New Studies Document Advances in Treating Gastrointestinal Diseases

May 18, 2015, 17:58 ET from Digestive Disease Week

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The latest research on digestive disorders and treatments has the potential to transform patients' lives. In three studies released at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2015, researchers presented: a new method of colonoscopy preparation; a study documenting delays in diagnosing celiac disease; and data showing a potential danger of menopausal hormone therapy.

  • Colonoscopy is a potentially life-saving screening procedure, but as many as 25 million people — or roughly 40 percent of those who should be screened — don't undergo the process, many because they can't stand the prep process, which involves fasting, combined with drinking a large volume of viscous liquid. Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center reported that a new method eliminates fasting and allows patients to enjoy a balanced 24-hour diet comprised of foods, such as cereal and pasta salad, with a laxative mixed in. A study enrolling 30 patients found that all patients eating this diet reported they had no problems and would be willing to undergo the procedure again when needed.
  • Celiac disease, a serious and growing disorder, can worsen if a proper diagnosis is not made. But, a new survey of more than 1,600 patients finds troubling and sometimes inexplicable delays in diagnosis — averaging approximately six years. Part of the delay was caused by patients who experienced symptoms, yet failed to seek treatment, sometimes for years. But, a larger portion of delay was attributable to doctors, particularly for female patients. Females had diagnosis delayed by an average of 76 months, while males by 56 months. Age was also a factor, with older patients taking an average of nearly three times as long to receive proper diagnosis as younger patients.
  • Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital surveyed the histories of more than 73,000 women and found that current users of menopausal hormone therapy are more than twice as likely than non-users to develop lower gastrointestinal bleeding and ischemic colitis, especially if they use the therapy for longer durations. The findings illustrate the importance for both clinicians and patients to be more cautious in using this therapy, particularly those with a history of intestinal ailments

DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. More information can be found at

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SOURCE Digestive Disease Week