Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for tag: IBS

By NASHVILLE GASTROINTESTINAL SPECIALISTS
June 27, 2022

Is your body telling you that you could have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Are you just experiencing symptoms of an upset stomach, or is there something more going on? It can sometimes be hard to tell, and some people find it embarrassing to talk about, but if you want to find out if your symptoms could be due to IBS, it’s time you turn to a gastroenterologist for care.

What is IBS?

While there is so much about IBS that is still unknown, there are several theories about what causes these symptoms. People with IBS may,

  • Have more sensitive colons
  • Have a different immune system response
  • Experience hormonal fluctuations or changes that trigger IBS
  • Produce serotonin that affects digestive tract nerves, causing diarrhea or constipation

While we may not know what causes IBS, we know that it is a true medical condition.

What are the symptoms associated with IBS?

To diagnose someone with IBS, an individual must experience ongoing symptoms for at least six months. One of the most common symptoms of IBS is abdominal pain. Of course, to be able to diagnose your symptoms as IBS, the abdominal pain has to have at least two out of these three factors:

  • Passing stool relieves symptoms
  • Your symptoms affect the frequency of passing stool
  • Your symptoms affect the appearance of stool

There are quite a few things that can cause IBS to flare up. Common foods that cause flare-ups include high-fiber foods, chocolate, alcohol, fructose and caffeine.

How does a gastroenterologist treat IBS?

There are several different kinds of medications that we might recommend, including antispasmodic, antidiarrheal and even antidepressants.

We will also discuss the many lifestyle changes you should adopt to reduce flare-ups. Common lifestyle changes include,

  • Maintaining regular exercise to improve the function of the bowels
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding trigger foods
  • Reducing or limiting alcohol consumption
  • Finding ways to manage stress (e.g., mindfulness; yoga; meditation)

If you are dealing with persistent abdominal pain and bowel changes, it’s important that you find out what’s going on to get the answers and treatments you need to improve your digestive health.

By Nashville Gastrointestinal Specialists
December 16, 2019
Category: Gastroenterology

Persistent pain in your stomach or abdomen could be a signal of irritable bowel syndrome, which should be treated by a gastroenterologist.

Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, affects your large intestine and can be caused by poor functioning of your gastrointestinal nervous system as it relates to your GI function. The condition causes the walls of your intestines to not move as they should, which impairs the passage of food from your stomach through your intestines.

Irritable bowel syndrome has several signs and symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, you may experience:

  • Moderate to severe abdominal pain and cramping
  • Frequent or chronic gas and bloating
  • Frequent or chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Mucus occurring frequently in your stools

When you have irritable bowel syndrome, you can lessen your symptoms by practicing a few simple tips like these:

  • Limiting or avoiding spicy foods, fats, nightshade vegetables, beans, fruits, milk, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and chocolate
  • Limiting or avoiding high-gluten content foods and foods with a high sugar content
  • Managing your stress with exercise, meditation, and yoga

Irritable bowel syndrome is best treated by your gastroenterologist. Professional treatments for IBS include:

  • Prescription-strength anti-diarrheal medications
  • Prescription-strength medications to reduce intestinal spasms
  • Antibiotics to treat any underlying infection or bacterial imbalance
  • Medications to relax the colon, including Alosetron
  • Medications to increase fluid secretion like Lubiprostone
  • Dietary and lifestyle counseling

Irritable bowel syndrome can be effectively treated by your gastroenterologist. Professional treatment for IBS can help you live a life free of annoying and painful symptoms. To find out more about the causes and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, talk with your gastroenterologist today!

By NASHVILLE GASTROINTESTINAL SPECIALISTS
November 02, 2018
Category: GI Care

Is it constipation? Is it diarrhea? Frankly, when a patient complains to his or her physician about GI problems, the doctor has to wonder, "Is it Irritable Bowel Syndrome?" If you alternate between infrequent and too frequent bowel movements, you may need evaluation by a gastroenterologist. An expert in all things from your esophagus through your stomach and intestines, a GI doctor can uncover the reasons behind bowel issues, including IBS.

About IBS and its symptoms

Unfortunately, no one knows the real origin of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However, it definitely is a cluster of symptoms which millions of people in the US--more women than men--suffer, before the age of 50. The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders reports that stress appears to increase symptoms; however, anxiety and a high-pressure job or life circumstance do not actually cause the condition.

Besides constipation and/or diarrhea, individuals with IBS have:

  • Bouts of gas
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Cramps
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Fatigue
  • Intolerance to a variety of foods, including those containing gluten and lactose (dairy)
What you can do
 
Your primary care physician may refer you to a GI doctor for additional evaluation. This specialist will listen to your symptoms; so be sure to tell him or her what they are, when and how often they occur, how long they last and what, if anything, helps.
 
The doctor may order blood work, including a complete blood count to check for anemia, an indicator of bleeding in the GI tract. Also, he or she may wish to look into your intestine via colonoscopy. This common examination introduces a lighted, flexible tube through the entire length of the large intestine. It allows the doctor to visualize and take photos of the lining of the bowel and to biopsy areas as needed.
 
Treatments for IBS
 
If you are diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you can manage your symptoms. No, IBS cannot be cured, but rest assured that many patients live well with this GI condition. Many gastroenterologists ask individuals to eliminate suspect foods such as:
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy products
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • High fat or fried foods
On the positive side, you may gradually increase your intake of fibrous dietary choices such as:
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Oats
  • Bran
  • Yams
  • Whole grains
  • Barley
The doctor may recommend easy-to-take fiber supplements such as Fibercon or Metamucil which regulate the water in the bowel and normalize stools. Probiotics--natural supplements containing beneficial bacteria and yeast--are a common part of an IBS regimen.
 
Feeling better
 
If you suspect you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or are just not sure what's going on with your digestive health, consult a board-certified gastroenterologist. This highly-skilled doctor will get to the source of your issues, answer your questions and help you function at your best.