Do you suffer from chronic stomach or abdominal pain? If so, you could have a treatable condition known as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Your gastroenterologist is an expert at diagnosis and treatment of IBS and can help you feel better.
Irritable bowel syndrome causes problems in your large intestine. IBS is believed to be caused when the nervous system of your GI tract doesn’t function properly. The small muscles in the lining of your intestinal tract don’t move properly, so food doesn’t work its way through to your stomach easily.
Irritable bowel syndrome can cause unpleasant, painful symptoms like these:
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Gas and bloating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Mucus in your stools
Your diet and lifestyle have a lot to do with how well you feel when you have IBS. You will feel better if you avoid these foods and beverages:
- Milk and fats
- Chocolate and spices
- Cabbage and cauliflower
- Broccoli and beans
- Carbonated beverages and alcohol
Your gastroenterologist can help you build a diet plan so you can feel better.
Another important piece of living a healthy lifestyle when you have IBS is to minimize your stress. This isn’t always possible, so practicing stress management techniques is critical to minimizing IBS symptoms. You can try:
- Deep breathing
- Gentle stretching
For mild, occasional symptoms associated with IBS, your gastroenterologist may recommend medications including:
- Fiber supplements
- Anti-diarrheal medications
- Medications to reduce intestinal spasms
For moderate to severe IBS symptoms your gastroenterologist may recommend some additional medications including:
- Alosetron, to relax your colon
- Lubiprostone, to increase fluid secretion so stools pass easily
Irritable bowel syndrome can dramatically affect your ability to enjoy life. A modified diet, stress reduction, and help from your gastroenterologist are important ways to live a healthy lifestyle, even when you have IBS. To find out more about the causes, signs, symptoms, and treatment of IBS, talk with an expert. Call your gastroenterologist today.