DocTalk: Ask the Experts

University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center Offers Health Advice from the Experts

Top experts from UH Geauga Medical Center provide the latest patient information to men and women of all ages. Here are some interesting and timely topics of discussion:

Topic: Digestive Health

What is a colonoscopy and why do I need it?

“A colonoscopy is a procedure, which is performed to see inside the colon (the large intestine). The procedure is typically recommended for individuals over the age of 50 but should be performed earlier for anyone with a family history of colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps. During the procedure, which lasts between 30 minutes to an hour, the physician can detect abnormal growths (polyps), inflamed tissue, and ulceration. The polyps, which are frequently precancerous, are removed at the time of the procedure. Colonoscopy is effective at helping diagnose unexplained changes in bowel habits (chronic diarrhea and constipation), abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and anemia from loss of iron. Additionally, a colonoscopy can save your life. In 2010, the American Cancer Society estimates over 50,000 people will die from colon/rectal cancer. Please discuss this preventive procedure with your primary care physician.”
Rami Abbass, MD

Topic: Surgical Services

What should I be sure to ask my surgeon during my first consultation?

“Whether you’re considering traditional or minimally invasive surgery, be sure to ask your surgeon what the expected outcomes are. You’ll need to know any possible risks or complications that can occur. You should also be clear about what the alternative treatments might be, and compare the risks and benefits of those options as well.”

“At University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center, we believe in open communication with our patients. You have the right to expect the same openness from your surgeon. Don’t leave the room until all of your questions have been answered.”
Leena Khaitan, MD

Topic: Incontinence

What causes urinary incontinence, and who is most likely to suffer from it?

“For women, there are two basic types of incontinence: The first is stress urinary incontinence, caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles that are generally the result of pregnancy and childbirth. This type is very common and is easily corrected with outpatient surgery that has a success rate of 90 percent. The second type is urge incontinence, caused by an overactive bladder and found in females of all ages. In 60 percent of these cases, the precise cause is unknown, but risk factors include prior pelvic surgery or radiation and pelvic trauma. Urge Incontinence is successfully managed with medication in a majority of cases.”

“A third type, overflow incontinence, typically affects men and is often caused by a blockage of the urethra due to an enlarged prostate. The good news is that a majority of the surgical procedures employed to treat the various types of urinary incontinence involve routine, minimally invasive outpatient techniques, all of which we offer here at UH Geauga Medical Center.”
Kevin Banks, MD

Topic: Nephrology

How can I avoid kidney disease?

“Treat your kidneys with respect. Eat sensibly. If over the age of 40, monitor blood sugar and blood pressure at least annually, twice a year if over 50. Be informed about the medicines you use regularly, prescribed or over-the-counter. Ask your doctor, your pharmacist, and do your own research on the web. If overweight or obese, take sensible measures to prevent additional weight gain. Weight loss should be gradual and sustained. Avoid “yo-yo” dieting. Urinary infections require prompt treatment. If already diabetic and/or hypertensive, these conditions should be closely monitored and managed.”
Aiyappan Menon, MD

How do I know if I have kidney disease?

“Kidney disease does not manifest specific symptoms until late in its course, with the exception of kidney stones, which can be extremely painful. Most commonly, symptoms of swelling of the feet and legs with or without shortness of breath may be present. These symptoms are not specific to kidney disease, but are frequently associated with it. Excessive “foaminess” of the urine may also suggest the presence of kidney disease. Awakening frequently at night to urinate may indicate declining kidney function. Symptoms of advanced kidney disease may include loss of weight, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping at night with a tendency to sleep during the day, morning nausea, and itching may be present. In addition, difficulty concentrating may be evident to observers.”
Aiyappan Menon, MD

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