IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome at AGMG

Learn about Irritable Bowel Syndrome treatment from the doctors of Associated Gastroenterology

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders of the if the large intestine. IBS symptoms primarily include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. The doctors of AGMG are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating IBS.

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is a very common disorder of the GI tract with characteristic stool patterns with associated abdominal pain in the absence of any other underlying disease. There are three major subsets of IBS: IBS-Diarrhea, IBS-Constipation and IBS-Mixed type. At this time the cause of IBS is not known. Approximately 10-15% of the western world are affected by IBS.

IBS is a group of chronic inflammatory diseases of the of the GI tract which can extend from the mouth to the anus. The two principal types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis involves just the colon while Crohn’s disease can involve any part of the GI tract. The primary symptoms of IBD include abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss, diarrhea and rectal bleeding.

How is IBS diagnosed?

There is no single blood, stool, endoscopic and radiographic test for IBS. There is however a criteria for the diagnosis of IBS called the Rome criteria:
Recurrent abdominal pain, on average, at least 1 day/week in the last 3 months starting at least 6 months ago associated with two or more of the following criteria:

  • Related to defecation
  • Associated with a change in frequency of stool
  • Associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.

What are symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating

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How do you treat IBS?

Treatment of IBS depends on the primary symptom: constipation, diarrhea, pain or all of the above. Part of treatment is focused on the gut. This includes using medicines to treat constipation or diarrhea as well as dietary changes or probiotics that reduce bloating and pain. Anti-spasmodic medicines can be used to treat cramps. Lastly, medicines and complementary medicines such as acupuncture and counseling can be used to work on the “mind-gut” connection.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between IBD and IBS?

These are two very different diseases but with overlapping symptoms. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by inflammation of the GI tract that produces symptoms of diarrhea and pain. There are major complications of IBD including increased risk of cancer. On the other hand, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has no inflammatory component. While the symptoms of IBS can be severe, it is not life-threatening. An important differentiation is that there is no bleeding in IBS.

What causes IBS?

Despite this being a very common disorder, the exact cause of IBS is unknown. We do know that the bacteria in the GI tract (microbiome) play a very important role in IBS. After a gastrointestinal infection (like food poisoning), there is a 6x increased risk of developing IBS. Stress is also associated with worsening symptoms in IBS

What is a FODMAP diet?

Diet has been shown to play a very important role in IBS management. Certain foods procedure more gas. When gas is formed, the bowel secretes more fluid, stretches and pain is produced. A diet low in certain carbohydrates has been shown to improve all symptoms in diet. This diet is called FODMAP

( "Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols). Your doctor may suggest a low FODMAP diet for your symptom and have you speak with a dietician to help you.

Are probiotics helpful in IBS?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are given as treatment to supplement the bacteria that already live in the GI tract. They are believed to help repair the lining of the gut. The most well-studied probiotic is Bifidobacteria infantis, which has been proven to reduce the abdominal symptoms of IBS, particularly bloating and bowel function. Study after study has found evidence to support that probiotics benefit IBS patients, but there is no consensus or recommendations on what the optimal strains, combinations or doses are for patients with IBS.