Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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What is IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be best categorized as a group of chronic symptoms that occur within the digestive system. These symptoms can result from irritation in the stomach, large intestine, or other parts of the digestive tract. IBS symptoms usually occur in response to consuming certain foods, stress, or other life issues. IBS is a condition that needs to be managed on a long-term basis.

At GI Alliance, our gastroenterologists are trained to treat irritable bowel syndrome, and routinely help patients manage their condition and symptoms. For help with IBS, please contact a GI Alliance location in your community.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

There are several IBS symptoms that may occur, which can vary greatly from person to person. Ultimately, it depends on how your body responds to the food you eat or the stress you experience.

IBS symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Excess gas
  • Constipation
  • Mucus in stool
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea

It is important to contact your doctor if you have blood in your stool, unexplained vomiting, or persistent stomach pain that spreads to your back. Severe symptoms could indicate a more serious condition, such as colon cancer. Contact a GI Alliance gastroenterologist today if you have any combination of the above symptoms.

What causes irritable bowel syndrome?

IBS is sometimes referred to as “the brain-gut disorder.” The brain controls and regulates the functionality of the digestive system. In theory, that regulation is interrupted or impaired, which causes the digestive system to behave abnormally.

The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is still unknown. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract and relax as they move food from the stomach, through the intestinal tract, and to the rectum. People with IBS appear to have a disturbance in the interaction between the brain, the autonomic nervous system, and the musculature of the gut, resulting in too much or too little motility.

The main triggers of IBS are:

  • Stress
  • Foods high in fat
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Infection
  • Hormones (Women are much more likely to have IBS, and symptoms are often worse around menstrual periods.)

How is IBS treated?

A consultation with a GI Alliance gastrointestinal specialist can help determine the ideal treatment options for irritable bowel syndrome. There are several lifestyle changes that you can make to help prevent and manage the symptoms of IBS and enhance your quality of life. Some of those lifestyle changes include:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating food high in fiber
  • Avoiding foods that trigger symptoms
  • Getting plenty of sleep

Medications may also help to relieve symptoms and potentially treat some of the underlying issues associated with IBS. Medications used to treat IBS include:

  • Anticholinergic medications
  • Laxatives
  • Fiber supplements
  • Anti-diarrheal medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain management medication
  • Anti-nausea medication

Clinical trials and research are constantly being conducted to discover better solutions and treatments for irritable bowel syndrome. It is also a good idea to keep a diary of your symptoms, diet, and stress level to help you understand what factors trigger symptoms for you.

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Get help for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome can cause an array of gastrointestinal symptoms, but it does not have to control your life. The board-certified gastroenterologists at GI Alliance offer the specialized care needed to diagnose and help manage the condition. To learn more about IBS symptoms, causes, or treatments, please contact a GI Alliance office near you.

Dr Trowbridge is very caring and thorough…I always appreciate how he explains things so it’s easy to understand….highly recommend!

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Doctor Bajaj treatment style is very supportive. He explained the issues involved after examining me thoroughly. The visits are very reassuring. Would recommend him without hesitation

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Dr. Steephen is very caring, thorough and concerned in providing the best care and interest in one's well-being. Her advice and suggestions certainly resolved my health issues.

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We are really grateful for Dr. An and his team. Our pediatrician referred us to their office due to concerns of painful reflux. We were able to get an appointment within a week of making contact. Dr. An and his team were patient with my many questions and took the time to really explain the cause of my son’s issues. We were given helpful solutions and advised to reach out with any additional questions that came up.

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