Our Gastroenterology Blog
Posts for tag: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
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.
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.