Is it irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or something else?
A: “Women with a family history of IBS are at greatest risk for suffering
from the disease. Certainly if you’re suffering symptoms such as
unpredictable bowel movements that make it difficult to leave the house
then you should discuss an IBS screening with your doctor.
While there are some blood tests and breath tests that can help diagnose
certain types of IBS, screening mostly consists of excluding other gastrointestinal
diseases that can mimic IBS. Symptoms that should never be ignored include
blood in your stool, a drastic change in bowel habits, unintentional weight
loss, getting full after eating small amounts of food or feeling like
food gets stuck when you swallow. If you suffer these then your doctor
needs to perform routine gastrointestinal testing like upper endoscopy,
colonoscopy, stool testing, and possible CT scanning to identify what
is going on.
Standard treatment for IBS focuses on treating symptoms with anti-gas pills
for bloating, Imodium for diarrhea, and laxatives for constipation. Also,
there is now recognition that imbalance in the gut microflora may be responsible
for certain types of IBS. Probiotics and even some antibiotics may be
of great benefit for IBS. Also, newer medications designed to help chronic
diarrhea and constipation have shown great promise.
If you or someone you love is suffering, please understand that you don’t
have to live with your symptoms. There are many new treatment options
for IBS, so it is crucial to talk with your doctors so they can help you
decide which medications may help you.”
You can reach Gastroenterologist Oren Zaidel, M.D. by calling 310-539-2055.