Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder that affects the colon. IBS does not cause structural abnormality to the bowel, but instead prevents the bowel from working properly, causing severe cramping and abdominal pain to the patient. Other symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Mucus in stool

The symptoms of IBS vary from patient to patient. Many patients experience only mild symptoms, but for others the pain is severe and disabling. For most patients IBS is a chronic condition, meaning that the uncomfortable bowel habits will persist for a long period of time. Many of the symptoms that are caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome are also frequently present in patients due to other, unrelated issues. In these cases, however, the symptoms are often short in duration. If the symptoms persist it is crucial to discuss their emergence with your physician as they could also be a sign of serious health conditions like colon cancer, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease. The diagnosis of IBS depends upon a patient’s symptoms and the longevity and frequency of their presence.

The most beneficial type of treatment for your specific condition will depend largely on the severity and frequency of your symptoms. Patients that are experiencing mild symptoms may be able to successfully treat the condition by eliminating the dietary triggers that prompt the discomfort. Avoiding common triggers like caffeine, coffee, alcohol, dairy and fatty foods may help to alleviate your symptoms. Medications may be available to help mild symptoms of IBS, as well.

Symptoms of IBS are considered moderate when they interfere with your daily routine, like work, school and your social life. One common recommendation is to keep a diary to help associate your symptoms to different dietary habits. Behavioral therapy is often also recommended for moderate symptoms, such as relaxation therapy, hypnosis, biofeedback and cognitive behavioral treatment. These treatment methods help patients to learn to cope with your symptoms.

If you have any questions or concerns about living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, contact us to schedule an appointment.