Concise Reviews for Primary-Care Physicians
- Nausea and vomiting (N/V) are common presenting complaints in the outpatient and inpatient settings. These symptoms can be associated with high morbidity and poor quality of life, particularly in those with chronic symptoms. The clinical approach to N/V can be challenging, given the numerous possible underlying causes as well as the vast array of diagnostic and therapeutic options. In this concise review, we provide a practical 5-step approach to the clinical evaluation and treatment of N/V, suitable for application in the primary care and subspecialty settings.
- Gastrointestinal bleeding is a common clinical problem encountered in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Although the evaluation of upper and lower gastrointestinal bleeding is often straightforward, bleeding from the small bowel may pose a clinical challenge. In this article, we review the indications, modalities, and differential diagnoses of small bowel bleeding. On completion of the article, clinicians should be able to identify common causes of small bowel bleeding, understand the advantages and disadvantages of the modalities used to evaluate small bowel bleeding, and enact a stepwise management approach to the patient with presumed small bowel bleeding.
- Microscopic colitis (MC) is an inflammatory disease of the colon and a common cause of chronic watery diarrhea, predominantly in older patients. Microscopic colitis encompasses 2 different subtypes, lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis. The colon typically appears normal endoscopically in MC, and the diagnosis requires histologic evaluation. Whereas recent studies suggest that the incidence of MC has plateaued, given the aging of the population, the prevalence of MC will likely increase. Risk factors for MC include increasing age; female sex; presence of other autoimmune diseases; and possibly use of certain medications, including proton pump inhibitors, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and statins.
- Chronic abdominal wall pain is a common, yet often overlooked, cause of chronic abdominal pain in both the outpatient and inpatient settings. This disorder most commonly affects middle-aged adults and is more prevalent in women than in men. In chronic abdominal wall pain, the pain occurs due to entrapment of the cutaneous branches of the sensory nerves that supply the abdominal wall. Although the diagnosis of chronic abdominal wall pain can be made using patient history, physical examination, and response to a trigger point injection, patients often undergo extensive and exhaustive laboratory, imaging, and procedural work-up before being diagnosed with this condition, given it is often overlooked.