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Gallstone disease and gallbladder removal

Gallstone disease is one of the most common reasons for patients needing surgery and the source of a great deal of misery.  Fortunately, for the vast majority of patients, gallstone disease can be dealt with safely and fairly easily.

What is Gallstone Disease?

One of the many things your liver does is produce bile. This bile is secreted into your intestine through the bile ducts. In the intestine, it acts to dissolve the fat that we eat that the fat can be absorbed by the intestine.

In between meals, a small muscular valve closes where the bile duct enters the intestine.  The bile that is produced then gets backed up into the gallbladder, which acts as a reservoir, both holding and concentrating the bile.  After a person eats, the presence of food in the stomach and duodenum sets off a signal to the gallbladder which then contracts, adding bile to mix in with the food.

Approximately 20% of people (1 out of 5) form gallstones in their gallbladder. Most stones are made of ...

What is celiac sprue or celiac disease?

An estimated 1.6 million Americans are currently following a gluten free diet, though many have never been diagnosed with celiac sprue (also known as celiac disease).  Patients commonly ask me about celiac sprue and gluten free diets, so I will try to answer some of these questions. The first question I get is what is celiac sprue or celiac disease.

What is celiac sprue?

In celiac sprue, the ingestion of gluten causes inflammatory damage to the lining of the small intestine.   Gluten is a protein, very common in our diet, found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. (Ed. note - see this chart from the NIDDK that shows other ingredients and items that may contain gluten.)  In people with celiac sprue, the usually large absorptive surface of the small intestine is flattened from damage, significantly limiting its ability to absorb nutrients. 

Though celiac sprue is estimated to affect approximately 1.8 million Americans, many are unaware they have the disease. 

What are the symptoms of celiac sprue?

Celiac sprue causes a variety of symptoms.  They can range in intensity from very mild to debilitating.  Some of the most common signs and symptoms are:.

Protect your ears during summer fun and work

Summertime means that we residents of the beautiful Northwest will be outside as much as we possibly can.  There are two potential sources of damage to our ears which are of greater concern during the summer.

First, our ears are subject to sunburn.  Many of the hats we wear do not protect the ears from damaging exposure to sunlight.  Consider wearing a hat with a brim that extends completely around the head, rather than the baseball type hat which many of us wear.  Also, remember to apply sunscreen to the ears.  It is easy to forget them. 

Secondly, summertime means increased exposure to noise from yard maintenance tools or other power tools.  Injurious levels of noise are produced by almost every power saw, power sander, nail gun, weed eater, leaf blower, roto-tiller, power washer, and shop vac.  Ear plugs....

Three summer safety tips

Summer is a wonderful time of year to be active outdoors. Sunny days provide so many fun activities for children to get exercise and stay healthy. While enjoying the warm weather, it’s important to be aware of potential injuries and take the necessary precautions to keep kids safe. Here are three summer safety tips to keep in mind:

Helmets

Kids should always wear a helmet while riding a bike, skateboard, scooter or in-line skates. Helmets can prevent traumatic brain injury and save lives!  A child should wear a helmet on short or long rides (no one can ever predict when an injury may occur).

Make sure the helmet meets safety standards and fits appropriately.  The helmet should be worn level on the head, covering the forehead.  The strap should be tightened enough to allow only two fingers between the chin and strap.  As a parent, make sure to be a good role model for your child and wear a helmet.

Open Windows

It is common to open windows during hot days to allow for cool fresh air.  For kids, the screen is a misleading barrier between the indoors and outdoors.  Screens are meant to pop off easily in the case of an emergency.  A child leaning against a screen ...

Caring for your feet this summer

As summer approaches, many of us are looking forward to exciting summer plans with family and friends. Potential adventures could include touring exotic locations, exploring new cities, or enjoying the beautiful outdoors in the Pacific Northwest. No matter what your chosen activities, most of us will be on our feet much more during the next few months enjoying the sunny weather. We can expect that our feet will be uncomfortable at times, but dealing with feet that continually hurt may affect those summer plans.

Here are some summer tips to keep your feet in tip top shape:

4 tips to prevent injuries in sports

How do you prevent sports related injuries? Here are four tips:

Fecal incontinence: New treatment options

If you have been living with incontinence, you may have modified your daily activities around bowel movements.  Some people become homebound, fearing an accident in public. 

The good news is that you don’t have to live with incontinence.  Over the last few years, more treatment options have become available which can provide additional ways of improving lifestyle.

What is the cause of incontinence?

Both men and women can be affected by incontinence.  There are several causes of incontinence.  The most common causes include damage to the anal muscles or nerves during childbirth.

After a thorough history and physical examination, you and your physician will formulate a treatment plan that is right for you.  One or more treatment options may be recommended to address your particular symptoms:

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