Raising Awareness of IBS: Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Countless people are affected by persistent gastrointestinal (GI) distress and bowel concerns. What they might not be aware of is that this could be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. This ailment impacts 10 – 15% of people and does not have a cure. At Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans, LA, we aim to bring attention to this disorder throughout the month of April, which is IBS Awareness Month. Just because there is no long-term remedy, it doesn’t mean you have to live every day in discomfort.
What should I know about irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome is a persistent digestive condition that influences GI function and affects the large and small intestines. In short, the brain and gastrointestinal tract have problems working together, and it causes the digestive system to become sensitive and the colon muscle to contract more than usual.
These challenges can result in symptoms, such as bloating, stomach pain, cramping, irregularity, diarrhea, and more. If you have this disorder, you most likely won't experience IBS symptoms all the time. In reality, some days may be entirely normal and at other times, symptoms might be worse — it depends on the form of IBS you suffer from. The types of IBS are:
- IBS with mixed bowel habits
- IBS with diarrhea
- IBS with constipation
Our IBS specialists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates frequently provide IBS treatment to New Orleans, LA citizens. We can determine what kind of irritable bowel syndrome you have and help you find relief.
How is IBS diagnosed?
If you're noticing signs or symptoms of IBS, it may be smart to get the help of a gastroenterologist near you. Our team can help you determine if your symptoms are from irritable bowel syndrome or something else. Prior to a physical exam, we’ll ask a few questions to help us assess your symptoms and wellness history. In some cases, we may ask you to undergo a blood or stool sample test to rule out any conditions that could be misidentified as irritable bowel syndrome. Typical symptoms of IBS include:
- Loss of appetite
- Gut pain
- Urgent bowel needs
- Diarrhea or constipation
Once we obtain sufficient proof that you suffer from IBS, our GI specialists in New Orleans, LA can discuss the ideal irritable bowel syndrome treatment to meet your needs.
How is IBS treated?
There is no universal remedy for irritable bowel syndrome, so it could take some trial and error to identify an IBS treatment that benefits you. Despite that, many adults find that they can make some eating and physical activity adjustments and get great results. Common adjustments that generally have an impact on IBS symptoms include:
- Consuming minor meals more often rather than three larger meals
- Eating fewer dairy products
- Avoiding all types of caffeine
- Stopping smoking
- Increasing fiber consumption (more veggies, fruits, grains, and supplementary fiber, like Metamucil®)
- Increasing liquid consumption
- Creating a regular exercise routine
It’s also a good idea to maintain a food journal. This can allow you to discover which foods activate irritable bowel syndrome issues so you can work on avoiding those items in the future. Additionally, if you take any medications, we might look to see if any adjustments can be made to the dosage or type.
A respite from IBS is within your reach
If you have symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome, like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and flatulence, it can be hard to schedule outings, as this condition can interrupt even the most special events. We propose coming to see our GI physicians in New Orleans, LA without delay so we can help you diagnose and treat your irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. While there is no permanent solution, it is possible to manage your symptoms so you can do what you love. For further information on irritable bowel syndrome or IBS treatments, please get in touch with Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates as soon as possible.