What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Suffering from frequent, urgent stools, constipation or both? You may have IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders states that 10 to 15 percent of adult Americans have IBS of one severity or another. Women tend to have it more than men, but even children and senior adults may suffer from it at least periodically.
The physicians at Gastrointestinal Specialists in Bucks, Torresdale and Bala Cynwyd, PA understand the discomfort and lifestyle disruption Irritable Bowel Syndrome causes. So, they offer accurate diagnostics, ongoing treatment and coaching to manage this chronic GI problem.
Symptoms of and Reasons for IBS
Signs of IBS vary widely, but can include:
- frequent, urgent, loose stools
- pus and blood in a bowel movement
- pain, gas and bloating
- nausea and heartburn
Physicians speculate that something has gone awry with how the GI tract, nervous system and brain itself interact when a person struggles with an irritable bowel. Acute and chronic stress exacerbate the condition, and inflammation of the colon is a key component of the disease.
In addition, gastrointestinal experts feel that certain foods, such as those containing a lot of hot spices, caffeine or soluble fiber, play a role in flare-ups, as does the "fizziness" of soda. And, of course, as with so many medical problems, heredity is powerful. IBS definitely runs in families.
Diagnosis and Treatment in Bucks, Torresdale and Bala Cynwyd
Your gastroenterologist looks at patient symptoms carefully when considering IBS. He may order tests such as endoscopy or colonoscopy, which can be done on-site at Gastrointestinal Specialists. A complete blood count (CBC) and stool examination for Crohn's Disease frequently assist the doctor in ruling out other GI conditions.
While as needed medications such as anti-diarrhea drugs and anti-spasmodics assist with management of IBS, some patients benefit from long-term drugs such as some anti-depressants. They seem to sooth the nerves in the colon.
Additionally, your gastroenterologist recommends dietary changes which calm the smooth lining of the intestines. They include:
- limiting caffeine
- eliminating one possible irritating food at a time (e.g. navy beans or chili sauce)
- reducing gluten
- managing stress levels with counseling and relaxation techniques
- decreasing soluble fiber from fruits with skins and from fibrous vegetables
Let Us Help
If you think you are one of the millions of adults who struggle with an irritable bowel, get help. At Gastrointestinal Specialists, the doctors are highly trained and experienced in all areas of GI care and can assist you in a better quality of life. Contact one of the convenient office locations today for an appointment. Call (215) 632-3500 in Torresdale. In Bucks, phone (215) 702-7090 and in Bala Cynwyd call (610) 664-9700.