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Do you have constipation one day and diarrhea the next? This condition is called IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. Watch this video to understand IBS.
Transcript: Constipation one day, diarrhea the next-they might sound like strange symptoms to go together, but as...
Constipation one day, diarrhea the next-they might sound like strange symptoms to go together, but as one in five Americans can attest, this is common for sufferers of IBS! Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an intestinal disorder that manifests as a variety of unpleasant symptoms. As many as one in five American adults suffer from this incurable condition. Although IBS is a lifelong problem, it does NOT cause the serious intestinal changes that other digestive conditions, such as Crohn's disease, do. A common complaint among IBS sufferers is abdominal pain, or cramping, which is often relieved by a bowel movement. People with IBS also experience diarrhea or constipation, often alternating between bouts of the loose watery stools of diarrhea and the painful, hard ones of constipation. Gas and bloating are also almost always cited as symptoms. In addition, some sufferers notice mucous in their stools or experience the unpleasant sensation their bowels have not emptied fully. All in all, IBS is often embarrassing and can be debilitating to sufferers who have severe symptoms! So what causes this intestinal upset? There is no definitive answer, however, many researchers suspect that IBS may stem from the faulty communication between the brain and the intestinal tract. The walls of the intestine are lined with muscles that normally follow the brain's instructions to contract and relax rhythmically as they move food through the system. But if communication between the brain and the digestive system is poor, as is true of people with IBS, the contractions may speed up and force food through the intestines too quickly, resulting in diarrhea. Or, the contractions may slow down, causing food to move too slowly, resulting in constipation. Doctors also theorize that IBS can stem from hormonal changes. One piece of evidence to support this is that women are twice as likely as men to experience symptoms, particularly during menstruation. It has also been noted that people with panic disorder or other psychological conditions, like depression, may be more likely to have IBS. Flare-ups of IBS may also occur after exposure to irritants, or triggers, including certain medications and food. For example, some people may be intolerant to lactose, or milk sugar, or may find that medications, like antibiotics, cause flare-ups. In addition, emotional stress is often related to colon spasms, which can trigger IBS symptoms in many patients. Although the cause of IBS remains ambiguous, it does have consistent patterns of incidence. Most cases occur among members of the same family, and frequently before the age of 35. IBS can be embarrassing - indeed up to 70 percent of patients do not seek treatment for their symptoms! While irritable bowel syndrome can be frustrating, easing the unpleasant symptoms of the condition is entirely possible! For this reason, please speak with your doctor if you have concerns about IBS. Infrequently, patients with IBD can go on to develop more severe diseases, like colon cancer. That's why people with IBD should be under a doctor's care. Inflammatory bowel disease can be frustrating and embarrassing, but the good news is that treatments are available to ease the severity and frequency of symptoms! Please speak with your doctor if you have concerns about IBD.More »
Last Modified: 2013-09-27 | Tags »
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IBS is a common condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States. Watch this video to learn more about diagnosing IBS.
Transcript: Over 50 million Americans have the digestive condition known as irritable bowel syndrome. But how can...
Over 50 million Americans have the digestive condition known as irritable bowel syndrome. But how can you tell if upset bowels are actually IBS? Irritable bowel syndrome is a common problem, which manifests most frequently as abdominal pain and upset bowel, ranging from diarrhea to constipation. While IBS is not curable, its symptoms can be controlled. Of course, one bout of diarrhea does not make IBS, but it's important to see a doctor following a persistent change in bowel habits, or if your stool's appearance changes. When you enter the office, expect your doctor to take a complete medical history. Although it may be embarrassing, it's important to describe your symptoms in full detail. Because IBS does not manifest as internal damage, medical professionals will rely heavily on your description to diagnose the condition. In fact, your doctor will refer to a specific set of diagnostic rules called the Rome criteria. According to the Rome criteria, a patient must have experienced abdominal discomfort for at least twelve weeks in the past year AND must have at least two of the following symptoms: ...abdominal pain that is relieved after a bowel movement, stool that has changed in appearance or form, or bowel movements that have altered in frequency. If your symptoms fit the Rome criteria and you don't have other suspicious problems, your doctor may diagnose IBS immediately. But because intestinal distress CAN be the sign of something more serious, additional tests may be ordered. For example, a stool sample may be tested, particularly in patients with diarrhea. This can rule out a parasitic infection. Blood tests may also be ordered to look for conditions like celiac disease, which is characterized by intolerance to byproducts from wheat, rye and barley. A doctor may also perform tests for lactose intolerance, a common problem which occurs when a patient is unable to digest the sugars found in milk products. Lactose intolerance tests include a brief exclusion of lactose from the diet and a simple breath test. If your doctor suspects that the problem may be more complex, or if he or she wishes to follow up on a preliminary diagnosis of celiac disease, more invasive tests like a colonoscopy or endoscopy may be ordered. A colonoscopy, which is performed under anesthesia, allows for the colon to be examined with a thin tube with a light on the end. A colonoscopy can help identify colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, a group of conditions which harm the digestive tract over time. An endoscopy uses an endoscope, a similar piece of equipment that examines the upper intestinal tract and small intestine. This can be used to take samples of the intestine to confirm findings of celiac disease. If a doctor discovers that IBS IS the cause of symptoms, however, he or she will talk to you about lifestyle changes and medication options which can help ease discomfort. Irritable bowel syndrome is a lifelong condition, and can be frustrating. However, modern medicine and home treatment options can help ease your symptoms! Please, talk to your doctor if you're concerned about IBS.More »
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Are you suffering from irritable bowel syndrome? You don't necessarily have to. Check out these ten tips to outsmart IBS.
Transcript: If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you're not alone-one in five American adults struggles with...
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you're not alone-one in five American adults struggles with this condition. Keep watching for ten natural remedies that can help. Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common digestive disorder characterized by abdominal pain, cramping and changes in bowel function. Because IBS isn't easy to detect with standard tests, it can be tough to diagnose and treat. The good news is, even without an official diagnosis, a host of time-tested natural remedies can help to ease the symptoms and recurrence of IBS. Because IBS is a digestive disorder, what you eat and when you eat it can greatly affect your symptoms! Diarrhea and cramping can be exacerbated by food intolerances. If you suffer from IBS, you may want to consider eating five or six small meals each day instead of three big ones. This helps the digestive process flow smoothly, and can often ease symptoms.A. While treating your IBS, try keeping a food diary. B. Recording what you consume each day will help you find the trigger foods and beverages that cause IBS flare-ups. Common trigger foods include artificial fats and sweeteners, fried foods and oils, red meat and solid chocolate. Avoiding these foods may help. A. Caffeinated and carbonated drinks can also contribute to cramping. If you have IBS, B. drastically limit your intake of these drinks. So what can you eat? Most IBS sufferers find relieve from fiber-filled foods. That's because fiber may prevent colon spasms that lead to cramps and keeps stools soft and easy to pass. Enjoy brown rice, barley, figs, prunes, raisins and oatmeal. Fruits, vegetables and juices are also great sources of fiber. One of the most helpful foods you can eat is yogurt! This low-fat treat is rich in the probioitic, acidophilus. This "friendly bacteria" helps to aid in digestion. A. If yogurt isn't your favorite food, you can get all the benefits of the probiotic B. by taking a supplement from your local health food store or pharmacy. Peppermint oil is thought to reduce the abdominal pain and bloating characteristic of IBS. Because peppermint can cause heartburn, it is most effective when taken in enteric-coated capsules. Although doctors are still unsure about what causes IBS, it has been found that stress can amplify your symptoms. Yoga, deep breathing and meditation can all help to relax the mind, and in turn, the body. One particular yoga pose that can help ease digestive symptoms of IBS is called opanasa, or the Wind-Relieving Pose. Lie flat on your back. Inhale, bringing both knees into your chest; then, as you exhale, bring your legs back to the ground. Inhale again as you bring your left knee inward, stretching your chin to touch the knee. Repeat by alternating knees. IBS can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but there is help for this common condition! Making smart food choices, taking supplements and engaging in stress-relieving activities can all help ease the discomfort of irritable bowel syndromeMore »
Last Modified: 2013-06-12 | Tags »
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Treating IBS with medication can help to improve the pain, constipation and diarrhea which accompany the digestive condition. Watch this to learn more.
Transcript: Up to 70 percent of patients with irritable bowel syndrome report having a lower quality of life due...
Up to 70 percent of patients with irritable bowel syndrome report having a lower quality of life due to the condition. Here, well look at how medication can help! Irritable bowel syndrome is a lifelong condition, but the constipation, diarrhea and pain which accompany IBS can often be eased. Medication which treats IBS symptoms is aimed at preventing the condition from interfering with a patients daily life. People whose main IBS complaint is abdominal pain and cramping may benefit from a group of medications called anticholinergics, including dicyclomine, which is branded as Bentyl, and hyoscyamine, which is sold under various brand names. Other medications that may ease these symptoms include an older form of anti-depressants known as tricyclics. When prescribed to treat IBS pain instead of depression, these medications are usually taken in much lower doses. These options, which are generally taken about a half an hour before meals, may relax the muscles of the stomach and intestines, in turn providing pain relief by preventing abdominal cramping. Amitriptyline, which is sold under the brand name Elavil, and nortriptyline, or Aventyl, are two examples of tricyclic antidepressants. If constipation is the primary symptom of IBS, fiber supplements like Metamucil, and over the-counter stool softeners, may help to get things moving. If these are not helpful, stronger medications, like stimulant laxatives, may be used. Marketed under names like Correctol and X-lax, laxatives increase muscle contractions that move the stool through the body. Stimulant laxatives should only be used for short periods of time, as the body can start to rely on them to have bowel movements. On the other end of the scale, if diarrhea predominates in individual, antidiarrheals like Lomotil or Imodium may be taken to ease the symptoms. Lomotil is available by prescription only, and works by slowing the contractions of the intestinal muscles. Meanwhile, Imodium, or loperamide can be purchased over-the-counter. One medication which also curbs diarrhea is called Lotronex. This prescription drug binds to serotonin receptors in the brain. Lotronex was the first medication to target the connection between the intestines and the brain. In 2000, Lotronex was taken off the market when it was found to contribute to ischemic bowel disease, a potentially deadly condition that follows from a low oxygen state due to inadequate blood flow to the bowel. More recently though, the medication was re approved for use in women only under a tightly regulated prescribing program. While these medications are often effective, in many cases of IBS, the symptoms can be controlled with lifestyle treatments, such as dietary changes and psychological counseling. However, if your condition interferes with your daily activities and lifestyle, please talk to your doctor about medicinal treatments available for irritable bowel syndrome.More »
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Managing IBS can be a challenge as it is incurable and sometimes misunderstood. Watch this video to find out more about this condition.
Transcript: Irritable bowel syndrome cannot be cured, but a variety of self-care changes may help sufferers find...
Irritable bowel syndrome cannot be cured, but a variety of self-care changes may help sufferers find relief from their unpleasant symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common digestive condition affecting up to one in five Americans! Doctors aren't sure what causes IBS, but its symptoms are quite unpleasant, and include diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. People whose main complaint is constipation may benefit...from a gradual boost in their fiber intake. That's because fiber binds to water in the intestine, softening stool, which makes it easier to pass. It's best to consume between twenty and thirty-five grams of fiber daily, in the forms of beans, fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole wheat breads. Meanwhile, people with diarrhea will want to avoid too much fiber. It may also be helpful to bypass fried and fatty foods, carbonated and caffeinated beverages, and the sugars, fructose and sorbitol. In addition, chewing gum, which lets more air into the stomach, may cause gas, in turn making diarrhea sufferers feel even worse. Changing the way in which you eat may help. Consuming meals at regular intervals and taking care not to skip meals will help regulate bowel function. Some doctors believe that an influx of stress can lead to colon spasms. Indeed, people with upset bowels often notice a lessening of symptoms after trying behavioral therapy, like relaxation techniques. Many IBS patients find that talking to a therapist alleviates symptoms over time. This is particularly true for those with depression or panic disorder, both of which commonly occur in conjunction with IBS. On occasion, medications can trigger diarrhea or constipation. Antibiotics, antidepressants like Prozac, and cough syrups which contain sorbitol may all lead to symptom flare-ups. IBS sufferers should talk to their doctors about the side-effects of their everyday medications and consider switching to forms that won't worsen IBS symptoms. Getting regular cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging or swimming, may also ease the discomfort of IBS. Not only does exercise help reduce tension that can lead to symptoms, but it may also stimulate normal contractions of the bowels. Exercise may also relieve abdominal pain, as can heat treatments such as warm baths or heating pads. If these lifestyle changes don't ease the severity of your IBS, or if the condition is actually debilitating, your doctor may recommend medication to ease the symptoms. If you believe that you may have irritable bowel syndrome, you don't have to suffer in silence! Please make an appointment to talk with a physician about treatment options.More »
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