Category Archives: Digestive Health

Infusion Center FAQ: Discover new treatments

Did you know that the Center for Digestive Health has an Infusion Center? Do you know what our Infusion Center can do for you? If you answered “no” to one or both of those questions, you’re not alone.  

We asked Janice Walker, RN, BSN, and new manager of our Infusion Center, to answer some FAQs to better explain how the Center works, what it offers, and how you might benefit.

Do I just sit there during my treatment?

“Our infusion center provides comfortable recliners, pillows, light refreshments, magazines and a wide variety of DVDs to go with our portable player. Patients can bring in their own laptop, tablet, book or craft, and some just bring a blanket and enjoy the opportunity to rest.”

What medications do you provide?

“The Infusion Center administers intravenous medications including Remicade, Entyvio, Stelara, Ferrlecit (Iron) and fluids to patients suffering from Crohn’s, Colitis, Iron Deficient Anemia and Dehydration. We also administer B12 injections and TB tests. There’s also an on-site lab that allows patients to use us as a ‘one-stop shop.’”

Who administers the treatment?

“We have a great team of highly experienced nurses with a variety of medical backgrounds. In addition to administering the infusions, they monitor and coordinate the patient’s lab work, TB test, doctor’s visits and keeps their prescription up to date.”

What happens if I don’t react well to the infusion?

“During the patient’s visit the nurse is responsible for starting the IV, calculating and preparing the medication, administering the medication and monitoring the patient throughout the infusion. In the rare event of an adverse reaction, we always have a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant on hand to provide a rapid assessment and treatment.”

How do the appointments work?

“Patients make their next appointment when they are here for their infusion, anywhere from 6-8 weeks in advance. Due to the complex nature of the medication, we do not offer ‘walk-in’ appointments.”

How can I expect to feel afterward?

“Most of our patients feel great after their infusion. Often times, because it is a cyclical medication, they can tell when they are due and look forward to their appointment. Most of our patients either go back to work or go back to their other responsibilities as they would any day. A small number of our patients report feeling tired for the remainder of the day, but they tell me it’s nothing compared to how they feel when they don’t get their medication.”

What are my options if I can’t make it during your office hours?

“We offer evening hours to help our patients who may be unable to come in during standard business hours. We have opened a second Infusion area at our Unasource office to offer our patients a better selection of appointment times as well as the possibility of receiving their infusion closer to home or work.”

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Wisdom from our doctors: Troy Gastro’s best quotes

Sure, we’re a little biased when it comes to our favorite doctors. Our medical professionals at Troy Gastro are some of the finest we know – and we have their wisdom to prove it.

Over the years, we’ve asked our docs so many questions about colon and digestive health, and they don’t disappoint with their answers.

Here are some of favorites from the staff at Troy Gastro.

Dr. John Weber on Quitting TobaccoDr. John Weber talks to us about digestive issues and tobacco use.

“Many diseases that people acquire are beyond their control. The risk of developing certain diseases, however, can be decreased by lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and nutrition.

“I think if patients understood the true financial and health costs associated with their tobacco use, then they might be willing to quit – or, even better, not start smoking.

“It’s not easy, but there are now many successful strategies available to help patients quit smoking.”

 

Dr. Kerri Bewick on Pregnancy and Digestive HealthStaff

“Heartburn can result from hormonal changes and increased abdominal pressure from the growing uterus. Increasing the fiber in your diet or taking a daily fiber supplement can help.

“Not all ‘natural’ products are safe. Some herbal products (including herbal tea) can cause harm to your unborn child. So be sure to check with your doctor before taking any of these substances.

“There are also some things to avoid, like caffeine, chocolate, fatty foods, citrus and peppermint. Avoiding these triggers can help prevent indigestion.”

 

Dr. Sante Bologna on DiverticulitisStaff

“Diverticula occur at points of weakness in the bowel wall where the blood vessels penetrate.

“A diet high in total fat and red meat is associated with an increased risk of symptomatic diverticular disease. And dietary fiber is associated with a decreased risk.”

 

 

 

Dr. Anezi Bakken on Heartburn and GERDStaff

“Heartburn is one of many possible symptoms of GERD. GERD means reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. Some food-related causes could be caffeine, spicy or rich foods, overeating, alcohol, tomato sauces or citrus.

“If you have heartburn every day you should seek medical care from a physician to identify the cause. Occasional heartburn from your trigger foods is one thing, but there is an increased risk  for Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer in patients with chronic and persistent GERD.”

 

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Find support with these upcoming IBD events

No automatic alt text available.Finding support with folks going through the same things as you can sometimes be what gets you through a tough day. Here we have a list of upcoming events for those fighters out there dealing with different forms of IBD, from Crohn’s to Ulcerative Colitis.

Today! Ostomy Awareness Day

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is hosting a live chat via Facebook to discuss life with an ostomy and how other fighters are learning to thrive. Tune in to ask questions, or just have a listen to fellow ostomy-havers. Stephanie from The Stolen Colon will be there to host.

Online Support Group for Patients and Caregivers

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is now offering online support groups for patients with various forms of IBD, and also with those who are caregivers. A four-week series of online chats, you can connect with other IBD-ers every Monday evening. While you’re on the site, look around at the Community Forum and the FAQ page, for topics on everything from diet and nutrition to exercise and travel.

Rock the Night to Cure Crohn’s and Colitis

Perhaps the fanciest of the upcoming events, this fundraiser is taking over the Big Apple in search of funds to move research further. Drinks, music, and a silent auction are just a few of the features this event will serve up. Items up for auction include suite tickets to Yankees games or the opera, yoga classes, jewelry, and even a guitar signed by Maroon 5.

Online Ostomy Poll

The Michigan Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is looking for folks with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis to grow their network and help fighters get more and better resources. Take their one-question poll to start learning more.

More info:

“About 23 to 45 percent of people with ulcerative colitis and up to 75 percent of people with Crohn’s disease will eventually require surgery to treat their disease. There are many types of surgery that may be performed, including surgery to create an ostomy. If you are currently living with, or have lived with before, an ostomy, please participate in our poll!”

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September is Celiac Awareness Month

Infographic: Celiac Disease at a GlanceEven with the gluten-free diet fad that’s been sweeping the nation, not everyone who goes gluten free has Celiac. Celiac is a serious autoimmune disease that affects the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients, which can ultimately lead to malnutrition.

Several common symptoms of Celiac Disease affect your gut and digestive tract, such as bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea. And like many other autoimmune diseases, anxiety, headaches, fatigue and joint pain are also common.

The downside is that there’s no pharmaceutical or therapeutic cure for Celiac Disease – only a strictly gluten-free diet can prevent further damage and symptoms.

The upside is that living gluten free is easier than you might think. And it doesn’t require buying the often overpriced items at the grocery store that are labeled “gluten free.” Sticking to whole foods and cooking whenever possible is the clearest path to being successfully gluten free. Processed foods often have hidden gluten in their lengthy list of ingredients. However, rice, corn, potatoes, cauliflower, lentils, beans, and other whole grains are excellent substitutes for pasta and bread that aren’t just free from gluten, they’re much healthier overall. Looking up low-carb or Paleo recipes is another way to get ideas on what you can eat.

There’s ongoing research to find a cure for Celiac, or at least a way to curb its strength, including clinical trials for folks fighting through the disease.

BeyondCeliac.org has a robust resource for folks with Celiac or those who think they might have it. In the Living with Celiac section, you can find all sorts of resources for how to manage kids with the disease, how to go gluten free, and several other helpful bits of info. You can also learn what the organization is doing to increase awareness, raise funds, and push for additional medical research to eventually find a cure.

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned you might have Celiac. And in the meantime, have a look at some gluten-free recipes to help ease your symptoms.

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Fall for foods that are good for you – with recipes

Image result for fall foodsFall is one of our favorite times to eat. When the weather cools off, nothing is cozier than a hot pot of soup of a nice casserole to accompany your snuggling.

Here we’ve got a few of our favorite fall foods that pack some nutritional punch with some recipes to make them even tastier.

Squash Casserole

This simple casserole is actually pretty decadent, with a cracker crust and a cheesy sauce to offset the earthiness of this root veggie.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sliced yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 35 buttery round crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter

This one-pot dish comes together in a snap. See some photos and get the instructions.

Apple-Almond Farro Salad

We love this recipe because it’s super versatile and doesn’t have to be followed exactly. You can substitute any cheese, fresh herbs or vinegar that you prefer over what’s on the ingredient list. And, this keeps really well for lunches the next day.

Ingredients

  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Splash of white wine
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup blanched, chopped almonds
  • 2 apples
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1/3 fresh parsley
  • 6 oz. smoked mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

This list might look lengthy, but keep in mind that you can substitute just about any of these ingredients. Learn the technique here.

Brussels Sprout and Hazelnut Salad with Goat Cheese

This salad uses the technique of “salt wilting” –  mixing raw sprouts with salt to soften them – to make this salad full of great textures and flavors. Combine that with tangy goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts and a tangy vinaigrette, and this will become a favorite around your house.

Plus it’s our favorite fall veggies – Brussels sprouts!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 Brussels sprouts, sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tangerine
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • 3/4 cup skin-on hazelnuts
  • 4 oz. fresh crumbled goat cheese

Learn all about the salt-wilting technique and get the full list of instructions here.

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Crohn’s fighters share their stories

One of our favorite things to share is the stories from folks struggling with Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, ostomy bags, and other forms of IBD. The fight in them is such an inspiration to us that we feel compelled to share their strength to continue to spread awareness and hopefully to find a cure.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standingJessica,  Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student

“I wish others knew that people with IBD (and really all patients with chronic illnesses) deal with so much more than the physical symptoms of their disease. Having a chronic illness can take a huge mental and emotional toll. This doesn’t mean that all patients with IBD have a mental illness, but some report anxiety, depression, insomnia, and difficulty coping with their illness. On a side note, I wish patients with IBD knew that it’s OK to feel this way and that seeking help from a mental health professional is not a weakness, it’s a sign of strength. You are not alone!”

 

Michelle Lynn Law

“My last link to show my fight and support”

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“My daughter 2 weeks ago at her Remicade Treatment. She has diagnosed 2 years ago 13 but We just started Remicade a year ago. Had no flares almost a year but now she’s experiencing what seems like an allergic reaction 10 minutes into the treatment last times. Been glaring since April so we are back on Prednisone Euceris. Hoping this isn’t a sign of Remicade failing.”

 

 

Kalee, NCCL Co-Chair

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, flower, outdoor and nature“I remember everything about the phone call from my doctor- where I was standing, who I was with, and what words my doctor chose when telling me about my diagnosis. I remember hurrying inside to look up the prognosis, treatment, and what my life might look like. To be honest, I was terrified and had no idea how I’d manage my disease in college. My Crohn’s Disease has brought me to some of my lowest points both mentally and physically, but it has also given me some of my biggest triumphs.

Life throws challenges your way but the Foundation and NCCL taught me several extremely valuable lessons. The first lesson is that you are not alone. I was introduced to one of the strongest and most incredible community of supports. The second lesson is that you are bigger than your disease and that your IBD does not define you. When I found out I was selected to be a part of the National Council of College Leaders, I was over the moon and originally visualizing what I could contribute to the council but it was the council that gave me the greatest gift possible- more than I could ever repay. The Foundation and council gave me the tools and confidence to recognize sub-par aspects of patient care and access to care and to actually do something about it. I’ve spoken to legislators about healthcare reforms, worked with FDA representatives and physicians about redefining the use of medical foods, and helped create calls to action.

These steps in the right direction and the hope that future IBD patients don’t have to travel the path I did are what have gotten me through some of my toughest moments in college. Now that I’ve graduated and am transitioning out of my role as council co-chair, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be given a voice in the IBD community, to have been a part of a council that’s helped me grow more than I ever thought possible, and to start my journey as a future healthcare provider given all that I’ve learned through the Foundation.”

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The latest in digestive health news

Image result for digestive health graphicSo much is happening in the world of digestive health. Clinical trials and research are revealing new trends and treatments all the time; fundraisers are happening across the country; more people are learning about the risks and working to prevent colon cancer.

Here are a few interesting things happening in the digestive health world this week.

Michigan Fundraiser – Golf Fore Guts Silent Auction

If golfing isn’t your thing, you can still support this Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation initiative through their silent auction. You’ll find all sorts of signed sports memorabilia and even an in-home wine tasting for 12 of your favorite people.

“The 5th Annual Golf Fore Guts silent auction is open! Bidding will close at 5pm on Sunday, August 13th. You do not have to be present to win. Click the link below to see the list of silent auction items like a Miguel Cabrera signed baseball and TaylorMade golf drivers. To register click the Sign In button on the website or text fore17 to 24700. Happy Bidding!”

Dating with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Sahara Fleetwood-Beresford shares with The Mighty her and many others’ struggle to date with various forms of IBD – something that folks with healthy guts might not even think of. As if dating isn’t difficult enough, having the added pressure of numerous bathroom trips, frequent fatigue, or wearing an ostomy can create some obstacles that make dating seem unworthy.

“It is small things like this that could affect even the early on stages of dating that I like to get off my chest sooner rather than later. That way, it will soon become clear apparent whether there is any compatibility. These may be small things, but they occur regularly and could present a problem in terms of the outlook for the relationship.”

Read the rest of her heartfelt, honest, and eye-opening blog on The Mighty.

Colon Cancer Rates Rising in Younger White Folks

In the United States, the black population has faced historically higher rates of colon cancer than any other ethnic group. However, the recent rates of colon cancer have increased in the white population – especially in those under 50. This presents a problem since most doctors agree that screening for colon cancer and other digestive issues isn’t necessary until the age of 50 for most. Those with a family history of the disease are encouraged to get screened earlier, but if you’re not aware of your history, you’re at a higher risk.

” The number of whites being diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their mortality rates are rising, even as blacks are seeing a decline in both categories,” says Kaiser Health News. “Despite those declines, however, blacks still have higher rates of death from the disease.”

So while the community is rallying to make sure people are taking as many preventive measures as possible, it might be time to look at the age in which we’re doing so.

The best way to protect yourself is to learn your family history, get to the doctor, and to be open to as many preventive methods as possible.

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Can one diet change ease Crohn’s?

Image result for plant based good fatsCrohn’s is a disease that hundreds of thousands suffer from in silence. An autoimmune disorder, the symptoms are different from person to person and just as difficult to treat.

Food is another challenge to folks fighting Crohn’s, with flare ups stemming from all types of sources. But a new study is linking an uptick in consumption of plant-based fats with a decrease in bad bacteria and inflammation in the digestive tract of mice.

“The finding is remarkable because it means that a Crohn’s patient could also have a beneficial effect on their gut bacteria and inflammation by only switching the type of fat in their diet,” said Alexander Rodriguez-Palacios, DVM, DVSc, PhD to EurekAlert.

The research seems rather promising, given that patients with Crohn’s could begin to see the benefits simply by swapping coconut oil for butter or using cocoa butter as a substitute.

Another positive aspect is the insight this offers medical researchers into what makes good fats, well, good.

“Ongoing studies are now helping us to understand which component of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats make the difference,” Rodriguez-Palacios said. “Ultimately, we aim to identify the ‘good’ fat-loving microbes for testing as probiotics.”

In other words, this cross-referencing of research could start to pinpoint the magic potion for sufferers of Crohn’s. Since each person and their lower tract is unique, however, it’s not likely there will be a one-size-fits-all solution that comes out of this line of study. But getting closer to understanding what makes these good fats reduce inflammation and symptoms in any way is a positive step for patients.

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Our HOT LIST of good foods for digestion

Image result for leafy greensEating right for your digestive health doesn’t have to be a crazy health-food-store-expensive-ingredient journey. You probably have a lot of the foods that can help digestion and are also good for folks struggling with different forms of IBD.

Here’s our HOT LIST of foods that are great for your gut and not super fussy.

Good Fats

Avocado

This creamy goodness comes equipped with soluble fiber, which is much easier on your digestive tract than the insoluble stuff. And, once they’re ripe, they’re easy to prepare. Simply cut in have, twist out the core, and scoop into your dish.

Add some salt, garlic powder and black pepper, then mash together for a quick guacamole spread for sandwiches. Or scoop it into your blender, and add some lemon juice or vinegar, your favorite seasonings and herbs, and some Greek yogurt for a creamy green goddess dressing.

Smooth Nut Butters

The crunchy stuff can irritate your bowels if you struggle with Crohn’s, diverticulitis or other similar issues. The smooth stuff offers just the same amount of good fats, protein and fiber, but allows your body to do less work.

Add almond butter to a smoothie with blueberries, spinach and almond milk. Or dip carrots into peanut butter for a crunchy afternoon snack. Cashew butter works as a butter substitute if you’re in the mood for some baked good.

Salmon

This healthy-fat fish is a fan favorite. The oils are great for everything from your lower tract to your skin. Add some salt, brown sugar and pineapple and roast in tinfoil for a sweet and salty dinner. If fish isn’t your forte, order the salmon next time you’re out to eat, and let someone else do the cookin’.

Soft Leafy Greens

Spinach

Popeye’s favorite green is such for a reason. It’s loaded with vitamins, and the leaves aren’t as tough on your gut as kale or the tougher greens are. Spinach is a great vehicle for flavor. Saute a bag in a bit of olive oil with salt and fresh garlic for a super simple side dish. Add it to your smoothie since the flavor and texture will blend right in. Or add a handful to your next salad.

Arugula

Arugula is a really flavorful green that’s got a peppery bite that’s a wonderful addition to most dishes. Throw a handful into a pita pocket with some tuna fish, onion and Greek yogurt for an easy lunch. Or stir this into some warm rice and add olives, diced bell peppers and crumbled feta.

Watercress 

This super food has been named the most nutritious of all the greens. It’s a delicate and soft leaf that won’t irritate your stomach, and mixes in with any salad recipe you can think of. Same goes for smoothies – add some watercress with strawberries, peanut butter and coconut milk for a yummy breakfast or afternoon snack. And watercress goes well with your favorite veggies, diced and dressed the way you like. Add some salmon for a well-balanced meal.

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Inspiring stories from survivors of Crohn’s

Living with a bowel disorder is not a task for the weak. Folks who are surviving and thriving are a constant source of inspiration to us. As part of a regular series, we try to highlight those fighters out there to both celebrate their successes and raise awareness around their struggles.

Here are a few of our favorite stories.

18671186_1452587181467460_525827228929541125_n“This is my 15 year old niece, Audrey. She was just diagnosed with Crohn’s a week ago after being at Children’s Hospital in Nashville for 12 days. She had lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks and had to get two blood transfusions. I am her legal guardian for 6 years now and it broke my heart to have her sent home with a feeding tube and a pic in her arm for antibiotics. She is getting better now with all that gone but is on Prednisone, Pantesa and omeprazole, iron and has back pain and fewer flare ups. She is still weak and had a way to go which is very depressing for her. She had to miss summer, band camp and being with her friends. She has changed the way she eats and knows what irritates her stomach. No more fast food, dairy, some bread and fried foods. It has been a rough road. She has a check up in August and they may put her on Humira. I pray it will help her. My heart goes out to everyone who suffers through this daily and is parents who have to see our children go through pain. Prayer is powerful and I believe my Audrey is healing due to prayers.”

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“I have severe Crohn’s disease that I have been battling for 20 years, this is my Crohn’s tattoo”

 

 

 

stephanie-hughes-hospital-e1432075627501“Today is World IBD Day and I am reminded of a lot of parallels from two years ago. In 2015, I was pregnant for the first time and on May 19 I was admitted to the hospital for the first of four admissions before I was induced four weeks early due to an intestinal blockage. I am so thankful that I am not spending another World IBD Day in the hospital, but I am very aware of how quickly things can go downhill for me if I am not careful about the foods I eat. Remember today that IBD is not just a bathroom disease. IBD does not mean one thing, but can lead to so many different complications for different people.”

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“I got the purple ribbon with a dragon. Never stop fighting.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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