Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is probably not something you want to discuss with friends. Despite the fact that you likely did nothing to cause the disorder, it just isn’t polite or in good taste to go around talking about your bowel movements or the abdominal pain that often accompanies them. On the list of things you may be embarrassed about, IBS is probably near or at the top. IBS has a stigma, even if it’s not exactly fair.
While you may not want to go about letting the world know you have IBS, you shouldn’t ignore the disorder altogether. When ignored, IBS can wreak havoc on your life. Uncontrolled IBS can lead to frequent, sudden, and unexpected changes in your bowel habits, often leaving you little time to make it to the bathroom.
If you’re in a public place and can’t locate a bathroom, you could end up in a humiliating situation. Luckily, you can learn to manage some of your IBS. While you may never be able to totally eliminate your symptoms, IBS doesn’t have to control your life.
If you have IBS or think you may be experiencing symptoms, come see us at Samuel Fink MD. Dr. Fink and the rest of our team will work with you to both diagnose and recommend a treatment plan that will curtail your symptoms. Dr. Fink is dedicated to offering personalized care with concierge-level service. With his expert care and most diagnostic equipment available in office, Dr. Fink can have you on the road to recovery in no time.
What is IBS?
IBS is a common disorder that occurs in the large intestine. It’s a chronic condition that requires long-term care. The main symptoms of IBS include cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea or constipation. There are three main types of IBS, which are designated based on symptoms:
Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C)
- Hard Stools
- Difficulty going to the bathroom
- Feel the need to have a bowel movement but can’t
Irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D)
- Frequently have loose, watery stool
- Urgent, sudden need to go to the bathroom
- Cramping and belly pain
Irritable bowel syndrome with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M)
- Mixed symptoms of both IBS-C and IBS-D
Although cramping and belly pain are more common with IBS-D, any of the three types of IBS can be associated with cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, and gas.
At this time, doctors do not have a crystal-clear idea of what causes IBS. However, a few different conditions have been linked to IBS development:
- Abnormal muscle contractions
- Nervous system issues
- Inflammation in the intestines
- Intestinal infections
- Change in gut bacteria
IBS is more frequently found in women, although both sexes can develop the disorder. Stress can also be a factor in IBS flare-ups.
Diagnosing and treating IBS
There is no set test to determine if you have IBS. Dr. Fink will likely examine your symptoms and may order a couple of tests before giving you a diagnosis. He may also be able to determine if your IBS-like symptoms are caused by another condition or disease. Common treatments for IBS focus on treating symptoms of the disorder, as there is no known cure. Psychological, dietary, and medicinal treatments may be recommended:
- Counseling to reduce stress-induced IBS
- Dietary changes
- Fiber supplements
- Anti-diarrheal medications
- Medication to relieve muscle spasms
- Non-opioid pain relievers
Many patients may use any of the above in combination to best alleviate their symptoms.
IBS doesn’t have to dominate your life. At Samuel Fink MD, we’ll help you manage your IBS to help you live life to the fullest. Call or request an appointment at our Tarzana office today.