Swedish News Blog

Why dietary fiber reduces the risk of disease

Melinda Hawkins, MD

Melinda Hawkins, MD
Colorectal Surgeon

Over the last couple of years, there has become more awareness surrounding the importance of dietary fiber and the prevention of disease. 

Why should I eat more fiber?

Dietary fiber can reduce the risk of certain diseases such as colon cancer, diverticular disease, and can also help lower cholesterol and improve symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  Additionally, fiber can also be beneficial in helping to manage common bowel problems.

If you have been experiencing bowel or hemorrhoidal problems, fiber along with other dietary modifications can often help improve conditions such as constipation, diarrhea, incontinence, hemorrhoids or anal fissures.

How much fiber should I eat?

Current dietary guidelines suggest that....

Fecal incontinence: New treatment options

Darren Pollock, MD

Darren Pollock, MD
Colorectal Surgeon

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:

What is Pilonidal Disease?

Rodney J. Kratz, MD

Rodney J. Kratz, MD
Colon & Rectal Surgeon

Pilonidal disease is a subcutaneous skin infection that occurs in the upper half of the gluteal cleft (the tailbone area, and/or between the buttocks). 

Etiology

The term “Pilonidal” means nest of hairs.  Interestingly, in 50% of reported cases, there was not any hair found within the pilonidal abscess.  This is routinely the case for females.  Although hair can contribute, the most common cause of pilonidal disease is an exploded follicle called a pit, which is located in the gluteal cleft, or midline region (between the buttocks). 

Who is at risk for Pilonidal disease?

Pilonidal disease is only slightly more common in men than women, and is most likely to occur between the ages of 16 – 26, correlating with puberty.  It should be noted that pilonidal disease can develop in younger and older age groups.  Pilonidal disease occurs less in Asian and black populations.  Other risk factors of pilonidal disease include:

  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Individuals with more body hair
  • Occupations with prolonged sitting

Diagnosing Pilonidal Disease

Pilonidal disease, similar to a large pimple, can burst through the skin by itself or may need to be lanced or drained to let the infected fluid escape.  Pilonidal disease is classified into three stages:

Why do people get hemorrhoids?

Raman Menon, MD

Raman Menon, MD
Colon & Rectal Surgeon

Hemorrhoids are composed of blood vessels found in the internal and external anal area. Believe it or not, everyone is born with hemorrhoidal tissue. Although there are several theories regarding the function of hemorrhoids, many physicians believe that hemorrhoids help maintain fecal continence.

Why Do People Get Hemorrhoids?

When the blood vessels become enlarged (similar to varicose veins in the leg), hemorrhoids may begin to bleed, become swollen, and can be extremely painful.

There are several reasons why enlargement of these veins can occur. The most common reasons are thought to be related to straining and increased pressure on the abdomen, including:

  • Constipation
  • Prostate problems in men
  • Chronic cough
  • Dietary factors
  • Pregnancy

Should Hemorrhoids Be Treated?

If symptoms are mild or infrequent, then treatment may not be necessary. If symptoms are more severe, such as frequent pain, bleeding, itching, or, difficulty with hygiene, there are several treatment options available.

Treatment options will vary depending upon the size of the hemorrhoid and if it is internal or external. Common treatments include:

  • Sitz baths
  • Prescription medications
  • Rubber band ligation
  • Surgical removal

Most procedures can be completed in the physician’s office and take less than 30 minutes. If surgery is required, patients go home the same day.

Will Hemorrhoids Come Back After Treatment?

Following treatment, a recurrence is uncommon. If hemorrhoids do return, conservative therapy usually corrects the problem.

The ‘Bottom’ Line

You do not have to live with, or schedule your daily activities around your hemorrhoidal discomfort. Our goal is to help find treatment that is right for you.

If you have questions about hemorrhoids or treatment options, call the Swedish Colon & Rectal Clinic at 206-386-6600.

Fecal Incontinence: You don't have to live with it

Amir L Bastawrous

Bowel incontinence is a socially disruptive condition. People living with incontinence often plan their daily activities around bowel movements. In some instances, fecal incontinence leads to people being homebound, fearing an accident in public. Fecal incontinence affects nearly 18% of the population. In addition, nearly 50% of people living in nursing homes are affected (ASCRS, 2011).

What Is The Cause of Fecal Incontinence?
There  can be several causes of fecal incontinence. The most common reason is damage to the anal muscle, or nerves with childbirth.

Incontinence is more common in women, but men are also affected. As women age and their tissues begin to weaken, episodes of incontinence can become problematic.

Other causes of fecal incontinence can include...

Robotic Colectomy

Amir L Bastawrous

I recently appeared in a series of videos where I discuss robotic colectomy. A colectomy is surgery to remove all or part of the large intestine. Colectomy is also referred to as "colon resection." Robotic colectomy is a type of minimally invasive surgery to remove all or part of the large intestine. It is done to treat serious colorectal conditions such as colorectal cancer, diverticulitis and blockages caused by scar tissue. You can learn more about robotic colectomy and its advantages by watching the videos. Click here to see the playlist or watch below:

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Neuromodulation device success for patients with fecal incontinence

Amir L Bastawrous

The Swedish Colon and Rectal Clinic successfully treated its first two patients with Medtronic’s InterStim neuromodulation device for fecal incontinence. Both patients have already been seen in follow up with an amazing and immediate improvement. One patient in particular was previously afraid to leave the house and had daily leakage. She is thrilled with the positive outcome. Since placement of the first-stage device four days ago, she has had no leakage.

The technology involves placing a permanent generator attached to electrical wires, which are positioned near sacral nerves in the lower back. The procedure requires two stages. First the wires are placed and attached to a temporary, external test generator. Once the desired positive effect is confirmed, the permanent generator is placed.

This is a new day for these patients. There are millions of patients who could potentially be helped with this new technology. Up until now ...

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