What causes colon polyps?

Roughly half of all cases of colon cancer (and by extension, colon polyps) are a result of modifiable risk factors. These are the things that you can control. If we know what these risk factors are, maybe we can make better choices...

How exactly does alcohol cause liver problems?

Alcohol is basically poison that people ingest willingly for pleasure, but just how much alcohol does it take to poison your liver? First we need to understand what alcohol does to the liver once ingested.

What does a positive Cologuard test mean?

What is immediately apparent from these numbers is that Cologuard rarely misses cancer. However, if we count polyps as a significant finding, there are plenty of false-positive results (45%) and plenty of false-negatives too (34%). So is Cologuard a good test overall?

My doctor found a colon polyp. When do I need to repeat a colonoscopy?

If you notice, the basic idea here is pretty simple. According to the guidelines, there are really only a few options for follow-up intervals for colonoscopy: 10 years (negative exam), 5 years (low risk polyps), and 3 years (high risk polyps). Less than 3 years is only recommended in the truly unusual case of a large polyp burden or invasive cancer in a polyp. And that's it.

Find the hidden polyp! Colon cancer screening in action!

I thought it would be a good time to show a real-life example of colorectal cancer prevention in action. Let's pretend that you are a friendly neighborhood gastroenterologist, just minding your own business and doing a screening colonoscopy on a patient.

Gastroenterologists are tattoo artists of the colon

It is common practice to leave a permanent tattoo at the site of significant pathology ( such as a large polyp or tumor) inside the GI tract. We typically use a substance called SPOT, which consists of microscopic carbon particles in a suspension. When injected into tissue it becomes a permanent mark that can be seen from the inside of the organ with the scope, and from the outside of the organ by a surgeon.

Esophageal dilation

Dysphagia (trouble swallowing) can be caused by many different problems. A strictured or narrowed esophagus is one common cause, and is often related to excess acid exposure in the esophagus. Usually strictures happen at one discrete location in the esophagus (often the lower part closest to the stomach where acid reflux damage is the most pronounced).

The Rectal Bleeding Rainbow

The purpose of this article is to define a few terms and clarify some common misconceptions about rectal bleeding.

Occult gastrointestinal bleeding and the stool guaiac test

Occult gastrointestinal bleeding simply means that there is blood loss into the GI tract that cannot be seen with the naked eye (as opposed to overt GI bleeding, where blood is seen).  Typically, patients with occult GI bleeding have slowly progressive anemia due to slow chronic blood loss.  There are a variety of causes of  … Read more