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Taking the Taboo Out of Women's Gastrointestinal Health

December 04, 2020

Rachel Weinheimer, M.D., colon and rectal surgeon at Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–Amarillo, is empowering women to take control of their gastrointestinal health.

In a virtual discussion, Dr. Weinheimer addressed sensitive topics around women’s colon and gut health, including colorectal cancer, colonoscopies, and fecal incontinence, among others.

According to Dr. Weinheimer, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for men and women combined in the U.S., and early detection is key. If colorectal cancer is caught in its early stages before it has spread, patients have a 90 percent five-year survival rate. While there are several screening options for colorectal cancer, Dr. Weinheimer recommend colonoscopies as the gold standard.

For other “bottom issues,” Dr. Weinheimer stressed the importance of patients sharing concerns with their physicians and getting examined. Some common issues such as fecal incontinence can be life-limiting for patients; yet, many women may never tell anyone what’s going on. Dr. Weinheimer encouraged women to remove the “taboo” from talking about these sensitive subjects and consult their physicians.

“The short message for all bottom issues is that there are certainly things that we can do and offer for symptoms such as bleeding or pain, but it really depends on what the diagnosis is,” Dr. Weinheimer said. “There are several different diagnoses that it could be, so it’s important to get an exam and then start getting it treated.”

Overall, Dr. Weinheimer emphasized the importance of lifestyle for colon and gut health. She recommended all women get regular exercise, have a high fiber diet, limit alcohol use, and avoid tobacco. Watch the full discussion in the video below.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.