By Melissa Watson
Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? You’re not alone. It is estimated that nearly 32-48 million people in the United States have IBS. While so many share this affliction, only 53% of patients are satisfied with their current IBS treatment. Want to learn more about IBS? Keep reading. I’ll touch on everything from possible causes, when to see a doctor, and lifestyle changes that can help you manage your angry gut.
Everybody poops. But if your quality of life has been affected by your bathroom habits, you may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Other symptoms include:
- Abdominal discomfort that usually improves with passage of stool.
- Constipation and/or
Why me? Some interesting facts about IBS and possible causes.
- IBS is more common in women than men
- While it’s unusual to develop the disorder after 50, the average age of sufferers is 46.
- 40% have diarrhea
- 35% have constipation
- 25% have a combination of both
- Possible causes include:
- Communication problem between gut and brain
- Previous gut infection
- Altered bacteria in the gut
- Stress factors
- Hyper sensitivity to certain foods
Should I seek help? You should make an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
- Nighttime symptoms
- Increased symptoms after 50 years of age
Getting back to normal. The road to relief is different for everyone, and there are many treatment options available. The best place to start is with you.
- Reduce stress
- Avoid foods that cause symptoms (dietitians can help you with this)
- Learn what keeping a low-FODMAP diet means for you.
Over the counter medications include:
- IBgard® (supplement)
- Fiber (diet/supplement)
- Align® (probiotic)
- VSL3® (probiotic)
- Culturell® (probiotic)
- Imodium® (diarrhea)
Prescription Medications Include:
- Bentyl® (anti-spasm)
- Levsin® (anti-spasm)
- Linzess® (constipation)
- Amitiza® (constipation)
- Xifaxan® (diarrhea)
- Viberzi® (diarrhea)