Irritable Bowel Syndrome
What is irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders. It is a chronic collection of abdominal symptoms, including pain, and then typically either constipation, diarrhea, or a mixed pattern of motility. The cause of IBS is multifactorial, including changes in gut motility, hypersensitivity of the bowel, gut bacteria alterations, food sensitivities, inflammation, leaky gut and psychologic factors like stress.
What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?
The symptoms of IBS are altered bowel patterns (diarrhea, constipation, or both) and pain in the abdomen. There are sometimes other symptoms like bloating, excessive gas and nausea.
How is irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed?
There is not a single blood test that can diagnose irritable bowel syndrome, but rather this is typically a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that once several other similar conditions are excluded, a diagnosis of IBSe is made.
Most of the time the diagnosis is suspected based on clinical symptom criteria (called the Rome IV criteria). The testing may include basic labs including serum blood tests. However, further testing should be done if IBS-type symptoms present at an older age (>50), if there is bleeding, if pain is progressive, if bowel movements cause awakenings from sleep, if there is weight loss, or if there is a strong family history of GI disorders (cancer, Crohn’s, or ulcerative colitis).
How do you treat irritable bowel syndrome?
Treatment is targeted to relieve symptoms. If there is diarrhea, then use of antidiarrheals is advised. If there is constipation, then laxatives may be used. There are non-narcotic medications that can be used to reduce pain and spasms of the bowel. Other treatments like probiotics, prebiotics and antibiotics target the gut biome. Diet modification may be helpful in both identifying food sensitivities and limiting foods that contribute to gas and diarrheas. Lastly, treatment of stress, anxiety and depression can improve IBS symptoms.
IBS has a benign course, as it does not lead to any concerning conditions like cancer. That does not mean that treating it is of no importance! Treatment can significantly improve quality of life. This condition is usually a life-long issue, so you should seek care to manage it if you are struggling with symptoms.
Colorado Springs IBS Treatment
Our experienced team of physicians and advanced practice providers at Associates in Gastroenterology can help you with your concerns, questions and management of all aspects of gastrointestinal and liver disease. We would love to be your gastroenterology practice. Please schedule an appointment either by calling us (719-635-7321) or by clicking here.
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