Both women and men are at risk of developing colorectal cancer. Although men have a slightly higher risk than women (38.2% chance in men and 27.2% chance in women), it is harder to detect colon cancer in women as the symptoms are often dismissed as gynaecological or menstrual issues. These include abdominal bloating, discomfort and gas. As a trained specialist, it is relatively easy for me to distinguish between some colorectal and gynaecological symptoms, but many female patients tend to overlook those warning signs and avoid going to the doctor entirely.Continue reading
When it comes to abdominal pain, appendicitis usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Many would automatically assume the discomfort for a bout of food poisoning, since the symptoms of both conditions are pretty similar. But unlike food poisoning, appendicitis usually rapidly worsens in a matter of hours and is considered a medical emergency.
As a general surgeon in Singapore, I’ve seen cases where patients ignore the pain or try a wait-and-see approach only to be faced with a life threatening situation. Don’t let that be you — here’s how to tell if a stomach ache is actually appendicitis and what to do should you be diagnosed with the condition.Continue reading
Your bowel habits isn’t the nicest and most socially appropriate topic to talk about, but it’s a huge part of our functioning body and a greater indicator of your health than you might think. When I see patients, I usually try to get a gauge of their bowel movement to assess their colon health — how often are they pooping? Is the process difficult?
Although there is no fixed rule on how often a person should poop, generally pooping anywhere from three times a day to three times a week is normal. Pooping also shouldn’t be a painful process. If you frequently experience bowel movements that are painful to pass or result in lots of cramping after, you should see a doctor as you could have a condition such as ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease. Also, while it’s normal to experience episodes of constipation or diarrhoea occasionally, they should not be a consistent part of your stool pattern.Continue reading
In medical terms, gastric pain is used to describe upper abdominal pain or pain just right above the belly button and below the ribs. It is often confused with stomach pain. While most pain experienced in the upper abdomen indeed arises from the stomach, some of the pain may originate from other organs like the bile duct, small intestine, gallbladder, pancreas or liver. In such cases, it may signal something more serious, such as kidney stones or the presence of a stomach ulcer.
How do you tell if your gastric pain is caused by a bigger underlying problem, and when should you consult a doctor? Here’s my take.Continue reading
According to the World Health Organisation, cancer accounts for about 9.6 million deaths, making it a leading cause of death worldwide. Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, is one of the most common cancers; in 2018, there were 1.03 million cases and 783,000 deaths in the same year. It is a disease we should be concerned about, especially since it is more prevalent in Asia. In Singapore, stomach cancer is the 6th most common cancer for Singaporean men and 8th for women. This means about 1 in 50 men will develop stomach cancer in their lifetime.Continue reading
Acid reflux is a normal process where acidic content of the stomach flows up the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the upper stomach or chest. It is common for people —including myself— to experience acid reflux from time to time. However, frequent reflux can irritate the lining of the esophagus, giving rise to a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).Continue reading
Our digestive tract contains about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria — some harmful, and some necessary for a healthy body. We term these bacteria collectively as gut microbiomes. Many doctors who specialise in gut health agree that having a wide variety of good bacteria can provide benefits like enhance your immune system and improve symptoms of depression. Several studies done in the past two decades also demonstrate the link between gut health, autoimmune diseases, cancer and more. Simply put, if you have a bad gut, it can take a toll on your entire body.
These days, I’ve been noticing a trend in young people having gut problems, especially among the working class. I credit this to stress, lack of sleep and eating too much processed food; these facets of modern life can damage our gut microbiome.
How can you tell if you have an unhealthy gut? Here are some telltale signs.Continue reading
Did you know that 84% of stomach cancer cases are caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, and roughly 60% of the adult population worldwide has this infection? But don’t worry, most people with Helicobacter Pylori can be treated, especially if diagnosed early. In this article, I will explain what causes this infection and the signs and symptoms you should look out for.Continue reading
Do you often experience abdominal pain? Specifically, pain that arises in the centre of your upper abdomen? You may be experiencing gastric pain, a sort of pain that can range from a dull ache to a throbbing pain. While gastric pain is quite common in Singapore due to our stressful lives and tendency to have irregular meals, this stomach condition may be a sign of more serious health issues like stomach cancer and gallstone disease.Continue reading