IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition with symptoms that vary and can be difficult to pinpoint. Abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, or alternating bouts of both are the characteristic symptoms. Frustrating to most patients, these symptoms are also signs of other conditions and diseases that first must be ruled out before a definitive diagnosis can be made.
The causes of IBS are not known. The gut and all that it entails, is a complex system within the human body. Your gut is responsible for a large portion of your immune system and the production of serotonin – the chemical that helps balance brain function and reduces the incidence of depression and anxiety. The micro biome found in the intestine is a balance of bacteria that can influence the health of the entire body. Because of this, when the gut is out of balance an IBS patient can experience a broad range of symptoms that include anxiety, headaches, nausea, even muscle aches and pains.
Two-thirds of people who say they have IBS are female. It can occur at any age, but onset is most prevalent in the late teens and early twenties. In a recent national survey most respondents who identify as having IBS were not diagnosed or treated by a doctor. Patients report that they just “live with it” and self-medicate with over the counter (OTC) solutions.
Self diagnosis and treatment is not encouraged for several reasons. First, more serious illnesses should be ruled out and secondly, there are new treatments for the symptoms that are much more effective than OTC options. Your Concorde Gastro physician can help you identify your triggers, give you lifestyle changes that have proven effective for other patients, and offer you medicines that can be life changing! Don’t just “live with it.” Make an appointment today.