GI Alliance supports Women’s Health Awareness Month: A Focus On Colorectal Health  

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Dr. Vonda Reeves

JANS – As we are in Women’s Health Awareness Month in May, GI Alliance – the leading physician-owned and -led network of gastroenterology practices in the U.S. – emphasizes the importance of colorectal health for women.

Dr. Vonda Reeves, a renowned gastroenterologist with GI Alliance’s GI Associates & Endoscopy Center in Madison, MS, shares insights on prevention, early detection, and treatment.


According to 2024 American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates, colorectal cancer remains a significant health concern. Here are the key statistics:

• Approximately 106,590 new cases of colon cancer are expected in the U.S. this year, with 52,380 in women and 54,210 in men.

• Additionally, there will be about 46,220 new cases of rectal cancer, comprising 18,890 in women and 27,330 in men.

• While overall incidence rates in older adults have declined due to increased screening and lifestyle changes, it’s essential to note that rates are rising among individuals under 55 years old.

Dr. Reeves emphasizes the following:

1. Screening Saves Lives: Regular screenings, including colonoscopies, play a crucial role in detecting precancerous polyps and early-stage cancers. Early intervention significantly improves outcomes.

2. Risk Factors: Women should be aware of risk factors such as family history, age, and lifestyle choices. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption contribute to overall well-being.

3. Symptoms Matter: Pay attention to symptoms like abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, and unexplained weight loss. Prompt evaluation is essential.

“Some women put off care for things they may be suffering from because they aren’t always comfortable sharing intimate feminine issues with a male doctor,” says Dr. Reeves. “An important first step is to find a knowledgeable and experienced female physician to address these concerns with less embarrassment, and more care, attention, connection, and empathy.”

For women, gastrointestinal issues can start with the mouth and present through the whole digestive system. Most women can taste bitter and sweet foods more strongly than men, leading to increased gut sensitivity. Some more common issues for women include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and rectal bleeding. These symptoms should be evaluated for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), hemorrhoids, celiac sprue, and colon cancer.

Dr. Reeves and GI Alliance encourage women to prioritize their health by scheduling screenings and seeking expert advice. Together, she says, we can reduce the burden of colorectal cancer and promote overall well-being.

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GI Alliance supports Women’s Health Awareness Month: A Focus On Colorectal Health  

By Jackson Advocate News Service
May 20, 2024