Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment Options
Do often experience abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation? You may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a disorder that affects 25 to 45 million people in the U.S., according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. The gastroenterologists at Gastrointestinal Specialists in Bala Cynwyd, Torresdale and Bucks, PA, offer treatments that can help you manage your IBS symptoms.
What are the symptoms of IBS?
IBS can cause:
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Abdominal pain, bloating and cramps
- Mucus in your stool
- Incomplete bowel movements
What causes IBS?
The cause of IBS isn't known, but several factors may increase your risk of developing the disorder, including:
- Your Sex: The majority of IBS sufferers are women. Monthly hormonal fluctuations in women may play a role in IBS flare-ups.
- Your Age: IBS usually starts when you are younger than 50.
- Your General Health: It's possible that IBS may be caused or worsened by infections, inflammation or bacterial overgrowth in your stomach or intestines.
- Your Emotional Health: Stress, anxiety and depression are linked to IBS and may make symptoms worse.
- Food Sensitivities: Eating certain foods may trigger IBS symptoms in some people.
- Food Movement Issues: In some cases, IBS may be more likely to occur if there's a problem with the movement of food through your gastrointestinal tract.
How dangerous is IBS?
IBS may make you feel awful, but luckily, it won't damage your gastrointestinal system. The disorder also won't increase your risk of developing cancer.
How can my Bala Cynwyd, Torresdale or Bucks gastroenterologist help me?
Your gastroenterologist can offer several types of medication that may ease your symptoms. In addition to anti-diarrheal medications and laxatives to relieve constipation, you may also benefit from medication to reduce pain and ease bloating. If your symptoms occur because foods pass through your gastrointestinal tract too quickly, medication that slows the process can be helpful. Other medications can decrease bacterial overgrowth or increase or decrease fluid secretions in the small intestine.
Stress relaxation techniques, counseling, meditation and modifications to your diet may also be helpful. Eliminating foods that tend to trigger your symptoms may offer a simple way to help you avoid flare-ups.
Do you have any of these symptoms? Schedule an appointment with the gastroenterologists at Gastrointestinal Specialists by calling (610) 664-9700 for the Bala Cynwyd, PA, office, (215) 632-3500 for the Torresdale office, or (215) 702-7090 for the Bucks office.