Dr. Sofia Novak is the Director of Women’s Center at Brooklyn Gastroenterology and Endoscopy. Her clinical interests include nutrition, gastrointestinal (i.e. celiac) and liver diseases. Dr. Novak specializes in patients suffering from gas, bloating and pain. She performs a wide array of procedures including upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, enteroscopy, capsule endoscopy, and pH testing.
Dr. Novak completed her medical and gastroenterology training at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Healthcare system, where she also served as Chief Medical Resident. She completed her medical school training at New York Medical College. She frequently presents her research at national and international gastroenterology meetings. Dr. Novak is fluent in Russian.
Dr. Novak was recently featured on Medcast Plus and talked about “Screening Colonoscopies”, “Hepatitis C” and “Constipation”. Here are the videos if you would like to watch them,
1. Do patients often come to you asking about constipation? This is a very frequent complaint. On average one in four adults suffer from some degree of constipation in the United States. I hear this complaint very frequently, with about a third of my patients inquiring about what to do to help with constipation.
2. What are the five most common causes of constipation?
Lifestyle (not enough fiber, liquids and exercise)
Side effects of medications
Gastrointestinal disorders: irritable bowel syndrome and functional constipation
Manifestations of endocrine disorders (diabetes or hypothyroidism) or neurological disorders (parkinson’s, stroke)
More worrisome causes (i.e. tumors ) usually present with other accompanying signs and symptoms.
NTV America interview with Dr. Robin Baradarian, Chief of Gastroenterology at Beth Israel Medical Center in Brooklyn, NYC, regarding the latest endoscopic and therapeutic procedures to treat a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. Disorders include heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), constipation and bloating, as well as more rare diseases of colon, pancreas, liver, bile ducts and gallbladder.
Watch Dr. Baradarian from Brooklyn Gastroenterology speak about the latest endoscopic and therapeutic procedures to treat a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. Click below to learn more!
Deep inside our intestines, there’s a complex microbial ecosystem, known as the “gut flora” which we now know contains nearly a thousand species of bacteria which may affect our overall health in unimaginable ways!
It has long been recognized that our gastrointestinal system relies heavily on these gut flora or “good bacteria”. They exert a pronounced effect on the nutrients and energy that get pulled out of food. In fact, these bacteria are thought to play a big role in a slew of health conditions, including combating obesity, diabetes, infections, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, and even colon cancer. There are many theories as to how these bacteria confer their positive benefits such as an anti-inflammatory effect for the body, increased immunity and therefore healing power after an infection, and even the power to fight off potential cancer cells in a microenvironment by competing for the same nutrients.
Dr. Rabin Rahmani studies on Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) were featured at the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) press conference this October. Dr. Rabin Rahmani is the newest addition to the Brooklyn Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Associates and the Greater New York Endoscopy Surgical Center. Dr. Rahmani currently serves as Director of medical education and research for department of Gastroenterology at Maimonides Medical Center. Dr. Rahmani has conducted and published extensively on this topic for past few years. Also it is important to mention his studies showed taking probiotics before starting antibiotics reduced the risk of developing antibiotic-associated diarrhea by about 60 percent.
These are some of the materials that were covered at the event:
Aspirin users had a 40% lower risk of Clostridium difficile diarrhea in a retrospective study of almost 30,000 hospitalized patients. The risk declined even further among patients who reported using a 325 mg aspirin as opposed to the 81 mg dose commonly used for cardioprotection.
"Our thought is that perhaps, in addition to the pH change that occurs as a result of aspirin, there is also a decrease in the inflammatory cascade that is present in the gut, which is known to be very important for C. diff infection," told by Dr. Rabin Rahmani.
"We know that toxin A, one of the toxins of C. diff, induces expression of COX-2 [cyclooxygenase 2], so the thought is that perhaps by inhibiting or modulating that, very simply by giving aspirin, you decrease the chances of patients at high risk getting C. diff.
Constipation is an extremely common problem. Each year millions of Americans visit their doctor for help. A number of factors can influence this:
1- Constipation occurs more frequently as you get older.
2- Constipation may be a side effect of one of your medications.
3- A sedentary lifestyle can contribute. Remember: “If the body doesn’t move, the bowel doesn’t move!”.
4- Dehydration can cause or worsen constipation.
5- And, of course, your diet plays a very important role in the health of your colon.
How should you manage your constipation?
1- Remember that the bowels are most active following meals, but if you ignore your body’s signals to have a bowel movement, the signals become weaker and weaker over time. By paying close attention to these signals, you may have an easier time moving your bowels.
2- Increasing fiber in your diet. The recommended amount of dietary fiber is 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. You may need to supplement this with commercial fiber preparations, but do it gradually to avoid bloating. Read the rest of this entry »
Hemorrhoids are inflamed and irritated skin containing blood vessels in the anus. They are a very common problem associated with constipation. One in three Americans will seek a physician in their life time for the treatment of hemorrhoids. About 10 million Americans suffer from them right now! While most people do not feel their hemorrhoids, and they are asymptomatic, many people will present with symptoms at one point of their lives.
In majority of cases, excessive straining, constipation, diarrhea, lifting heavy objects and being overweight can lead to or can exacerbate hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are very common in pregnant patients as well. There are two types of hemorrhoids, internal and external. Internal hemorrhoid typically present with painless bleeding in the toilet bowl or on tissue paper. At times a bulge can be felt by the patients protruding though anus, that is at times is extremely painful. External hemorrhoids typically present with pain, itching and at times severe rectal discomfort.
Hemorrhoids are easily diagnosed by examination of rectal area and are easily treated. Treatment includes medications to control pain and bleeding. In addition as majority of hemorrhoids caused by constipation, high fiber diet and adequate water intake is stressed. Non-surgical treatment modalities are highly effective, long lasting and should be tried first, as the success rate is over 90%. These include laser treatment and tying hemorrhoids with rubber bands. Both procedures take less than 3 minutes to perform and do not require any anesthesia. Read the rest of this entry »
Does excess gas cause you embarrassment and discomfort?
You may feel that you pass a lot of gas, or just suffer from bloating and crampy abdominal pain. You may feel this pain in areas where gas can become trapped, such as in bends in the colon, which occur naturally in the area under the liver (upper to mid-right part of the abdomen), and in the area under the spleen (upper to mid left part of the abdomen).
WHERE DOES ALL THIS GAS COME FROM?
There are two main sources of intestinal gas: gas that is ingested (mostly swallowed air) and gas that is produced by bacteria in the colon.
It is normal to swallow a small amount of air when eating and drinking and when swallowing saliva. Some of that air comes out through belching and some moves on to the small intestine. Belching is more common with certain foods that relax the sphincter around the lower end of the esophagus where it joins the stomach, like peppermint, chocolate, and fats.
The colon normally provides a home for billions of harmless bacteria, some of which support the health of the bowel. Did you know that there are more bacteria than human cells in your body? Certain carbohydrates that are incompletely digested by our body’s enzymes are “eaten” by those bacteria instead. The by-products of this process include lots of different gases.
A condition called bacterial overgrowth can increase the number of bacteria and cause excess gas production.
But most people who complain of excessive gas do not produce more gas than the average person. Instead, they are more aware of normal amounts of gas. People with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and FD (functional dyspepsia) are especially sensitive, for example.
The way medicine is often practiced is to diagnose the ailment and then treat the ailment. It is rather impersonal and doesn’t take in the full impact and ailment has on a human being. Brooklyn Gastroenterology and Endoscopy is different. They look at the whole patient, not just what’s currently physically wrong with them.
To start, our staff speaks English, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Persian, Hebrew, and Spanish, so they are able to address a wide range of patients in their native tongue. This is an often overlooked aspect of medicine. It can help a patient feel more comfortable and develop a level of trust and care that can truly help treatment.
The practice also has a dietician, psychotherapist, and pathologist on staff. This allows the doctors to treat, not just the ailment, but the complications someone goes through when dealing with such an ailment (and its treatment) and some of the underlying issues that contribute to the ailment in the first place.
Getting sick can be debilitating mentally and emotionally, it can mean having to develop a whole new lifestyle, it can mean changing habits (such as diet) that you’ve spent a lifetime developing. The additional staff allows the practice to address all aspects of a patient’s life. Disease is not just the destruction of the body. It affects everything that makes us human. It should be treated as such and there’s at least one place that understands that. Read the rest of this entry »