What’s The Difference: Gut Health Test VS Scopes

Article first published on G&L Surgical

An individual’s overall health and well-being are interconnected with their gut health. Various tools and tests are available to ensure the gut functions properly, two of which are gut health tests and scopes. Both have their unique place in health assessments, yet they vary significantly regarding their procedure and purpose. 

This article aims to delve deeper into these two assessment approaches, dissecting their characteristics and differences and providing guidance on choosing between them.

Understanding Gut Health Tests

Gut Health Test Singapore, AMiLi Test, G&L Surgical, Dr Ganesh Ramalingam

Gut health tests offer a comprehensive picture of an individual’s digestive system. The primary purpose of these tests is to evaluate the health and diversity of the gut microbiome – the army of trillions of microorganisms that inhabit the gut. A healthy gut microbiome is crucial as it can influence everything from digestion to mental health and even immunity.

Through a simple stool sample collected at home, gut health tests can reveal the types of bacteria present, their relative abundance, and the overall balance of beneficial and harmful species. Additionally, these tests can shed light on your body’s ability to break down dietary fibre, an essential function linked with bowel regularity, cholesterol management, and blood sugar control.

Inflammatory markers are another key parameter measured by gut health tests. Chronic inflammation in the gut can lead to conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). By measuring these markers, a gut health test can potentially identify signs of inflammation before they become symptomatic.

Gut health tests are appreciated for their non-invasive nature and accessibility. The procedure involves the comfortable privacy of your home and the ease of using a collection kit sent by mail. It’s a user-friendly option that empowers individuals to take control of their gut health.

However, gut health tests have limitations. While they provide valuable insights into the microbiome and inflammation, they aren’t designed to detect anatomical abnormalities or more serious underlying conditions like ulcers or malignancies. For these concerns, a more in-depth examination may be necessary.

Understanding Scopes

Colonoscopy & Gastroscopy, Gut Health, G&L Surgical, Dr Ganesh Ramalingam

Scopes, on the other hand, offer a thorough, direct inspection of the gut. Scopes, such as gastroscopies and colonoscopies, involve inserting a long, thin tube equipped with a light and camera through the mouth or rectum to explore the digestive tract.

The primary purpose of scopes is to visually detect abnormalities that could be causing symptoms or could potentially lead to more serious conditions. This includes ulcers, polyps, diverticula, and even early signs of cancer. Scopes allow for a level of precision and detail that gut health cannot provide.

Moreover, scopes also offer the unique advantage of therapeutic intervention. Healthcare professionals can perform biopsies, remove polyps, or treat bleeding areas during the same procedure.

While the term ‘invasive’ may sound alarming, it’s important to remember that these procedures are carried out under appropriate sedation or anaesthesia to minimise discomfort. However, preparation for the procedure, potential risks, and recovery time are factors to be considered.

Key Differences Between Gut Health Tests and Scopes

When comparing gut health tests and scopes, the first difference that comes to mind is their invasiveness. Gut health tests are non-invasive, providing a wealth of information from a simple stool sample. Scopes, however, require a more hands-on, internal exploration of the digestive tract.

Moreover, the information provided by each method differs. Gut health tests offer insights into the gut’s microbiome, inflammation levels, and food intolerance, which primarily relate to wellness and potential non-critical issues. 

Scopes, on the other hand, aim to diagnose diseases and conditions by physically examining the gut, making them a more suitable tool for people with specific symptoms or concerns.

Choosing the Right Assessment Approach

Gut Health Test, Scope, G&L Surgical

The choice between gut health tests and scopes largely depends on individual circumstances, symptoms, and medical history. If you’re suffering from severe, persistent symptoms, a scope might be the most suitable option as it can provide more definitive answers. On the contrary, if you’re generally healthy and want to improve or monitor your gut health, a gut health test might suffice.

It’s important to understand that this decision is not one to make in isolation. Collaborating with healthcare professionals and discussing these options with them ensures an appropriate and beneficial decision for your health.

Conclusion

To wrap up, gut health tests and scopes are two sides of the same coin, each offering valuable insights into different aspects of gut health. While gut health tests provide a broad overview of your gut microbiome and markers of inflammation, scopes offer a detailed visual assessment and the ability to treat abnormalities.

As always, the choice between the two should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider, factoring in individual health, symptoms, and personal preferences. Together, these tools contribute to a well-rounded approach to gut health, paving the way for improved overall wellness.

If you’re unsure where to start, don’t hesitate to contact our team. Our team of professionals will be able to advise you based on your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history. Take control of your gut health today and start your journey towards a healthier, happier life.

Lump On Arm: Should I Be Worried?

Article first published on G&L Surgical

Feeling an unexpected lump or bump on your body can be concerning, especially when it’s located in a visible area like the arm.

While a good number of these lumps are often benign, representing simple skin or subdermal irregularities, they can still make you feel uneasy. 

In this article, we explore the common causes, signs and symptoms surrounding skin lumps on the arm and how you should go about seeking expert medical guidance to ensure clarity, correct diagnosis, and peace of mind.

Common Causes of Lumps

Lumps can emerge for a variety of reasons. While the term “lump” might evoke immediate concern, it’s comforting to know that benign causes, those which are neither harmful nor cancerous, are often the culprits. 

Even though these benign lumps might present as simple, non-threatening anomalies upon initial assessment, they should still be professionally evaluated. This helps in an accurate diagnosis and guides the best possible course of action if intervention is deemed necessary.

Signs that Indicate More Serious Concerns

lump on arm serious, G&L surgical, Dr Ganesh Ramalingam

In most cases, the external appearance of a lump is no direct indication of its nature or potential for harm. Without a trained eye, subtle changes, internal compositions, or rapid developments might not be apparent. These are distinct markers and signs that can indicate a more serious underlying issue:

  • Rapid Growth: A lump that shows noticeable enlargement over a short span, such as days or weeks, demands attention. Normal benign growths, like lipomas, tend to develop slowly over time. Hence, any rapid change in size could be indicative of an aggressive nature, necessitating immediate professional evaluation.
  • Changes in Appearance: Consistency in a lump’s appearance is typical of benign growths. However, if you notice alterations in its colour, texture, or shape, it could be a sign of concern. For instance, a lump that becomes uneven, changes colour, or hardens might be worrisome.
  • Associated Symptoms: While some lumps can be entirely asymptomatic, others might manifest with symptoms. Any pain, tenderness, numbness, or other unusual sensations associated with the lump could signify an underlying condition or inflammation. Moreover, if the lump impedes the movement or function of the area, it’s a clear sign that it requires medical attention.

Seeking Medical Treatment

When it comes to seeking treatment, here’s a deeper look into the range of treatments available based on diagnosis:

  • Benign Lumps: Often, the approach with benign growths is one of observation. Medical professionals might choose to keep an eye on the lump, ensuring that it doesn’t present any concerning changes. However, if the lump causes pain, restricts movement, or raises aesthetic concerns, it might be recommended for surgical removal. Procedures for benign lump removal are typically straightforward, with minimal recovery time.
  • Malignant Lumps: The discovery of a malignant lump necessitates a more intensive treatment approach. Depending on its type, location, and stage, various treatments may be proposed. Surgery is often the first step, aiming to remove as much of the malignant growth as possible. 

Additional Points To Note

Avoiding Self-Diagnosis: In our digital age, it’s tempting to type symptoms into a search engine and come up with a diagnosis based on online resources. While the internet is a reservoir of information, it cannot replace the years of training and expertise held by medical professionals. Relying solely on online research can lead to misdiagnosis, unnecessary anxiety, or the overlooking of critical symptoms. 

Thus, when it comes to health concerns, it’s essential to avoid the pitfalls of self-diagnosis and instead opt for expert consultation.

The Importance of Timely Medical Attention: Delaying a visit to the doctor might allow potential issues to escalate. Even benign lumps, if left untreated, can grow, cause discomfort, or become aesthetically displeasing. 

On the other hand, for more serious conditions, early detection can significantly improve prognosis and treatment outcomes. If you are currently experiencing a lump on your arm and are unsure if it needs medical attention, contact us and we will answer your queries as soon as possible.

Colonoscopy VS Endoscopy: What’s The Difference?

Article first published on G&L Surgical

In modern medicine, many tests are available to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal (GI) issues. 

An endoscopy is a common test that examines the digestive tract. Various types of endoscopies examine different parts of the digestive tract, and many people may not know the difference between them. 

In this article, we will explore the types of endoscopies, including the differences between endoscopy and colonoscopy, what each procedure entails, and why regular screening is essential for maintaining gastrointestinal health. 

What’s The Difference Between An Endoscopy And A Colonoscopy?

An endoscopy is an umbrella term for all types of scopes. A colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy that only examines the lower part of the digestive tract, specifically the colon and rectum.

On the other hand, an upper endoscopy, also known as a gastroscopy, examines the upper part of the digestive tract, including the oesophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

While both procedures involve inserting a flexible tube with a camera and light on the end into the body, they serve different purposes. By understanding the difference between these procedures, you can better understand which your doctor may recommend.

Gastroscopy, Colonoscopy, Endoscopy, G&L Surgical Clinic, Dr Ganesh Ramalingam

What Is An Upper Endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy is a medical examination procedure that allows doctors to view the upper part of the digestive tract. During an upper endoscopy, also called a gastroscopy, a doctor will examine the oesophagus, stomach, and the beginning of the small intestine called the duodenum.

The procedure is performed by inserting a flexible tube, called an endoscope, through the mouth and into the oesophagus. The endoscope has a camera and light on it, allowing the doctor to see the inside of the digestive tract on a monitor. The procedure takes around 15-30 minutes, and patients are typically given a mild sedative to help them relax.

An upper endoscopy can detect a range of GI issues, including ulcers, inflammation, and abnormal growths.

What Is A Colonoscopy?

colonoscopy examines the lower part of the digestive tract, specifically the colon and rectum. The procedure involves a flexible tube called a colonoscope with a camera and light on the end. The colonoscope is inserted through the anus and into the colon, allowing the doctor to view the inside of the colon on a monitor.

The procedure usually takes 30-60 minutes, and patients are typically given a sedative to help them relax. During a colonoscopy, doctors can detect a range of GI issues, including polyps, cancer, inflammation, and abnormal growths. In addition, biopsies can also be taken during the procedure to test for conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and signs of colorectal cancer or polyps.

Getting a Colonoscopy and Upper Endoscopy At The Same Time

Doctor talking to patient about colonoscopy screening

Patients who experience gastrointestinal issues may be recommended to undergo both a colonoscopy and an endoscopy at the same time. This is so you can get a full body check in one examination while saving on cost. 

During the procedure, the patient will be placed under general anaesthesia to help them relax, and the examination will take around 60-90 minutes.

The Importance of Regular Screening

In Singapore, the Ministry of Health recommends regular colorectal cancer screening for individuals aged 50 and above. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors may need to begin screening earlier or have more frequent screenings.

Upper endoscopy and colonoscopy are essential examinations for maintaining gastrointestinal health, allowing doctors to detect and treat a range of conditions, including polyps, inflammation, and cancer. It is best to talk to your doctor about which screening test is right for you and when you should begin regular screenings.

Regular screening is important to maintain good gastrointestinal health in Singapore. By staying on top of the recommended screenings and working with your doctor, you can take proactive steps to protect your health and detect any issues early on.

Conclusion

An upper endoscopy and colonoscopy are valuable tools for examining the digestive tract and detecting various conditions, from inflammation to cancer. 

While they may sound similar, they are used to examine different parts of the digestive tract. Talk to your doctor about which screening tests are recommended for you.

At G&L Surgical, we provide professional advice on colonoscopy procedures and colorectal cancer. If you have any questions on these examinations and conditions, contact our team for assistance.

The Role of Probiotics in Gut Health: Insights From Dr Ganesh 

Just last week, a patient came to me with a question about the benefits of probiotics and how they benefit our health. Through our conversation, I was surprised at how often people overlook the function of probiotics, which can directly influence your overall well-being, particularly your gut. 

So today, as a gastrointestinal doctor who’s spent years navigating the world of gut health, I’ve put together this article to shed light on the critical role probiotics play in enhancing your gut health. 

Understanding Gut Health

To get started, what exactly does “gut health” stand for? 

The term “gut health” refers to all activities in your gastrointestinal (GI) system, which in turn is a vital player in maintaining one’s holistic health. Within the gut is a vibrant and diverse community of microorganisms which form an ecosystem known as gut microbiome. This ecosystem influences different areas of your well-being, spanning from digestion processes to influencing your immune system. 

During my extensive experience in the field, I have discerned that a myriad of prevalent digestive complaints stem from a disrupted microbiome. These disturbances might manifest as mild issues like bloating and inconsistent bowel habits or escalate to more severe conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Diverticulitis. Being able to identify and rectify microbial imbalances in our gut is the key to how you can build a resilient gut health. 

With that said, how do Probiotics play a role in rectifying these imbalances?

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics

Firstly, probiotics are living beneficial bacteria naturally found in certain foods and supplements. Their primary role is to support a balanced gut microbiome, promoting better digestion and overall health. 

The presence of these healthy bacteria is similar to having “caretakers” for your gut microbiome; they interact to help improve your digestive functions and create a robust internal system that is resilient to other health issues.

Now, having grasped the role of probiotics, it seems only natural to delve into their close relatives – prebiotics – and differentiate between the two. Prebiotics can be considered the ‘food’ for the friendly bacteria in your gut. Predominantly found in fibre-rich foods, they provide a nurturing ground for beneficial bacteria to flourish and multiply, even though they are non-digestible by human enzymes.

Simply put, while probiotics are the actual beneficial bacteria, prebiotics serve as their nourishment, fostering a harmonious relationship that is vital in maintaining a vibrant and healthy gut environment.

Benefits of Probiotics for Gut Health

When talking about the benefits of taking probiotics, there are definitely numerous advantages to it. From personal observation, they aid in enhancing digestion and facilitating better nutrient absorption.

In addition, through consuming the right strain of probiotics, patients have also reported that probiotics helped regulate their bowel movements and even relieved some troubling conditions such as constipation.

Some common foods that introduce probiotics to your system would include:

  • Yoghurt
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Pickled vegetables (eg. pickled cucumber, radish)
  • Sauerkraut

Conclusion

In essence, prioritising your gut health with probiotics can transform your overall health. The cornerstone of vibrant health lies in a robust gut.

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