Swedish News Blog

No “window of opportunity” for celiac disease prevention

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Gastroenterologist

As a pediatric gastroenterologist, I’m often asked whether there is any way to prevent a child from developing celiac disease. Based on what I knew regarding how food allergies develop, I used to counsel families that there might be a “window of opportunity”, between four and six months, when it’s possible to introduce grains and other gluten-containing foods that could potentially “teach” the immune system to tolerate gluten and thus lower the risk of developing celiac disease.

However, my “window theory” recently got thrown out the window when the results of two important scientific studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Over the counter medications to avoid for gastrointestinal health

LuLu Iles-Shih, MD

LuLu Iles-Shih, MD
Gastroenterologist

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are medications frequently used to treat general aches and pains like headaches, musculoskeletal, and joint pains. NSAIDs include Celebrex, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Excedrin, Alleve, Advil, Diclofenac, and Naproxen.

However, these medications may cause harm to the gastrointestinal system: possible bleeding risks, ulcer formation, ischemia, or decreased blood flow to certain areas of the gastrointestinal system which can lead to increased bleeding, vomiting of blood, or blood in the stool. These medications should be ...

A patient's experience with the Swedish Digestive Health Network

Dana Lewis

Dana Lewis
Digital Media & Internal Communications | Swedish Blog Administrator

We recently received this post from a patient who asked us to share her story and her experiences with Dr. Schembre and Dr. Tschirhart with the Swedish Digestive Health Network. Thank you, Yevette, for sharing your story with us!

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Dec 2nd,  2012 I was out of town doing some promotion for work when I collapsed in my hotel room. I went to the local hospital ER.  They found I had a gallstone lodged in my common bile duct. As they attempted to remove this, the surgeon ripped my intestine.  This created a whole host of life threatening problems. After 5 days I was airlifted to Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.  Dr. Tschirhart was assigned my case.  By June I was stable enough for surgery.  Dr. Schembre referred to this surgery as a “Leap of Faith”. There was a team of 4 surgeons involved in this surgery.  Their concern that I may not survive was apparent. I actually said goodbye to my 17 year old daughter before this surgery.  After having me in surgery for only a few minutes he told my family that he didn’t think there was anything he could do for me & that my insides look like paper mache and were very fragile. But he never gave up.  I ended up with 9 different drainage tubes in my abdomen along with a J tune, G tube, every tube possible I think.  When I drank, the fluid would go in and then come out several of the tubes.  Dr. Schembre from GI worked with Dr. Tschirhart to help make my treatment plans. In October I was in a better situation to endure another surgery. Dr. Tschirhart explained exactly what needed to be done & explained the “Best Case Scenario” that he hoped he could perform. Fortunately he was able to achieve what he set out to do.   I ended up with 3 major surgeries and countless procedures.

Finally in December of 2013 they wanted me to go to rehab but I insisted on recovering at home in Marysville. I felt if there was a chance I was not going to make it I wanted to die at home.  Dr. Tschirhart assured me that if I had trouble and had to go to my local hospital he would have me airlifted immediately back to Swedish. As soon as I got home and on my couch I felt better!  I was discharged Dec 18, 2013 after a total of 381 days in the hospital.

Recently (August of 2014) I was able to return to work and can drive too!  I did have trouble this past April when my side split open and went into Swedish ER.  I commented to my friend that I needed to call Dr. Tschirhart so he could come get me.  The intake gal overheard me and said doctors never do that.  I tried to tell her that Dr. Tschirhart would. The ER was trying to gather info as to what had happened to me. My situation is too much to explain so I kept referring them to my file.  I was very frustrated. As they were questioning me I saw this hand come through the door and slowly he walked in. There he was!  I instantly started crying. He immediately had me transferred up to the 10th floor, order CT, medication etc.  He came for me as promised. I knew he would.
 

Dr. Tshirhart always told me  ....

What you can do about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Carolyn Anderson, ARNP

Carolyn Anderson, ARNP
Swedish Gastroenterology

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a term used to describe the presence of fat accumulation in the liver. NAFLD affects approximately 20-30% of United States population, and is most commonly diagnosed between 40 – 50 years of age. Recent studies have shown an even distribution of NAFLD between men and women.
 
A healthy liver may contain some fat. However, NAFLD occurs when the liver has trouble breaking down fats, causing excess fat to build-up in the liver. Mild fat accumulation usually does not result in inflammation of the liver. More severe fat accumulation can cause inflammation, and potential progression to cirrhosis (scarring of liver tissue). People who drink too much alcohol can get a condition similar to NAFLD, but NAFLD happens in people who do not drink alcohol or only a little alcohol.
 
We still have much to learn about the specific cause of NAFLD, but it is often associated with:

How to deal with gas and bloating

Margaret Gorham, ARNP
We all have occasional gas, usually from something we have eaten, but many people feel that they pass too much gas or burp too frequently. Intestinal gas can result in abdominal pain, bloating and embarrassment.
 
The amount of gas produced by the body depends upon your diet and other factors. Most people with symptoms of excessive gas do not produce more gas than the average person, but are more aware of normal amounts of gas.
 
Where does the gas come from?

What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

Karlee J. Ausk, MD

Karlee J. Ausk, MD
Gastroenterologist

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic (i.e. long-lasting) inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal system.  IBD is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because of their similar acronyms, but the two conditions are not related.  IBD affects approximately 1.4 million Americans and is most commonly diagnosed between 15-40 years of age.
 
IBD can be categorized into ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  Though there are clear differences between the two, they are closely related and sometimes difficult to distinguish.
 
Ulcerative colitis is a condition where inflammation affects the most superficial layer of the large intestine (colon).  It typically starts at the rectum and can involve a varying amount of the colon.  In contrast, the inflammation of Crohn’s disease can affect all layers of the intestine and can involve any area of the gastrointestinal tract – from the mouth to the anus.  The type of inflammation seen in Crohn’s disease may lead to long-term complications such as strictures or fistulas (abnormal connections to other organs) that are typically not  ...

Why aren't my bowel habits normal?

Genee Holtzman, ARNP
Do you have irregular, uncomfortable, or distressing bowel habits? Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal condition affecting an estimated 15% of the general population.  It is most common among women aged 30 to 49 years old.

IBS is a chronic condition of the digestive system that is not generally associated with more concerning findings of anemia, weight loss, family history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or celiac disease. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal discomfort, constipation and diarrhea. Despite extensive research, no common cause of IBS has been identified. Some theories include:
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