Irritable Bowel Syndrome Q & A
What is irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome is an intestinal disorder. When you suffer from IBS, problems with your large intestine cause abdominal pain and other symptoms. Although IBS symptoms may not be constant, they’re persistent and require long-term management.
IBS is most common in women: Two out of every three sufferers are female. Although IBS can strike at any age, it’s most common before age 50.
What are the symptoms of IBS?
The most obvious symptom of IBS is usually abdominal pain. Other common symptoms can include:
- Change in your bowel habits
- Persistent constipation
- Persistent diarrhea
- Passing a lot of gas
- Depression or other mood changes
How does the gastroenterologist diagnose IBS?
At NYGA, your gastroenterologist begins with a review of your symptoms. If you have symptoms such as abdominal pain, chronic constipation, or diarrhea, your gastroenterologist may perform blood tests to determine whether IBS is the culprit.
Two common blood tests used for this include an anemia test and a fecal occult blood test. If the blood tests aren’t conclusive, your gastroenterologist may recommend endoscopic or imaging procedures including:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Upper endoscopy
- CT scan
How is IBS treated?
Treatment can vary based on your symptoms, your lifestyle, and your needs. Your NYGA, gastroenterologist may recommend some lifestyle changes first. These can include eating a healthier diet, giving up cigarettes, and eliminating other unhealthy habits.
Medications can be quite effective in dealing with IBS symptoms, as well. These medicines can include:
- Antidiarrheal medications for diarrhea
- Laxatives for constipation
- Antispasmodic drugs for pain
- Anti-anxiety medications for anxiety related to IBS
- Antidepressants for depression or mood changes related to IBS
In most cases, your NYGA gastroenterologist recommends a combination approach. IBS sufferers tend to get the best treatment result when they commit to necessary lifestyle changes while faithfully taking any medications that the gastroenterologist prescribes.
Are you suffering from the miserable symptoms of IBS? YourNYGA gastroenterologist can help you feel like yourself again. Use the online appointment maker tool to arrange a visit at your convenience, or call the office to make an appointment.