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Feel Your Best in the New Year: How to Take Control of Your Gut Health

December 21, 2023

New year, new you! Many people use January as a time to reset and introduce some healthy habits, especially after the decadence of the holiday season. But if you’ve tried it all and you still don’t feel quite right, it may be time to listen to your gut.

Our overall health can be severely impacted by our guts. In fact, many consider the gut the body’s second brain. Rich holiday meals, unfamiliar foods and overeating can disrupt the balance of trillions of good and bad bacteria that make their home in our digestive system. For many people, this can cause problems like heartburn, diarrhea and constipation. Most of the time, these symptoms are temporary and go away on their own. However, persistent problems may be a sign that more intervention is needed.

For many, signs of an unhealthy gut may include:

  • Consistent stomach pain
  • Unintentional weight changes
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Sleep disturbances or constant fatigue
  • Skin irritation
  • Mood issues
  • Food cravings
  • Food intolerances

Seeing a gastroenterologist

People experiencing one or more of these conditions may find relief after consulting a digestive system specialist – known as a gastroenterologist. With 100 years of combined experience, many patients in the Quad Cities turn to Quad City Gastroenterology (QCG) for digestive issues. QCG has a team of specialists with advanced education, training and a level of care that can get your gut health back on track more effectively.

With two office locations in Moline and Davenport, QCG’s board-certified gastroenterologists treat a wide variety of digestive issues, from the most common to the most complex. Specialties include, but are not limited to, diarrhea, celiac disease, GERD, Barrett’s esophagus, gallstones, heartburn and acid reflux, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, liver diseases, IBS, lactose and fructose intolerance, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis and diagnosis/management of gastrointestinal cancers.

Symptoms and solutions

For issues that require a diagnostic procedure, the physicians at QCG perform their outpatient procedures at Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center (MVEC) in Davenport, Iowa. Utilizing the latest technology including endoscopies, endoscopic ultrasound and colorectal cancer screenings in an outpatient setting allows patients to return home comfortability within one hour or so after their procedure. Depending on specific needs, a gastroenterologist may recommend one of the following procedures performed at MVEC for diagnosis or treatment.

An upper digestive tract endoscopy is one procedure that can help your doctor assess what may be causing your symptoms. It involves using an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube equipped with light and camera lens, to examine the esophagus, stomach and part of the small intestine. The endoscopy may also include taking a tissue sample (biopsy) to test for cancerous tissues or certain bacteria that can cause ulcers.

Endoscopic ultrasound is another minimally invasive outpatient procedure that can be used to diagnose digestive problems including pancreatitis, stones and cysts. Using an endoscope equipped with a small ultrasound device, this type of screening is used to get another view of the GI tract and nearby organs through sound waves.

A colonoscopy can also be performed at an outpatient center like MVEC. After a patient preparatory protocol, the doctor performs a colonoscopy through a scope inserted into the colon. The colonoscope projects the image on a screen as the doctor slowly inspects the area. A colonoscopy isn’t only used to detect certain cancers, it can also be useful to remove growths or treat an issue that’s causing bleeding.

The highly trained physician specialists at QCG work with patients to develop the best treatment plan for them. With the latest technology in an outpatient setting like MVEC, receiving care is not only easy and efficient, but most importantly, it could increase your quality of life, or even save it.

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