Lake Houston - Humble - Kingwood Edition | June 2022

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Treatment options: If he is under 50 and over- the-counter antacids don’t correct the symptoms, he may be prescribed acid- suppressing drugs called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). He’ll also be discouraged from having heavy evening meals. If those measures don’t work, an upper endoscopy is performed which sends a narrow tube with a camera to the esophagus, stomach and upper intestine to rule out ulcers or inflammation. “The gastroenterologist also can send down tools through the endoscope to seal bleeding vessels and do biopsies,” Dr. Rashtak says. If he is over 50, the physician may do an endoscopy before prescribing medication. To confirm GERD, the doctor can do another procedure, in which a tiny acid- or pH- measuring probe (Bravo capsule) is attached to the lower esophagus. It comes with a monitor, whose buttons the patient presses when symptomatic. Bravo stays attached for 4 days, then passes through the digestive tract. Reflux can be cut down by acid suppressing medications, as well as losing weight, stopping smoking and drinking. If not, he may need surgery to repair the valve (or sphincter) that serves as a flapping door between the esophagus and stomach. The operation, fundoplication, strengthens the flap by wrapping the top of the stomach around the lower esophagus. FREQUENT BATHROOM BREAKS Symptoms: He urinates urgently, slowly and with difficulty.

Likely culprit: An enlarged prostate (benign prostate hyperplasia) can press upward on the bladder or curb urine flow by impeding the urinary tract as it moves through the prostate, says Shawn Mathur, MD, urologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. “Eventually the obstruction may lead to bladder dysfunction, inability to urinate and urinary tract infections. It also can progress to kidney (renal) failure,” Dr. Mathur says. Treatment options: Medications can shrink the gland or relax the prostatic tissue, making it easier to urinate. Urologists can perform minimally invasive, in-office procedures to ease the flow, Dr. Mathur says. The UroLift procedure inserts tiny implants to separate prostate lobes, which lessens pressure on the urethra. Some treatments must be performed in the hospital. Aqua ablation uses a computer and high-pressured water, to destroy excess tissue while transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) uses heated electrodes or a laser to take out the central part of the prostate. Surgeons also can cut through the abdomen to do a simple prostatectomy, in which they remove the interior tissue of super-sized glands. LARGE WAISTLINE Symptoms: He snores loudly, urinates often and has heartburn. Likely culprit: Obesity. His organs are surrounded by visceral fat and crammed into his tummy—and that’s bad news. “Obesity is a

‘It’s nothing.” That’s the classic retort you hear when you suggest that the man in your life see a doctor for symptoms he’s having. But it could be something—something which could endanger his health and interfere with his quality of life. Minor complaints needn’t worsen, especially since many of the latest treatments at Memorial Hermann can be minimally or even noninvasive. So, here’s how to get him to see a physician for some common health complaints. FATIGUE, HEAVY SNORING Symptoms: He gasps, chokes or even stops breathing while dozing. Likely culprit: He may suffer from reflux, the upward surge of acid from the stomach via the esophagus to the throat, says Shahrooz Rashtak, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and gastroenterologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. Habitual heartburn may be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which erodes and inflames the esophageal lining and can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, a condition which boosts cancer risk, Dr. Rashtak says. “White men over 50—especially those with round bellies and who smoke or drink—are more vulnerable.”



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