problems and celiac disease.

  • Colon cancer

Also known as bowel cancer or rectal cancer, it begins at the rectum with symptoms including constipation, persistent diarrhoea or abdominal pain.

How to treat it

To treat the excess mucus, the doctor will need to diagnose and treat the underlying problems. Tests can be carried out including stool culture, colonoscopy, endoscopy and pelvic MRI scan to reach a diagnosis. Depending on the cause, lifestyle changes, prescription medications, surgical procedures or a combination of them will be necessary to help relieve or resolve the issue.

If you have recently been sick or taken antibiotics, you might also notice a change in your stool mucus levels. Seek medical attention from a gastroenterologist specialist if it persists after a few weeks and there are other symptoms of a GI problem.

Where Is Your Abdominal Pain Located And What Does It Mean

Abdominal pain is generally used to describe discomfort that originates from organs within the abdominal cavity, which includes the stomach, liver, small intestine, colon and gallbladder. The pain can be acute or chronic, and can be felt anywhere from below the ribs to the pelvis. It also ranges in intensity from a mild tummy ache to severe acute pain.

Where is the pain located?

Knowing the location of your abdominal pain is key to a proper diagnosis. It can be helpful in narrowing down what is the cause of the pain and any other symptoms that you are experiencing.

  • Upper right abdomen: Hepatitis, liver abscess, kidney stones, pancreatitis, gallbladder disease
  • Upper left abdomen: Gastritis, peptic ulcer, enlarged spleen, kidney stones, hepatitis
  • Lower right abdomen: Appendicitis, kidney stones, right ovary problems, Crohn’s disease
  • Lower left abdomen: Diverticulitis, kidney stones, ovarian cysts, ovarian torsion

In some cases, the abdominal pain you experience may not only occur on one side of your abdomen. If your upper abdomen is causing pain on both sides, it could be stomach issues such as gastritis, pancreatitis and stomach ulcers. For pain in the lower abdomen on both sides, it could be urinary tract infections, uterine fibroids or gynecologic problems.

Abdominal pain can have many potential causes, with some directly linked to the abdomen and others by a non-abdominal disease. When you visit a doctor for abdominal pain, they will ask a variety of questions and examine you carefully, and arrange for tests if necessary.

What are the characteristics of the pain?

Is the pain worse and aggravated by coughing, sneezing or any jarring motions? Does the pain last for no more than several hours or longer than a day? Is the pain sharp, dull, steady, constant or is it intermittent?

Aside from knowing the location of the pain, understanding other factors such as when does the pain occur and how long does it last, will be helpful for your doctor to gain a better understanding on your condition.

There may also be accompanying symptoms like flatulence, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, heartburn and pelvic discomfort.

How is the cause diagnosed?

Doctors will check on the physical signs, characteristic and accompanying systems and conduct a physical examination to pinpoint the source of the pain. This can include pressing different parts of the abdomen for tenderness, a rectal exam, and a pelvic exam.

Other tests may be ordered by the doctor if necessary, including ultrasound, X-ray, CT scan and endoscopy to help diagnose different conditions and diseases. When results are available, the doctor will discuss them with the patient as well as the appropriate treatment following the diagnosis.

How Your Pancreas Is Being Affected By Excessive Drinking

Alcohol abuse is commonly associated with liver problems because the liver is the organ mainly responsible for metabolising alcohol in the body. When there is excessive alcohol intake, the liver is unable to keep up with processing of the alcohol and causes it to remain in the body. The more alcohol is consumed, the greater the risk of damage to the liver. These damages can occur in the form of fatty liver, alcohol hepatitis, and cirrhosis.

However, it is less common knowledge that heavy alcohol use also affects the pancreas. In the US, some statistics put the proportion of pancreatitis sufferers who are also heavy alcohol users at 70%. It is well established in the medical field that there is a link between excessive alcohol intake and pancreatic-related health conditions.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed. It is one of the main pancreatic illnesses that alcohol abuse is associated with. The inflammation of the organ impacts the metabolic functions of the pancreas, which cause further health complications. Clinical records put men in their 40s with a history of heavy alcohol consumption as at highest risk of being diagnosed with pancreatitis.

Although researchers have not confirmed the exact mechanism by which alcohol affects the pancreas, one theory postulates that alcohol induces digestive enzymes to flow back into the pancreas instead of being released into the intestines. As a result, the enzymes attack the pancreas cells themselves. Another theory proposed that alcohol incites a backflow of bile, thus damaging the pancreas.

Pancreatitis occurs in two forms: acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. While both are inflammations to the pancreas, they differ in the duration and severity of the conditions.

  •    Acute pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is a short-term and sudden inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms include abdominal pain near the back behind the ribs, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Symptoms usually only last a few days, and most patients recover quickly without major complications. However, in rare cases, it can also become fatal. Severe cases of acute pancreatitis can also cause further complications like internal bleeding, irreparable tissue damage, infection, formation of cysts, and damage to other organs.

While most cases of acute pancreatitis usually resolve quickly without leaving lasting damages, continued excessive drinking can cause repeated bouts of acute pancreatitis. Recurring acute pancreatitis can then evolve into a chronic condition of the inflammation of the pancreas.

  •    Chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis occurs when there is long-term inflammation of the pancreas, which usually happens only after periods of acute pancreatitis. At this stage, the damage to the pancreas is irreparable, and symptoms are experienced on a long-term basis. Symptoms include recurring pain near the back behind the ribs, weight loss, greasy stools, and jaundice. Chronic pancreatitis typically does not heal, but only gets worse gradually.

While chronic pancreatitis is usually not immediately life-threatening, it can lead to further health complications. For example, the loss of function in the pancreas leads to digestion problems and diabetes.

Complications arising from pancreatitis

  •    Diabetes

Chronic pancreatitis can lead to diabetes because the pancreas can no longer function to produce insulin. About one-third of chronic pancreatitis patients develop diabetes later in life. The onset of diabetes for pancreatitis patients usually occurs only years after the diagnosis of pancreatitis.

  •    Pseudocysts

Chronic pancreatitis can also lead to the growth of cysts or pseudocysts. These growths are fluid-filled sacs that form on the surface of the pancreas. They are formed by localised masses of dead tissue and old blood. Some cases of pseudocysts do not show symptoms, however, some patients report bloating, indigestion, and abdominal pain resulting from these cysts.

Pancreatic cysts may cause infections to the pancreas and nearby organs. In some cases, the cyst may be cancerous or pre-cancerous, developing into malignant tumours later on.

  •    Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is when a tumour grows on a part of the pancreas, thus affecting the function of the pancreas. Studies show a link between heavy alcohol usage and pancreatic cancer, and between those with a history of pancreatitis and those who develop the cancer. One pathway for this development is the cysts that form as a complication in chronic pancreatitis.

How can you guard yourself against pancreatic conditions?

Pancreatic conditions are potentially very painful and costly illnesses. Not only might you have to deal with the substantial pancreatic cancer treatment cost, but you will also have to suffer in your quality of life. It will be worth it to reduce your likelihood of developing these pancreatic conditions and complications by regulating your alcohol intake.

Even if you have been diagnosed with acute pancreatitis before, you can lower your chances of suffering from acute pancreatitis again and from developing the chronic condition by keeping a low rate of alcohol intake and a low-fat diet. For those currently battling pancreatitis, abstinence from alcohol will help to reduce pain and allow your pancreas to heal.

If you are a heavy alcohol user, you should consider taking measures to regulate your drinking habits. To find out more about the risks of alcohol drinking to your pancreas health, consult a gastroenterology specialist today.

Why Obesity Is A Risk In Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is the single most prevalent cause of liver disease around the world and cases of affected adults are rising here in Singapore. As the name implies, NAFLD occurs when there is excessive fat build-up in the liver. While it is commonly believed that heavy alcohol use contributes to the damage of the liver, other lifestyle habits may also put you at risk of NAFLD.

In majority of patients, NAFLD is associated with the metabolic syndrome characterized by risk factors including diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia and obesity. While the causes of the disease are uncertain, those with NAFLD tend to face obesity as well as hypertension and high cholesterol levels which raises the risk of having a fatty liver. Because it has no symptoms, it may also be difficult to detect since NAFLD is rarely discovered until much damage has been done.

How Does Obesity Play a Part in NAFLD?

There are two kinds of NAFLD:

  • Simple fatty liver – There is fat deposition in your liver but with little or no inflammation and liver cell damage. It is not typically severe enough to cause any liver damage problems or complications and the symptoms might not be noticed.
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) – Occurs when fat continues to build up and the liver becomes inflamed. The inflammation and swelling in the liver may lead to more serious problems of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

While NAFLD most commonly affects the middle-aged and elderly as risk factors increase with age, fatty liver disease can also occur at any age including in children who are especially overweight. NAFLD is closely associated with metabolic risk factors including obesity. As obesity rates are rising in Singapore, the prevalence of NAFLD has also increased.

Symptoms of NAFLD

NAFLD is a silent disease that is often asymptomatic. Fatty liver disease symptoms can be vague or there is few or no symptoms to indicate that one might have the disease. However, possible symptoms may include enlarged liver, fatigue, and pain in the upper abdominal area.

Prevention is Key 

There is no medication or medical treatment for fatty liver diseases, however patients should make concrete lifestyle modification and changes to help reduce the risk and possibly reverse the damage in early stages.

You can refer to the following dietary tips:

  • Moderate your alcohol intake. The recommended daily alcohol limit is 30g for males and 20g for females
  • Maintain a healthy weight with a BMI of 23 or lower
  • Replace trans fats and animal fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as flaxseed oil, olive oil, corn and safflower oils
  • Eat a well-balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, low in sugar and high in fiber.
  • Regular exercise two to three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes to lose weight and reduce fat in the liver

You should also go for regular health screenings as diagnosis usually happens due to a routine blood test or there are relevant risk factors. If NAFLD is suspected, your doctor will also feel the abdominal area for any swelling, discuss about your diet and lifestyle, and carry out tests to eliminate other conditions.

Head down to gutCARE clinic in Singapore and talk to one of our specialists today regarding any health concerns. Our gastroenterology clinic provides sub-specialized care services for digestive and liver disorders. gutCARE also conducts the Fibroscan liver health assessment, a state-of-the-art non-invasive tool used to provide a complete assessment of your liver health and check for liver diseases such as hepatitis B or fatty liver disease.

6 Food That improve you Gut Health

Sugar-rich and heavily processed foods can leave your gut inflamed and prone to diseases, while whole foods can support your digestive health.

Superfoods offer essential nutrients and vitamins that can promote good health, and go a long way toward repairing any damage and healing your gut. They are also synergistic and work together to benefit your whole body.

These are the food we recommend you to include into your meals and diet:

1. Eggs

Unlike previously reported, having moderate consumption of eggs will not give your high cholesterol. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, choline, iron and phosphorus. They also contain two potent antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin known to support eye health and protect vision.

There are many ways to prepare and consume eggs, such as omelettes, poached and baked goods. You can also hard-boil a batch of eggs for a quick on-the-go snack.

2. Berries

High in fiber, berries are also rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They also have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce sustained inflammation in the body caused by inadequate physical activity, unhealthy food choices and stress. Berries can be included in different types of diets and they are also low in calories.

Examples are strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and blueberries. You can add them to cereals, smoothies, yoghurts or eat them plain for a snack.

3. Garlic

A popular culinary ingredient, garlic has also been used for centuries for its medicinal benefits. It is a good source of vitamin B5, manganese, fiber, vitamin C and selenium. Garlic also increases your body’s immune function by promoting the growth of white cells, which helps combat sickness and lowers harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high blood pressure. In general, with its antioxidant, antibacterial and antivirus properties, garlic is good for keeping your body healthy.

4. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, kale and collard greens are an excellent source of nutrients including iron, fiber, zinc, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C. They also contain high levels of carotenoids, an anti-inflammatory compound that may protect against certain types of cancer. They have the potential to lower the risk of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

You can throw them in salads, or stir fry them with a little olive oil and herbs and seasonings for flavour. They can also be added to stews and soups.

5. Kefir

Fermented foods such as kefir are rich in probiotics and enzymes to promote a healthy bacterial balance for proper gut health. Probiotics are known to relieve symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and restore bacterial balance in the gut. Kefir also have several associated health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory effects, lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and improved digestion, as they contain B vitamins, protein, potassium and more.

6. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are packed in various plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect against oxidative stress. They are also rich in fiber and heart-healthy fats that may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Some common nuts and seeds include chia seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts and pistachios. You can add a handful to your yoghurt, cereal or oatmeal, or have it on its own as a snack. They make a great accompaniment to cooked vegetables and salads as well.

The list of superfoods is exhaustive thus good health is best supported by consuming a variety of nutritious foods daily. Try incorporating some of the foods mentioned as part of a balanced diet that is key towards overall health and disease prevention.

Certain foods such as carbonated drinks, dairy products, dried fruits and high-fiber foods can also trigger symptoms like rectal pain, abdominal pain and weight loss if you are suffering from digestive illnesses like ulcerative colitis. This disease causes inflammation and ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract and will require colonoscopy treatment to reduce its signs and symptoms.

If you have dietary concerns or wish to learn more about the suitability of certain foods for your health condition, you can consult with a dietitian or gastroenterology doctor in Singapore.

A Close Up Look In Understanding: What Is Heartburn?

Spicy food isn’t the only thing that can make your insides feels like burning. Heartburn is a burning sensation that is felt from the top part of the stomach, going down the throat and chest. The sensation is caused by stomach acid travelling back up into the esophagus. It is usually a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

How and why does it happen?

The issue lies with the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), where the esophagus meets the stomach. When it is functioning well, the LES relaxes to allow food into your stomach or to let you burp, and then tightens or closes again. If the LES weakens or relaxes abnormally, stomach acid can back up into the esophagus and cause a burning discomfort in your upper stomach or lower breastbone also known as heartburn.

There are several causes to heartburn. Often, it is due to overeating. Being overweight or pregnant can also potentially increase your risk of experiencing heartburn as there is too much pressure on the stomach. Certain foods and beverages can also trigger heartburn such as coffee (caffeine), acidic juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapples), spicy foods, carbonated drinks and consuming alcohol that can relax your LES too much or increase stomach acid. Studies also show that smoking cigarettes relaxes the LES.

How serious is heartburn? 

Heartburn can be usually identified by feeling a burning pain in the chest especially after food or at night, pain that can worsen when you lie down or bend over, and experiencing an acidic or bitter taste in the mouth. If it occurs more than just occasionally, it is not just a small inconvenience. It can affect what you eat and keep you from doing your daily activities and how you sleep at night.

You can find relief with over-the-counter medications such as antacid or prescriptions like proton pump inhibitor which also helps to lower the acid in your stomach and heal the esophageal lining. Other remedies include drinking ginger tea, wearing loose clothing to avoid compressing your stomach, and elevating your upper body to put less pressure on your LES.

The severity of heartburn depends on how frequent it occurs. Too often and it is considered as GERD, where there may be a dysfunction of the LES and the amount of stomach acid brought up from the stomach. It can lead to serious problems such as laryngitis, ulcers or inflammation of the esophagus, narrowing or scarring of the esophagus and Barrett’s esophagus, a complication that increases your risk of developing esophageal cancer.

When to seek treatment for heartburn?

If you find yourself reaching for medication or antacids too often and you are not getting better, seek medical help and see a gastroenterologist in Singapore. This includes symptoms such as heartburn occurring more than twice a week, difficulties in swallowing, persistent nausea or vomiting, and weight loss due to poor appetite.

Your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms, and perform a physical examination. Diagnosis tests may also be carried to check for underlying conditions such as 24-hour pH study and gastroscopy, if GERD is suspected. There are specific medication or procedures for proper treatment.

Dietary changes and lifestyle modification can also be helpful when it comes to managing heartburn. Cut down on foods that trigger your heartburn incidents, avoid heavy meals and having a big meal within 2 hours of bedtime. Stress reduction, a modest weight loss and quitting smoking can have significant benefits in improving symptoms.

How much is too Much: The Definition of Excessive Drinking and Risks

Alcohol beverages is very common in our popular, most of the common beverages are – beers, wines and spirits. Studies shows that limited alcohol consumption usually do not pose any harm to body. However, to much alcohol can cause significant health risks. In general, more than or equal to 3 units for a male and 2 units for a female (a day) is too much on a long-term basis. Binge drinking is also not recommended due to high risk of alcoholic intoxication.

How many alcohol units are in each drink?

A shot of spirits (25ml): 1 unit

A standard glass of wine (175ml): 2.1 units

A large glass of wine (250ml): 3 units

A pint of 4% beer: 2.3 units

A pint of 8% strong cider: 4.5 units

What are the health risks?

Our liver is the main organ that metabolise the alcohol consumed. Under certain limit, our liver may be able to metabolise the alcohol. However, in the event of excessive drinking, the liver may not able to cope and this can lead to liver cell damage. Binge drinking can be defined as consuming 5 or more drinks within 2 hours for men, and 4 or more drinks within 2 hours for women.

Too much alcohol consumption also associated with other health issues such as:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure and diabetes
  • Cancers of the mouth, throat and esophagus, liver, colon, and breast
  • Digestive problems
  • Liver disease

Health impacts on different organs of our body

  • Pancreas

Heavy alcohol drinking is another big cause to chronic pancreatitis, a condition where the pancreases is severely inflammed. It occurs mostly after an episode of acute pancreatitis. The damage from heavy alcohol use to the pancreas may not develop symptoms for many years and one day, suddenly develop severe pancreatitis symptoms such as diarrhoea, constant upper abdominal pain, and weight loss caused by malabsorption of food. 

  • Brain

Chronic alcoholic consumption also cause neurological problem such as tremors and numbness of limbs. However, heavy drinkers may develop deficits in brain functioning and shrinkage of the frontal lobes of your brain over an extended period of time, that continue despite attaining sobriety.  Cognitive problems can persist due to the long-term alcohol abuse that negatively impact the brain’s “hard wiring”, such as poor decision-making, mild to moderate impairment of intellectual functioning, confused or abnormal thinking and loss of inhibitions.

  • Heart

Chronic alcohol consumption also increase cardiovascular risk. It can trigger arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). Regularly drinking too much alcohol also raises your blood cholesterol level, this increase the chance of cholesterol plaque formation in blood vessels, thus increases your blood pressure, and over time high blood pressure (hypertension) can place a strain on the heart muscle, increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

  • Stomach

Too much alcohol consumption can irritate your digestive system and over time, damage your intestines leading to bouts of diarrhoea or stomach pain. It can also cause stomach distress with symptoms like nausea, vomitting, bloating, gas and painful ulcers.

  • Liver

Chronic heavy drinking of alcohol can also lead to alcohol-related liver diseases such as fatty liver, cirrhosis and hepatitis. A person can have any of the conditions at a time, or all, if the disease is part of a progression.

Alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs as the early stage of liver damage induced by alcohol. It develops over time when too much alcohol consumption leads to a build-up of fat in the body’s liver cells, thus hindering liver function. This condition can be followed by inflammation in the liver (alcoholic hepatitis) and may progress to a build-up of scar tissues in the liver, leading to alcoholic cirrhosis.

Symptoms may not be present in the early stages. As you continue drinking alcohol over time, the performance and health of your liver declines and symptoms may begin to appear, which often can be too late.

They may develop gradually and include:

  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Encephalopathy or confusion
  • Severe itching of the skin
  • Wasting of muscles
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding

Moderation drinking habit

By drinking lightly and periodically, you can continue your drinking habits responsibly. It is also important to note long term alcohol is not recommended due to long term health risks.

For those taking prescription and medication, they should also ask their doctor if they can drink alcohol while taking them. Individuals with health conditions like heart failure, liver or pancreatic disease and uncontrolled high blood pressure should also check with their doctor about drinking as alcohol can worsen pre-existing health conditions.

Diagnosis and treatment

 Alcoholic liver cirrhosis can be diagnosed by gastroenterology specialists in singapore using blood tests and imaging procedures, including Fibroscan that will give a comprehensive assessment of a person’s liver health and determine disease severity. Patients in early stages of alcoholic hepatitis and fatty liver can reverse the condition, however, cirrhosis damage is irreversible and might require a liver transplant to survive.

You will need to abstain from drinking completely or gradually reduce your alcohol intake to see an improvement in your liver over time. Dietary and lifestyle modifications will be recommended to improve your well-being, and you can seek advice from a dietician for a balanced diet.

How Do You Know If You Have Iron-Deficiency Anaemia?

Iron deficiency occurs when the body lacks enough iron for the formation of haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen. This can happen in two ways:

  • absolute iron deficiency is said to occur when the body has abnormally low levels of iron; in contrast,
  • functional iron deficiency is when the body has sufficient iron supplies, but for some reason, the body cannot make use of iron at normal rates of efficiency.

When the body doesn’t have enough iron to form haemoglobin, it leads to a low red blood cell count, and insufficient oxygen in tissues and muscles. The lack of haemoglobin is termed anaemia, and this often results in adverse effects on one’s quality of life.

How do you know if you have iron-deficiency anaemia?

Some of the effects and symptoms of anaemia are described below. If you observe any of these signs in yourself, you might want to get checked out for iron-deficiency anaemia.

  • Constant tiredness

A lack of oxygen reaching the tissues and muscles in the body deprives them of energy. As a result, the heart has to work harder to deliver oxygen-rich blood to various parts of the body, leading to a feeling of tiredness. It might be difficult to pinpoint iron deficiency as the cause from fatigue alone, but if you are iron-deficient, you will most likely experience this persistent sluggishness along with weakness, crankiness, poor concentration, and low productivity.

  • Pale skin

Haemoglobin is what gives blood its red colour, and what gives colour to lips, the insides of the eyelids, and rosy cheeks. Hence, low levels of haemoglobin make people appear paler. People with iron deficiency may lose their healthy, rosy colour, or exhibit pale lips, inner eyelids, gums, or nails. Also known as pallor, paleness is more common in moderate to severe anaemia cases.

  • Shortness of breath

When the body is not receiving enough oxygen for energy, everyday activities like walking or climbing the stairs can feel more strenuous than usual. This leads to an increased breathing rate and shortness of breath as the body tries to inhale more oxygen. Less commonly, persons with iron-deficiency may experience heart palpitations due to the heart having to work harder to move oxygen-rich blood around.

  • Swollen, pale tongue

Myoglobin is another protein in the blood, and it helps to support the structure of the muscles. Apart from low haemoglobin levels causing the tongue to look pale, low myoglobin levels can cause the tongue to feel sore, abnormally smooth, and swollen. Having dry mouth, cracks in the mouth or on the tongue can also be a sign of iron deficiency.

  • Spoon-shaped fingernails

A rarer symptom of iron deficiency is koilonychia – brittle or spoon-shaped fingernails. You may first notice that your nails chip and crack more easily than usual. As koilonychia worsens, the nails’ contours dip from convex to concave, giving it a spoon-like appearance. Koilonychia is less common, and usually occurs only in more severe cases of anaemia.

What does it mean if you have iron deficiency?

Iron deficiency is an indicator that something is wrong in the body – it could be a diet with insufficient iron, or excessive bleeding from menstruation or internal injury. It is also often an indicator of other health conditions, some of which include cancer and gastrointestinal diseases.

In particular, people with iron-deficiency anaemia are across the board more likely to develop cancer, and the converse is true as well – people with cancer are more likely to get iron-deficiency anaemia. One study showed that iron deficiency was most often associated with patients of pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. Another research found that 6% of iron-deficiency anaemia cases were linked to colorectal cancer (which is often accompanied by bleeding in the colon).

So, being alert to symptoms of iron deficiency is not enough – if you also notice additional signs like persistent diarrhoea or constipation, bloated stomach, blood in stools, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain, it is highly recommended you get tested for cancer or other gastrointestinal conditions as well. Your general practitioner may refer you to a colon cancer specialist if your risk of contracting colorectal cancer is high.

Bloody in Stools: is it a Sign Of Cancer?

Bloody stools is an alarming feature requiring further investigation. This is especially for those with family history of colon cancer, age > 50 years old and history of colon polyps. If the bleeding occurs lower down the intestinal tract, the blood can be visible as red-coloured or stained stools. Other times, blood in the stools appears as dark-coloured or black stools if the source of blood is further up the gastrointestinal tract. A majority of cases of bloody stools are attributed to non-serious conditions like hemorrhoids. Yet, bloody stools can also be a sign of other severe situations like colon cancer. There are also other medical condition that can cause blood in stools including colonic diverticulosis and inflammatory bowel disease. Not knowing the cause of bloody stools can be greatly distressing, thus it is useful to be able to recognise the tell-tale signs of the common hemorrhoid versus a more worrying condition like colon cancer.

Common symptoms of hemorrhoids and colon cancer

Besides bloody stools, other common symptoms that hemorrhoids and colon cancer share can result in them being mixed up. These include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel movement

Symptoms of hemorrhoids

Having a basic understanding of hemorrhoids is crucial to distinguishing it from cancer. Hemorrhoids (also called piles) is the condition of swollen veins in the anus, lower rectum or just outside the anal opening. As such, most of the symptoms are localised at the anal area – there should not be any symptoms affecting the digestive processes per se. Here are some symptoms of piles that should not be present in a cancer like colon cancer:

  • Itching of the anal area
  • Pain in the anal area, especially during bowel movement
  • Bright red blood in stools
  • Lump outside the anus (only for external hemorrhoid)

Symptoms of colon cancer

On the other hand, colon cancer or colorectal cancer is a condition where abnormal cell growth occurs in the colon (large intestine), forming a tumour. Due to its location in the intestine, the tumour often affects gastrointestinal functions. However, the symptoms of colon cancer may not arise until it has advanced to a later stage. The following are some signs you should look out for that commonly occur in colon cancer patients, but that don’t occur for hemorrhoids:

  • Changes to bowel movement, e.g. diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea, vomiting, or weight loss with no apparent cause
  • Abdominal distension (swelling of the belly) – a sign of bowel obstruction
  • Gastric pain symptoms

How can your doctor check the cause of your bloody stools?

Often, symptoms alone are not enough to give you a complete diagnosis. Doctors will combine your reported symptoms with your health history and risk factors to decide if further tests need to be conducted to rule out other health conditions. Sometimes, the situation is not so clear-cut, especially if the presence of one condition serves as an aggravating factor for the other, as it has been found to occur.

If you have been referred to a gastroenterologist, they may conduct one of several tests to find out more about the condition you have. These may include:

  • Colonoscopy: A type of endoscopy where a long thin tube with an attached camera is inserted through the rectum to examine the lower intestinal tract.
  • Blood test to evaluate if you have significant blood loss, infection or inflammation in your bowels.
  • Stool sample test: A series of tests performed on a sample of faeces.
  • Biopsy: Collection of a small tissue sample to test for cancer.

After diagnosing your condition, a consultation with your gastroenterologist can also offer you more information on piles treatment or the prospects of colon cancer in Singapore.

Colon Cancer: What Are the Risk Factors And Symptoms

When it comes to colorectal cancer, early detection is the key to successful treatment. However, colorectal cancer is notorious for not having many symptoms – in fact, over half of the cases do not present symptoms at all.

Thus, knowing when to start screening for colorectal cancer is paramount to early cancer detection. People at higher risk should begin getting screened at an earlier age, with higher frequencies of screenings.

What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer?

To determine if you are at higher-than-average risk of colorectal cancer, these are some signs you should take note of:

  •    Family history

If you have an immediate family member who has had colorectal cancer, you are considered to be at higher risk for the cancer, as it means you likely share genetic, environmental or lifestyle factors that predispose you to it.

  •    Inherited syndromes

Some inherited conditions have been associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. These include: Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), Lynch Syndrome, Turcot Syndrome and Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome.

  •    Diet

Studies have shown an increased risk of colorectal cancer in persons with diets high in red and processed meats. Frequent consumption of meats cooked at very high temperatures through methods like frying or grilling is also thought to be a risk contributor.

  •    Smoking

Tobacco in cigarettes contains known carcinogens that may be ingested during smoking. Thus, smokers or non-smokers with frequent exposure to cigarette smoke are reportedly at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

  •    Alcohol use

A meta-study found that every 10g of alcohol consumed per day gives you a 7% rise in risk of getting colorectal cancer. This is attributed to acetaldehyde, which is a chemical formed during the break down of alcohol in the body. The compound can lead to DNA damage or the formation of polyps in the colon.

  •    Age

Colorectal cancer can strike individuals of any age, but the risks are significantly higher in older persons. Over 90% of colorectal cancer cases were diagnosed in people above the age of 50.

  •    History of colorectal cancer or polyps

Persons who have had colorectal cancer previously have a higher chance of developing cancer in the colon or rectum again. Having a history of polyps – even benign or removed ones – may also increase one’s chances of getting colorectal cancer as it means there is a potential for more polyps to form.

  •    History of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

People with chronic or recurrent conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which involve the inflammation of the colon, may be at increased risk of colorectal cancer. The risk may increase according to the length of time one experiences IBD, as well as the percentage of colon affected.

  •    Obesity

Overweight or obese persons have an estimated 30% higher risk of contracting colorectal cancer than a person of healthy weight. A variety of factors may cause this, such as the tendency of obese persons to have chronic low-level inflammation, or the increased production of adipokines, which are the hormones responsible for cell growth.

What are some symptoms of colorectal cancer?

Majority of patients with colon cancer in Singapore do not show symptoms at their early stages. However, if present, these symptoms may include:

  • A permanent change in bowel movement (diarrhoea or constipation)
  • A feeling of incomplete emptying of bowels
  • Blood in stools (appearing as bright red or dark-coloured stools)
  • Bloated stomach with frequent abdominal pain
  • Rapid weight loss with for no apparent cause
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you tick the boxes for having a high risk of colorectal cancer, and/or experience any unusual symptoms with your bowel system, it is best you consult your doctor or a colon cancer specialist for a medical examination. Regular screening in the form of colonoscopy is also a good measure to guard yourself against the cancer.


介绍:

对于大肠癌,及早发现是成功治疗的关键。但是,大肠癌因没有太多症状而臭名昭著-实际上,超过一半的病例根本没有症状。

因此,知道何时开始筛查大肠癌对于早期癌症检测至关重要。高危人群应从更早开始接受筛查,筛查频率更高。

大肠癌的危险因素有哪些?

要确定您的大肠癌风险是否高于平均水平,请注意以下几点:

  • 家史:

遗传基因,共享的环境因素或这些影响的组合可能会增加大肠癌的风险

您的家族史可能会决定推荐的大肠癌筛查年龄。

  • 遗传综合征:

一些遗传综合征与大肠癌的高风险相关,包括:家族性腺瘤性息肉病(FAP),遗传性非息肉大肠癌(HNPCC),林奇综合症,Turcot综合症和Peutz-Jeghers综合症。

  • 饮食:

红色和经过加工的肉类(例如牛肉,羊肉,热狗)含量高的饮食可能会增加结肠直肠癌的风险。

在非常高的温度下油炸,烧烤,烧烤或其他烹饪肉类的方法都会产生化学物质,这些化学物质也可能会增加风险。

  • 抽烟:

一些与吸烟有关的致癌物质可能会被吞下,从而可能增加患结直肠癌的风险。

  • 饮酒:

大量饮酒可能导致结直肠癌的风险增加。

  • 年龄:

尽管结直肠癌可能发生在任何年龄,但在45岁以后发展该疾病的机会可能会大大增加。

所有结直肠癌的癌症中,近95%发生在45岁以上的患者中。根据美国国家癌症研究所的数据,被诊断患有大肠癌的患者的中位年龄为68岁。

  • 大肠癌或息肉病史:

如果您以前曾患过结肠直肠癌,那么您更有可能在结肠和直肠的其他区域患上癌症,或者经历复发性癌症

如果您有息肉病史,即使它们是良性和/或已切除的,您也可能处于大肠癌的高风险中

  • 炎症性肠病(IBD)的病史:

患有IBD,包括溃疡性结肠炎和克罗恩氏病,可能会增加您患大肠癌的机会。

您经历IBD的时间越长,取决于您患结肠的数量,您的风险可能会更高。

  • 肥胖:

超重可能会增加患结直肠癌的风险。

大肠癌有哪些症状?

大肠癌的某些病例带有症状,可以帮助其检测。这些症状可能包括:

  1. 排便习惯的改变(腹泻或便秘)
  2. 感觉肠子没有完全排空
  3. 在粪便中发现血液(鲜红色或非常暗)
  4. 发现大便比平时窄
  5. 经常有腹痛或抽筋,或感到饱胀或腹胀
  6. 减肥原因不明
  7. 一直很累
  8. 恶心或呕吐

如果在大肠癌高风险框中打勾,和/或肠道系统出现任何异常症状,最好咨询医生或胃肠病医生进行医学检查。

6种诀窍减轻或预防胃痛症状

不规律的饮食习惯和压力极大 都会引起种种消化道的问题。在新加坡,很多成年人都会体验胃痛的症状,所以在本地的胃痛病例并不稀有。一般胃有毛病,痛的部位是「上腹部」,也就是肋骨以下、肚臍以上的位置,而且这种不适通常会在用餐时或饭后产生的。胃痛的程度可以从轻微疼痛到剧烈疼痛,甚至有烧灼的感觉。有些时候胃痛的症状也会伴随着其他与消化道有关系的症状例如腹泻、胃灼热、便秘和腹胀。

抗酸药虽然足以治疗胃痛,然而以下是一些更简单的方法处理胃痛,而这些都与您的生活习俗和饮食习惯息息相关。

  • 规律饮食

当您有固定的饮食时间,您的肠胃会定时在用餐时产生胃酸来消化食物。反之,不按时吃饭的您会使胃酸突然产生,加大胃部的压力进而导致肠胃不适。

  • 少量多餐

与其一天三大餐,建议您一天吃五或六顿小餐。这样有助于您消化更顺畅,也能够避免消化不良或其他消化道的问题。

  • 避免酗酒

长期酗酒很容易刺激腸胃黏膜,削弱了胃黏膜的保护作用。当肠胃反复接触到酒精会引起消化道的一些问题如胃部发炎甚至容易导致您胃痛和十二指肠溃疡。

  • 避免暴饮暴食,该细嚼慢咽

对食物充分咀嚼再加上每口饭之间都喝一口水,给予足够的时间让您的肠胃发射饱腹感的讯号到您的大脑,这样就有助于衡量您的饱腹程度。吃得过多很容易导致消化不良,进一步增加了胃部负担。

  • 选择吃较软、容易消化的食物来缓解胃痛

西兰花苗、酸奶、苹果、高纤维谷物和蛋白质(瘦肉、鸡蛋、鱼和家禽肉)应该多吃,因为这些食物能够平衡肠胃里的酸碱度。这些食物也有助于消化进而避免胃痛症状加重。总的来说,摄入这类型的食物能够让您在一两天内看到胃痛逐渐少的效果。

  • 避免吃易产气和刺激性的食物

辛辣食物、洋葱、蒜米、高脂肪乳制品、番茄及番茄制品、柑橘类水果和油炸高脂食物应该避免饮用。这类型食物都会刺激肠胃而且会阻碍胃痛的康复。

何时该看医生治疗胃痛

若您已经尝试改变您的饮食习惯,胃痛症状都没有改善,您就应该探望医生了。你也应该赶紧寻求医生的诊疗当您持续有这些症状如饭后呕吐、呕吐里带血或便血、突然体重暴跌和上腹部剧烈疼痛。这些症状都代表您可能有更严重的潜在病状。

如果您需要为您的胃痛问题得到专业的服务,在新加坡gutCARE诊疗所,我们拥有受过多年训练的专科团队,为您的消化道与肝给予最好的治疗服务。身为新加坡领先的肠胃病学团队,我们的诊所提供全面的高精度诊断和治疗服务。我们的医生会探讨有关您的症状和推荐合适的疗程以及进行检测以便能够进一步的调查或排除导致您胃痛的原因。

现在就赶紧在预定检测程序。

5种可能导致您胃灼热的食物

在新加坡,胃灼热的病例非常普遍。胃灼热是一种在胸口或喉咙有灼热感的消化不良现象,一般是当胃酸逆流至食管所致。灼热感可能会加剧特别是当您躺下或弯腰。连接喉咙与胃的食管,无法承受胃酸,促成在食管所感受到的烧灼感。那种灼热感有时并不是只有轻度的不便之处,而有些却会影响您夜晚的睡眠或白天的日常活动。

胃灼热经常是胃酸逆流

的症状,是当胃酸逆流到食管而且还能够分成轻微至严重程度的医疗状况。胃灼热通常都在饭后才会发生,所以我们来探索食物如何成为一个人消化不适的祸害者。哪种普遍食物会引起胃灼热和您如何避免它毁掉您的一餐?

  1. 洋葱、蒜米和辛辣食物

虽然每个人的辛辣能耐度不一样,但是辛辣和味道浓烈的食物包括蒜米和洋葱对很多人都会引起胃灼热症状。辣椒、辛辣酱料和辣椒粉会刺激胃酸逆流。如果您想寻找替代品,您可以尝试在食物里加入其他增味剂如姜、肉桂、海盐及香菜。

  • 高脂肪食物

高脂肪的食物可能是胃酸逆流症状的首要祸害者。含有反式脂肪、饱和脂肪的油腻、油炸和加工食品甚至肥肉如火腿或培根会在肠道里逗留比较久。这种情况会使整体的消化过程变得缓慢,而且也会使食管下括约肌放松,即引起自发性反流。由于腹压增加促使食管下括约肌被逼撑开,这就会导致胃灼热的症状发生。

  • 巧克力和乳制品

巧克力里含有一种成分叫甲基黄嘌呤,已被证实会使食管下括约肌放松或弱化。这会导致胃里的食物易于反流到食管,也就形成胃酸逆流及胃灼热的症状。健康的乳制品例如乳酪和牛油含有会恶化胃酸逆流的脂肪。牛奶也会使胃酸过量分泌促成肠胃不适,特别是当肚子还饱的时候继续饮用它。

  • 柑橘类水果

过高酸性的水果和果汁,例如橙子、柠檬、酸柑、凤梨和葡萄柚会导致或恶化胃酸逆流的症状。这也包括番茄或番茄制品如披萨和萨尔萨里的酱料。

  • 咖啡因和酒精

对于那些经历胃酸逆流症状得人,但还想继续享受早晨咖啡,咖啡里的高咖啡因成分会引起胃里的胃酸分泌增加,导致症状如胃灼热发作。当您摄入酒精,这也使体内的肌肉,也就是食管下括约肌放松而增加了胃里的胃酸,促使更多胃酸进入食管。

记录在食物日记本

细心的留意及管理您的饮食有助于您辨认出独自的触发性食物以及能够让您控制好那些令您疼痛、不舒服的胃灼热。您应该记录每一个您进食的食物、食用的时间以及所产生的反应。有些食物和饮料能够通过中和胃酸来帮助您缓解您的不适,这些食物包括姜茶和燕麦。

餐后避免胃灼热

有些时候避开这些食物并不是很实际,但您可以注意以下的餐后预防措施。

  • 避免吃过量。一天三大餐,不如分成5至6顿小餐。
  • 避免睡前吃。在您躺下来之前,让您的食物有至少2小时的时间消化。这会让食物有足够的时间从胃排到肠道里,而避免食物再往食管逆流。当您吃完就立刻躺着,这会促使消化变得困难并增加发生胃灼热的可能性。

胃灼热也是胃食管反流病(GERD)的症状,而GERD  的其他症状包括恶心、胸闷、持续干咳、口中有酸味和难以吞咽。若这种症状频繁发生而且还再一星期内两到三次有胃灼热症状发作,咨询我们gutCARE诊所的医生。我们是位于新加坡的肠胃科诊所,提供全方位的亚专业护理以及肝脏和消化系统疾病的临床服务。我们的专家会与您合作以找出最准确的GERD诊断并给予最合适的医疗处方。

4种方法管理肠易激综合症(IBS)

肠易激综合征(IBS)在本地已成为常见的一种影响结肠(大肠)的慢性病症。肠易激综合征通常根据腹部不适和排便习惯的不同症状而分类。肠易激综合征(IBS)的症状有腹部膨胀疼痛、排便习惯及粪便形态改变、腹泻或便秘。IBS不会危及生命,但是需要长期管理才能避免。

这种疾病可能对人的生活质量造成负面影响,影响他们的生活方式并带来社会心理影响。

肠易激综合症(IBS)导致社会心理的影响

若您有IBS,您可能会意识到自己开始避免某些社交场合,例如参加社交聚会或外出聚餐。尝试新的食物对于患有IBS的您是一种冒险行为,因为您预测不了这些食物会引发什么样的IBS症状,并且您也必须急于找到洗手间。当症状出现时,您会因此而感到焦虑、自信心低,使您对社交的指责感到恐惧。

除此之外,IBS也会影响您的每一天行程甚至会影响您的旅行行程。您必须额外努力策划您的行程特别是记录下每个行程上的洗手间数量及地点。然而,在国外,您可能就会遇到找不着洗手间的挫折,进而必须更小心对在国外所饮用的食物是否会引起您的IBS病症。这些症状也会给您带来工作上的不适和不便,影响您的心情及注意力。

此外,在家里这病症也间接地影响及带给您的伴侣无形压力。婚姻生活质量可能受到不利影响,无论是参加家庭郊游或享受亲密关系都会因为IBS症状而受到干扰。

要如何管理肠易激综合症(IBS)症状

以下是一些建议有益于管理您的症状或减低引起症状的风险:

  • 避免引起病状的食物:了解哪一类型的食物会引起您的IBS症状进而避免饮用这些食物。这样能够帮您在外社交时管理好您的病状。避免摄入牛奶、偏辣食物、酒精、高脂食物、巧克力和含咖啡因饮品,因为这些食物很可能会刺激您的肠胃或恶化您的症状。
  • 做好足够的防备:对于患有IBS病症的人做好充分的准备非常重要,特别是外出时有了这些所谓的“急救包”就方便多了。准备额外的纸巾、湿纸巾、药物或衣物对于患有IBS的您会有所方便之处。
  • 调理饮食习惯:有些人发现增加蔬果量和确保一天补充足够的水分有助于减少IBS症状及改善肠道的蠕动。
  • 仔细的记载:收藏食物记录表对于患有IBS症状的您不但能够帮您辨认引起病状的食物,您也可以加入您的心情、想法和睡眠时间来判断IBS症状带给您的影响。

治疗方案

患有IBS病症会使您衰弱也对于您的心理及生活质量带来负面影响。治疗IBS病状的方案需要通过有程序即针对性的方法寻找大多数引起病状的原因,而且每个因素因人而异。

若以上的方案并没有减轻您的病症,而且您经常会无理由的经历IBS症状,推荐您联系我们新加坡诊所与我们的医生交谈。我们训练有素的专业肠胃病医生团队,对IBS病症具有临床兴趣的专业人士组成,他们会针对每个病患的不同情况对症下药。您的医生会查询有关您的病史及生活习惯并推荐适合的药物或治疗方法。只要有明确的诊断和有针对性治疗方案,您就可以包有一丝希望过着无IBS病状,无忧无虑的生活。