Making pills easier to swallow


Q: I have a hard time swallowing pills, what are alternative medications for managing irritable bowel syndrome? Patty F., Taylor

A: Most of the IBS pills are very small and are manageable for most people. Have you ever tried putting a pill into a tablespoon of yogurt and then swallowing them together? That usually does the trick for smaller pills, but if it is still too difficult, there is an alternative medication called Levsin (or generically, hyoscyamine) that comes in an elixir form that your doctor can prescribe for you.

Q: What is the benefit of confirming celiac disease with an endoscopy? Melanie B., Woodhaven

A: The benefit is confirming that the preliminary blood tests
you received are positive for celiac disease. False negative and false positive blood tests are possible, so an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is needed to confirm that you indeed have inflammation or damaged villi in your small intestines. The results of a small biopsy will confirm the diagnosis. Once we confirm it, then we have a baseline sense of the disease’s advancement. Moving forward, we may not need to repeat endoscopy; we would check blood tests unless there is a strong indication for another scope such as persistent symptoms.

Q: If you happen to have a bout of diarrhea on the same day as your pet, should you get any tests to see if you have a parasite? John R., Romulus

A: Sometimes this is just coincidental. If your diarrhea lasts for more than three to five days, then yes, ask your doctor for a stool study kit that will detect if you have a parasite.

Rana Sabbagh, M.D., is board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and nutrition. She is the founder of GastroCenter of Michigan and Experior Weight Loss Clinic, 23500 Park St., Suite 2B in Dearborn. Do you have a health question for Dr. Sabbagh? Submit it by email to:

All information provided in Ask The Doctor is intended for your general knowledge. Consult with your personal doctor or pharmacist for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of information you have read in any publication.