Two gastroenterologists from Digestive Healthcare of Georgia’s Atlanta office were recently featured on “The Weekly Check-Up with Dr. Bruce Feinberg” on WSB-AM 750 and 95.5 FM. Digestive experts Dr. Valerie Jagiella and Dr. Alexis Calloway sat down with host Dr. Bruce Feinberg on the September 18 show.
Dr. Valerie Jagiella, a Chicago native, studied at University of Montpellier Medical School in Montpellier, France. Her special interests in gastroenterology include inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Dr. Alexis Calloway is from Atlanta, Georgia and is the newest doctor to the practice. She studied at the Morehouse School of Medicine and her interests include colon cancer screening, infectious gastrointestinal diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease. These two doctors discussed the digestive system and the conditions that cause bloating in the abdomen with Dr. Bruce Feinberg.
When asked what exactly bloating means to a gastroenterologist, Dr. Jagiella defined it as a functional gastrointestinal (GI) tract issue that causes discomfort and interferes with someone’s overall sense of wellness and quality of life. Bloating can come in several different forms, including gas that passes too often or gas that won’t pass at all.
The doctors explained that the majority of patients with bloating issues are older due to the fact that as someone ages, their digestive system and bowel movements move up in priority when it comes to achieving an overall sense of wellbeing. While bloating does impact both men and women, Dr. Jagiella noted that most of her patients are women since they are more predisposed to seek a healthcare provider about digestive issues compared to men. The majority of men won’t come in to talk with a gastroenterologist unless it has a significant impact on their daily lives, they said.
Dr. Calloway wanted to let listeners to know that it doesn’t matter if you are male or female; everyone goes. When asked what the optimal stool schedule should be, Dr. Calloway referenced the Bristol stool chart and how it should be used as a guideline for what is considered normal when it comes to using the restroom. A normal schedule can range from one to three times per day all the way up to once every three days. As long that there isn’t a change in a patient’s normal schedule or how the stool passes (including straining and/or blood in the stool), the doctors coincided that everyone’s normal schedule will vary. A person’s lifestyle will always influence their schedule, including diet and exercise.
The doctors discussed one of the main causes of bowel discomfort, including gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, or barley, which are main ingredients in items throughout grocery stores. The sensitivity to gluten can be separated into three categories, including those with a wheat allergy, those suffering from celiac disease, and those who do not have celiac disease but are gluten sensitive. There are different tests to determine which category a patient may fall under when it comes to gluten intolerance, and Dr. Jagiella and Dr. Calloway urged listeners to come see them if they think they might have issues surrounding gluten. If patients have sensitivity to gluten, Dr. Jagiella pointed out that they should never assume store-bought food is gluten-free as it must be specifically labeled “gluten-free” to be safe for their diet.
When it comes to lactose intolerance, Dr. Calloway explained that about two-thirds of adult Americans are lactose intolerant and that as people age, the brush border in the intestines starts to deteriorate. This causes the loss in the ability to absorb lactose. This inability causes many digestive issues and discomfort. Both doctors suggested milk alternatives such as Lactaid or almond milk as a replacement to cow’s milk.
Two other conditions also cause bowel discomfort, including inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Dr. Calloway clarified the difference between the two with inflammatory bowel disease being a serious chronic disease caused by an auto inflammatory response in the bowels. Symptoms of this kind of disease include abdominal pain, bloody stool, weight loss, oral ulcers, and joint pain. Crohn’s disease is a prime example of an inflammatory bowel disease. For all other conditions that do not fall into any of the discussed diseases or other main digestive issues, Dr. Jagiella pointed out that gastroenterologists normally categorize these issues as IBS. Some people and families are more predisposed to experience constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or general discomfort when they digest food, thus causing IBS.
Listeners in the Atlanta-area called in with questions for Dr. Jagiella and Dr. Calloway. One caller, Mark, was curious about bacteria in the stomach and the causes of inflammation in that area of the body. Dr. Calloway answered Mark’s question by explaining that inflammation is caused by an imbalance of good and bacteria in the digestive tract. Genetics can play a big role in this balance as well as the environment. Another caller, Charles, talked about being a caregiver of his elderly father and wanted to know more about diabetes and digestive issues in elderly people. Dr. Calloway informed Charles his father’s digestive issues might be caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). She recommended that Charles should take his father to get a breath test to confirm if his father may be suffering from SIBO. Dr. Calloway informed Charles that Digestive Healthcare of Georgia could perform the test for him. In the meantime, she suggested that Charles’ father try different types of probiotics to see if that would ease his digestive issues.
Dr. Jagiella and Dr. Calloway encouraged listeners to go online and explore the Digestive Healthcare of Georgia website, which has information about all of the digestive conditions discussed during the interview. Digestive Healthcare of Georgia also urges people over the age of 50 to schedule a colonoscopy as those at or above this age are at an increased risk for colon cancer. The doctors also told listeners that they welcome new patients at the Digestive Healthcare of Georgia Atlanta location, located at 95 Collier Road, NW Atlanta GA, 30309. Digestive Healthcare of Georgia also has offices in Canton, Jasper, Newnan, Fayetteville, and Ellijay. New patients can visit the website at digestivehealthcare.net or call at 404-355-3200.
To listen to Dr. Jagiella and Dr. Calloway’s appearance, click here: http://www.weeklycheckup.com/blog/2016/91816-dr-valerie-jagiella-and-dr-alexis-calloway-of-digestive-healthcare-of-georgia/