University of Pennsylvania Health System

Penn Gastroenterology Q&As

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Is a gastric emptying test needed to diagnose gastroparesis?

Question: Is it necessary to have a gastric emptying test done to determine whether or not a patient has gastroparesis, or would a scope suffice?

Answers: Gastroparesis happens when the stomach is unable to empty its contents. Potential causes include, but are not limited to, diabetes mellitus, post viral infection, connective tissue disorder(s) and drug induced.

I would suggest a gastric emptying scan while off any medication if possible. To schedule a consultation with a Penn physician, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.

What could be the cause of fatigue following a bowel movement?

Question: I am a 62-year old diabetic female. I experience fatigue throughout my body after morning bowel movements, but have no other pain or medical conditions. I do not have difficulty moving bowels and everything else seems normal. What could be causing this?

Answer: I would suggest working with your internist and endocrinologist to make sure your glucose levels are okay throughout the day.

To schedule a consultation with a Penn physician, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Can drinking cause irregularity?

Question: I've notice that when I drink any type of alcoholic beverage, my digestive system takes a complete 180 and I get sick or irregular for at least three days. I like to drink and wanted to know if there was a reason as to why this could be happening?

Answer: Depending upon the content of alcohol and the quantity of alcohol consumed, this can lead to effects on GI motility, in part to the high carbohydrate load.

If you wish to discuss further or to schedule a consultation with a Penn physician, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.


What happens if I take medication too close to my colonoscopy?

Question: I ingested Advil five days prior to my scheduled colonoscopy.  The recommended duration to abstain from such medication is seven days. Should I reschedule my procedure?

Answer: First, I would suggest discussing with your own gastroenterologist.

When planning for your upcoming colonoscopy, you may have to make adjustments to your daily medication routine. If you normally take medication that contains aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil, it is recommended you stop taking these seven days prior to your procedure. The reason being, that it can increase your risk of bleeding after removal of a polyp or a biopsy during your colonoscopy by interfering with the normal clotting of your blood.

For more detailed information, please view the Penn Gastroenterology guidelines for colonoscopy preparation.

To schedule an appointment with a Penn physician, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.

Friday, December 13, 2013

What should the next step be if diagnosed with cystic liver?

Question: I have been told I have a cystic liver, which is causing me a lot of pain. I have had an MRI, CT scan and ultra sound. What should my next step be?

Answer: I would suggest an evaluation with Penn’s Gastroenterology premier hepatology program.

To schedule a consultation, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.

Can acid reflux cause hives?

Question: Have you ever heard of hives associated with acid reflux? I have not changed my diet, but when I get acid reflux, I break out into hives.

Answer: Assuming this is not medication related (please check with your physician), there is a rare disorder called systemic mastocytosis, which could be evaluated as well.

Systemic mastocytosis is a genetic mutation that causes a large number of mast cells to produce in your body. If you have systemic mastocytosis, these mast cells can build up in your skin, and when activated, release substances in your body causing such things as facial flushing, itching, lightheadedness, etc.

To schedule a consultation with a Penn physician, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is there anyone in the Philadelphia region that provides fecal transplants for individuals with ulcerative colitis?

Question: Is there anyone in the Philadelphia region that provides fecal transplants for individuals with ulcerative colitis?

Answer: The answer is no. It is not FDA-approved yet, but at Penn Medicine, we may be doing this in the future. We are currently doing this for recurrent C. Difficile infections.

If you need assistance with your ulcerative colitis or to schedule a consultation with a Penn physician, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.