According to statistics, about 95% of people, to one degree or another, need regular consultation with a gastroenterologist.
The gut is the third most common cancer in the world, according to the Globoscan project (a database maintained by the International Union on Cancer Registry).
Therefore, he is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Riga. P. Stradinya, member of the board of the Veselības centru apvienība (VCA), gastroenterologist Aleksey DEROV talks about how to avoid problems with the stomach and intestines.
Associate Professor, Gastroenterologist Alexey Derov
– Professor, you know for sure: how to understand that you already have stomach problems if there are no symptoms?
– No options – you must undergo regular preventive examinations! This is very important for people of all ages. But after the age of 45, even if you do not feel any worrying symptoms, once every five years you should check the upper and lower parts of the gastrointestinal tract – that is, do an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. This is the only way today to minimize the risks associated with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, including cancer. In addition, we should not forget the regular visits to the family doctor in order to check basic blood tests and abdominal ultrasound at least once a year.
Many diseases go unnoticed, the problem can be indicated, say, by bitterness in the mouth or slight relaxation of the stool, and that’s it … Many do not pay attention to some kind of tingling in the stomach, someone suffers from constipation or heartburn for years and so on. I always say: if something bothers you, you should go to the doctor and definitely not deal with either self-diagnosis or self-medication. Not only will this not improve the situation, but sometimes it is just dangerous.
So, if you feel cramping and pain in the pit of the stomach, then these can be problems with the esophagus, exacerbation of gastritis or diseases of the duodenum, etc. Sutures or dull pain in the right hypochondrium may indicate an exacerbation of chronic cholecystitis or biliary colic. And the exacerbation of pancreatitis can give upper abdomen pain, nausea and vomiting that does not bring relief. Of course, these are only approximate options, but all these different symptoms can be the cause of many other diseases. Of course, the conclusions should be made by the treating physician.
Remember that any complaint about “something wrong” in the work of the digestive system, which lasts more than 3-4 days and does not subside, definitely deserves attention. But other than that, any pain, if it lasts even a day, but is on the rise, should lead the person to a doctor. Not to mention such serious processes and symptoms as the appearance of blood in the stool, urine or vomit, fever, dizziness, persistent diarrhea, etc. – with such symptoms, it is always better to see a family doctor who will make an initial diagnosis and if he deems it necessary will refer him to a gastroenterologist. In no case do not pull, do not hold, do not be afraid of anything – go to the experts!
Recently, a young girl came to me for counseling, who has been suffering from severe diarrhea for three years. We examined her quickly, the diagnosis became clear: ulcerative colitis. The disease is painful and the more advanced, the more serious treatment is required …
Let me just say that diagnostics today, compared to the past, do not cause much inconvenience and, incidentally, we see that many diagnoses began to be recorded at an early stage and are therefore successfully treated or controlled.
– Identify which complaints should be addressed to a gastroenterologist?
It must be understood that the gastrointestinal tract is a complex, multifunctional, large system of the body that accepts and breaks down food, where useful substances are absorbed and everything unnecessary is eliminated, various hormones are produced, an immune response is provided, etc. In the gastrointestinal tract includes: oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, liver, gallbladder and bile ducts, pancreas, small and large intestine.
The condition of the whole organism directly depends on the functional state of the digestive system, because it ensures its viability. Nutrients saturate the blood, the brain, every cell.
Complaints I have already mentioned in part above, there may be a different number of them and they may exist in different combinations. This includes heartburn, sour taste in the mouth, changes in the mucous membrane of the tongue, bitterness in the tongue, pain, diarrhea and constipation, fever, heaviness in the stomach, traces of blood, etc. In a word, if you feel discomfort, start acting – contact your family, and if he sees the need, then to us, the gastroenterologists.
– Doctor, why is the incidence of stomach and bowel cancer increasing all over the world, including Latvia?
Diagnostics around the world have become an order of magnitude better and, most importantly, cancer is increasingly being diagnosed at an early stage, saving hundreds of lives. We can not say that in this respect everything is perfect in our country, but we, given the various opportunities, including the green corridor for all patients in the risk group, are slowly moving in the right direction.
– Can you report the most common gastrointestinal disease in Latvia?
– No, it would be very confident on my part, I do not keep accurate statistics. But I can say that if we talk about the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, many Latvians suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease. This is a chronic disease that occurs due to irritation of the esophagus due to the entry of stomach contents into it. The main symptoms are heartburn, heartburn, nausea, chest pain, discomfort after eating and flatulence. We must remember that in the case of this disease, not only the esophagus can be affected, but also the ENT organs, the respiratory tract, etc.
I would not be wrong to say that colitis, cholelithiasis, gastritis, duodenum (duodenal disease), global hepatitis and other chronic liver lesions, etc. are common.
– Tell me, where do all these diseases of the stomach and intestines come from? What affects their appearance – ecology, diet, stress?
– First of all, I would like to note that peptic ulcer disease, for example, is much less common today than it was 20-30 years ago. This is because we know of its origin, which in many cases is associated with a bacterium – Helicobacter pylori. The latter is eliminated from the body and thus reduces the risks of ulcers …
When it comes to nutrition – yes, we humans today sin a lot. Even a “strong” stomach can be killed by regularly consuming sweet soda, smoked meats, very salty and sweet, fresh pastries, especially margarine. It is bad if one constantly eats some kind of salad, in which a dozen ingredients are buried in mayonnaise …
Snacking while running is another deadly eating habit. It is bad that there is often not enough time not only to reheat the food, but also to chew it normally. Meanwhile, feverish swallowing dinner is a direct route to gastrointestinal problems, such as bloating and stomach upset, and in the long run to more serious problems. By the way, always try to chew your food well, this is not a secondary factor in maintaining good health.
It must be understood that the stomach does not assimilate on its own, although it has a madly aggressive environment – even more acidic than in a glass of vinegar or lemon juice! Our stomach has a thick protective layer of mucus, which is destroyed, as I said above, by Helicobacter pylori, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and also spoils alcohol and smoking. As a result, your own gastric juice can damage the stomach wall and then surface damage to the wall can occur – erosion and ulceration, inflammation and even stomach cancer.
By the way, some products – most often milk or bread – some people can not use due to individual intolerance to their ingredients, lactose or gluten. One can not drink chamomile or mint tea at all – you should always listen to your body very carefully.
It is useful for all of us to drink plain water: if, in general, a person does not have specific volume restrictions, then the rule is 1.5-2 liters per day, taking into account all the liquids – soup and tea as well.
Our digestive system can withstand a lot, we can genetically digest a lot of things – the only question is how much we need it. In this case, we mean the regular consumption of fast food, preservatives, etc. However, if you do not constantly eat the healthiest food, you can spoil even an ideal mechanism such as our gastrointestinal tract. In addition, our people have the desire to intervene in the process, even if everything is fine with the body. Often we want to try to improve something, people start taking various incomprehensible dietary supplements intensively, take various vitamins uncontrollably and are addicted to extreme diets. All this is not good for the body either. By the way, I want to remind you that there is no perfect diet. It is a very personal process …
I urge everyone to take care of themselves, eat normally (simply and healthily) and take care of prevention – and your stomach will thank you!
– Thanks for the discussion. And I congratulate you on your election to the two committees of the World Gastroenterological Organization, which is the first time for a doctor from Latvia.
Interview by Lyudmila VEVERE
Detailed information – how to undergo a gastrodiagnosis:
The address: VCA Polyclinic AURA, st. Nitsgales, 5 – appointment with specialist or for examination: 67799977, 8828
Medical institution code: 0100 – 64120.