• Could you have IBS?

    Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic, functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine. It isn’t yet known exactly why some people develop IBS, but some experts think IBS may stem from a problem in the way the brain and the gut interact. Additionally, people with IBS tend to have triggers that cause a flare-up of symptoms. If you’ve been experiencing unusual gastrointestinal issues, or if you go to the Emergency Room for severe abdominal pain, the physicians at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center are here to help you reclaim your quality of life.

    Common symptoms of IBS
    IBS is often confused as being the same as inflammatory bowel disease, but these are two different diagnoses. Unlike IBD, IBS doesn’t cause inflammatory responses or any permanent damage to the digestive system. However, it can cause the following painful and uncomfortable symptoms:

    • Abdominal pain or cramps
    • Gas and bloating
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Mucus in stool
    • Sensation of having an incomplete bowel movement
    • Bowel urgency
    • Loose stools
    • Abdominal pain that resolves after a bowel movement

    If you experience gastrointestinal symptoms that are severe or that linger, it’s time to talk to your doctor. You can also start keeping a written record of which symptoms you experience, when they occur and what might possibly trigger them.

    Possible triggers of IBS symptoms
    Patients with IBS often find that eliminating trigger foods from their diet improves their management of the symptoms. Some common trigger foods include:

    • Alcohol
    • Caffeine
    • Dairy products
    • Cabbage
    • Onions
    • Wheat
    • Citrus fruits
    • Beans

    It’s also thought that stress can make already existing symptoms worse.

    Diagnostic steps to identify IBS
    Diagnosing IBS can be tricky because there’s no one test that can definitively indicate this disorder. However, your doctor can perform a physical exam, review your medical history and discuss your symptoms.

    A diagnosis of IBS is generally made if a patient experiences stomach pain for at least three days per week for at least three months. Additionally, a patient must show at least two other symptoms, such as pain that resolves after a bowel movement or pain that began when bowel habits changed.

    You’ll find the compassionate, personalized care you need at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. Our state-of-the-art hospital in Thousand Oaks maintains a longstanding tradition of healthcare excellence across all of our service lines. A registered nurse is available to take your general healthcare questions at (877) 888-5746.

  • Is disc replacement surgery right for you?

    If back pain is interfering with your normal activities, disc replacement surgery is one option your physician may suggest. For some patients, disc replacement surgery is a good alternative to spinal fusion and may lead to better pain relief and long-lasting results. Could this be the right treatment for your back pain? Here are some factors your physician will work with you to consider when choosing a surgical procedure.

    Facet joint health
    As mentioned in the video, the health of the facet joints in the area of diseased discs is a critical factor in the success of disc replacement. If there is degenerative arthritis in the facet joints, then disc replacement may not provide sufficient relief.

    If the facet joints only show mild signs of arthritis, some patients may still be able to undergo disc replacement. Patients with arthritis that has progressed further will typically get more relief from spinal fusion surgery.

    Previous spine surgery
    Disc replacement surgery is usually only recommended for people who have not had any major spinal procedures in the past. If you have had a major spine surgery previously, your physician may recommend spinal fusion instead.

    Each case of disc replacement after another spine procedure is considered individually, so be sure to discuss your previous surgeries with your physician in full.

    Weight
    Being at a healthy weight makes it more likely that disc replacement procedures will be effective. If you are not at a healthy weight, your physician may ask that you try to lose weight before surgery or recommend a different procedure.

    Being at a healthy weight will also reduce the risk of surgical complications, make it safer to undergo anesthesia and help you have a faster recovery.

    At Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, we perform a range of inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures within a center designed just for surgical care. Find out for yourself why our surgical center is consistently ranked second in patient satisfaction in the state by contacting us at (877) 888-5746 to request a referral.

  • What are the signs of endometriosis?

    Endometriosis is a painful condition affecting women in their child-bearing years. It can interfere with fertility and significantly interrupt the daily life of sufferers. For women with severe cases, surgery may be necessary. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, consider talking to your physician about whether endometriosis could be to blame.

    Pain
    Pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. For women with endometriosis, the tissue the typically lines the uterus grows outside of it, often along the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and throughout the abdominal cavity. This tissue often responds to hormonal changes in the same way it does inside of the uterus, so it bleeds during your menstrual cycle.

    Because the blood cannot be expelled in the same way it is from your uterus, it builds up and causes pain and pressure. Depending on the location of the tissue growth, women may experience:

    • Intense menstrual cramping
    • Pain in the back and pelvis
    • Painful sex
    • Painful bowel movements

    Bleeding Between Periods
    Women with endometriosis may experience bleeding between their periods. This bleeding can range from mild spotting to flows similar to menstruation. It can be difficult to predict when the bleeding will occur, making it difficult to manage.

    Endometriosis isn’t the only women’s health issue that can cause bleeding between periods, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause if you are experiencing this symptom.

    Infertility
    It is possible to get pregnant when you have endometriosis, but it is more difficult. Physicians are not sure why endometriosis interferes with fertility, but the excess tissue may make it difficult for the sperm and egg to reach each other or the lining of the uterus may not be properly developed for implantation.

    Approximately 50% of women who are struggling to conceive have endometriosis.

    Endometriosis can be a debilitating and frustrating condition, but the women’s health providers at Los Robles Health & Medical Center can help. We offer comprehensive women’s health services for gynecological conditions, as well as obstetrics and breast care. To get a referral to a specialist, please call (877) 888-5746.

  • Common causes of poisoning found around the house

    When most people think of poisoning, they think of food poisoning, which occurs when a food is infected with dangerous bacteria, viruses, of fungi. Although food poisoning is certainly common, you may be surprised at the other toxins that are lurking around your home. These toxins are dangerous to both kids and adults, and they are ingested, immediate treatment in the emergency room is required. Here are just a few of the potential sources of poisoning that are likely to be in your home.

    Personal care products
    Children are especially prone to poisoning by personal care products , including cosmetics, shampoos, and even toothpaste. These items can be nearly irresistible to kids, thanks to bright colors and intriguing scents, but ingesting them can be extremely dangerous.

    Some personal care products are dangerous when ingested in even small amounts. Some products, such as toothpaste, are safe when used as intended but can cause poisoning when ingested in large quantities. If you think your child has eaten any personal care products, go to the emergency room, even if you aren’t sure if he or she ingested a dangerous amount.

    Cleaning products
    Laundry pods have become a common culprit in household poisonings, but any kind of laundry product is toxic when ingested. Other cleaning products, from kitchen sprays to toilet cleaners, will also cause poisoning.

    Cleaning products can also cause poisoning when inhaled. Some products create dangerous fumes when mixed, so it is important to follow the instructions on the label carefully.

    Medications
    Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can be a source of poisoning for kids and adults. Taking the wrong medications or taking more than the recommended dose can both lead to poisoning.

    It is extremely important to get an emergency care quickly in the case of poisoning caused by a medication overdose or accidental exposure to a medication.

    Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center offers emergency care around the clock for patients of all ages. Visit our emergency room in Thousand Oaks for all of your family’s urgent medical needs, or call (877) 888-5746 to learn more about our hospital services.

  • Do you need to be screened for colorectal cancer?

    Screening for colorectal cancer is lifesaving. Because polyps associated with colorectal cancer tend to grow slowly, screenings allow doctors to find them and remove them, often long before they become cancerous. As with all kinds of cancer, getting an early diagnosis of colorectal cancer makes treatments easier and more effective. Is screening right for you? Here are some of the factors your physician will consider when making the right choice for you about colorectal cancer screenings.

    How old are you?
    The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age. Most people over age 50 can benefit from periodic screening tests. How often you should be screened after 50 depends on a number of different factors, including the type of screening you had and the results of those tests.

    The typical schedule for testing is every 10 years if you have a colonoscopy , and every five years if you have another kind of screening, such as CT colonography, flexible sigmoidoscopy or double-contrast barium enema.

    Do you have a family history of colorectal cancer?
    If you have a first-degree relative—a parent, sibling, or child—who has had colorectal cancer, then you have a heightened risk of the disease. In this case, your physician may recommend that you start colorectal cancer screenings before age 50 and that you have them more often.

    Your risk of colorectal cancer can be further heightened if your relative was diagnosed before he or she turned 45 or if you have more than one relative with the disease. These factors will also influence screening recommendations made by your physician.

    Have you had colon polyps?
    If you have had a previous screening during which colon polyps were discovered, then you may need to have additional screenings more frequently. The number of polyps that were discovered and whether they were removed in pieces will impact when you need further screening tests.

    The Cancer Center at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center offers comprehensive cancer diagnostic testing and treatments in Thousand Oaks with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers. Get more information about our cancer team by calling (877) 888-5746.

  • Eating right during pregnancy if you are underweight

    Maintaining a healthy weight is more important than ever during pregnancy . Many people focus on avoiding excessive weight gain, but being underweight can be equally as damaging to you and your baby. Being underweight increases the risk of premature labor and your baby having a low birth weight. Healthy eating and monitoring your weight gain with your doctor will make it easier to gain an appropriate amount of weight. Here is a look at what you need to know.

    Healthy pregnancy weight gain for underweight women
    You are considered to be underweight if your BMI, or body mass index, was less than 18.5 before pregnancy. If you fall into this range, then your physician will likely recommend that you gain between 28 and 40 pounds during your pregnancy.

    When you gain this weight, the baby will account for approximately seven to eight pounds of the weight, while about seven pounds will be in fat and nutrient stores for the baby. The rest of the weight will be distributed throughout the placenta, uterus, blood, amniotic fluid, breast tissue, and your uterus.

    Time of pregnancy weight gain
    Most women gain between one and four pounds during the first trimester, though your physician may recommend that you gain more if you are underweight. Keep in mind that weight gain may be difficult during this time because of morning sickness.

    During the second and third trimesters, most women gain between one and two pounds per week. However, your physician may recommend that you gain more if you remain underweight.

    Healthy eating habits during pregnancy
    If you are underweight during pregnancy, your physician will want you to increase your weight by eating healthy foods. Consider these eating tips to help you gain weight in a way that is healthy for you and your baby:

    • Never skip breakfast. Add extra protein, such as peanut butter or cheese, to your usual meal.
    • Snack on yogurt or dried fruit between meals.
    • Increase the amount of high-quality fasts, such as olive oil and avocados, in your meals.
    • Drink fruit juice made with real fruit without added sugars.

    The Birthing Center at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center helps moms-to-be stay healthy through every stage of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Contact our hospital in Thousand Oaks today by calling (877) 888-5746 to learn more about our family-centered birth center or to request a referral to a women’s services specialist.

  • What happens at the hospital when a patient has stroke symptoms?

    When a stroke occurs, every second counts. It’s essential to get to an emergency room as soon as possible so treatment can begin right away. Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center , which means our treatment program has met strict requirements set by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association regarding the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. We are the first facility in Ventura County to earn this distinction and provide life-saving care for patients across the area through a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers. Take a look behind the scenes at what happens when you go to the hospital with stroke symptoms.

    Stroke alert
    When a patient is experiencing stroke symptoms, the members of our stroke care team receive an alert. This lets them know that emergency stroke care is necessary, so that they immediately assemble in the ER to treat the patient.

    The stroke alert will reach our team if patients arrive in the emergency room with symptoms or if they call 911 and come to the hospital by ambulance. The hospital communicates continually with EMS while a patient is en route.

    Assessment
    The stroke team will determine if the patient is having a stroke, and if he or she is having an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. As stated in the video, this information is essential to determining a treatment plan.

    To make an accurate diagnosis, the healthcare team may use these tests:

    • Physical exam

    • CT scan or MRI

    • < >

      Cerebral angiography

    • Blood tests

    • Carotid duplex

    • Heart monitor

    Treatment
    As soon as a diagnosis is made, treatment can begin. The initial treatment depends on the type of stroke and how long the stroke has been occurring and may include medication, surgery, or a combination of the two.

    After the initial treatment, patients will be referred for rehabilitation and other aftercare services as needed to help with their recoveries.

    Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center has extensive services to provide care at every stage of a stroke, from our emergency room to our neuroendovascular program and Neuro ICU. Call 911 or come to our hospital in Thousand Oaks when stroke symptoms occur, or call (877) 888-5746 to learn more about our Comprehensive Stroke Center distinction.

  • Improving your safety when you have low vision

    Low vision can occur as the result of a number of different eye diseases, including glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, as well as eye and brain injuries. Fortunately, there are several things you can do learn to live safely with low vision and reduce the risk of injuries or the need for emergency care . Boost your safety when you’re living with low vision with these techniques.

    Add additional lights
    The amount of lighting in your home can dramatically impact your ability to see. By installing additional lights, you can improve your vision and reduce your chances of tripping or bumping into items that could cause injury.

    Start by replacing your existing bulbs with higher wattage bulbs. In areas where overhead lighting is not sufficient, add additional lamps. Adjust your bulbs and the number of light sources in a space according to your needs.

    Create contrast
    Color contrasts are easier to see than colors in the same shade when you have low vision. Take advantage of color contrasts to increase your ability to see.

    For example, consider laying a colored blanket across the back of a white or lightly colored piece of furniture. You may also benefit from putting a black cloth or contact paper down on a surface on which you store white paper. Don’t store trip hazards, like shoes, on similarly colored carpet or flooring.

    Use talking medical devices
    If you have a chronic medical condition that requires you to use a device to manage it, then your needs don’t stop because you have low vision. Talking devices, which tell you a reading rather than requiring you to see it, will make your care easier.

    Diabetics, for instance, who need to check their blood sugar levels multiple times per day can benefit from having a talking glucose meter that reads out their test results. This allows people to make decisions about insulin dosing and meal planning without having to read the meter.

    Help is available for low vision. Make an appointment at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center with a specialist who can help you make decisions about your care. To get a referral to a physician, call our Thousand Oaks hospital today at (877) 888-5746.

  • What are the common signs of a UTI?

    Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are extremely common. Although women are more likely to get a UTI than men, anyone can get one at any age. Because UTIs can spread and affect other parts of the body, it’s important to know the signs so you get treatment as soon as possible and avoid the risk of complications. Here’s a look at the most common symptoms of a UTI. Consider calling your physician if you experience any of these signs.

    Pain during urination
    Pain during urination is the most frequent sign of a UTI . Most people with a UTI describe an intense burning while urinating. This symptom is usually the first sign of a UTI.

    In addition to pain during urination, you may also experience the sense that your bladder is not being emptied completely, coupled with an increase in the frequency of urination. Often, people with a UTI feel an urge to urinate but actually release very little urine.

    Fever
    As explained in the video, a UTI can cause symptoms in other part of the body. As with all many other kinds of illnesses, a UTI can cause a fever, as your body fights off infection.

    In addition to having a fever, you may feel a general sense of being unwell. Many people feel fatigue or shakiness when they have a UTI. You may also feel achy or experience pain in your back or below your ribs on your flanks.

    Changes in the smell or appearance of urine
    Often, you can see the evidence of a UTI in your urine. It may look cloudy, or it may look reddish or similar in color to soda or tea. You may also see a small amount of blood in your urine.

    With a UTI, urine may also have a foul odor or may otherwise smell stronger than normal.

    If you suspect you have a UTI or are struggling with another health issue, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center is here to provide the care you need. Our emergency room in Thousand Oaks is open around the clock for your urgent needs, and our specialists provide a comprehensive range of healthcare services. Request a referral to a physician affiliated with our hospital by calling (877) 888-5746.

  • How to assess your heart health

    Since heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., knowing the state of your heart health is one of the most significant things you can do for your overall well-being. When you understand your personal heart health risks, you can take steps to keep them under control and lessen the chances that you will need cardiology specialty care . There are several easy things you can do to assess the heart of your health. Focus on heart health with these assessment tips.

    Check your pulse
    Your pulse can give you a great deal of information about your heart’s rate and rhythm. Follow these steps to check your own pulse at home:

    • Put the index and middle fingers of one hand on the inner wrist of the opposite hand in the area below the thumb. Move your fingers around until you can feel the tapping of your pulse.
    • Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds.
    • Multiple that number by 6—this will tell you the number of beats per minute.

    Usually, people have resting heart rates between 60 and 100 beats per minute. This number can vary based on a number of factors, however. Keep in mind that fit people have lower heart rates. By performing this check regularly, you can get an idea of what is normal for you and recognize any changes that you may want to discuss with your doctor.

    Check your blood pressure
    Home blood pressure cuffs let you check your blood pressure without going to the doctor’s office. Healthy blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. If either of your numbers is higher, you could have high blood pressure.

    You can have occasional abnormal readings for a number of different reasons, from stress to illness. Repeated high readings could indicate that you need treatment to control your blood pressure.

    Know your numbers
    See your physician regularly for tests that provide clues about your heart health. You should have regular screenings for:

    • Cholesterol
    • Blood glucose
    • Blood pressure

    Your weight is another important number to know. Being overweight increases your risk of heart health problems.

    You can also test your heart health by taking the Heart Risk Assessment from Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. Should you need heart care, our Cardiovascular Institute offers renowned cardiology care in Thousand Oaks. To obtain a referral, please dial (877) 888-5746.

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