Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is one of the most common disorders of the bowel. It affects 15% of people in the United States, and is seen more often in women than in men.
IBS is a problem that occurs in the large intestine when food travels too quickly through the intestines, leading to pain and discomfort. It is a chronic, or ongoing, condition.
Symptoms of IBS include:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Urge to have a bowel movement even when the colon is empty
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Bloating and gas
- Mucus in the stool
Symptoms increase with:
- Fatty, processed or fried foods
- Eating certain trigger foods (dairy, chocolate, wheat)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Caffeinated beverages
Doctors Who Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- General practitioner: The first line of defense in IBS. These doctors deal with prevention, discovery and treatment of illnesses in all age categories.
- Internist: Focuses on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of adult illness.
- Gastroenterologist: Doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive system diseases.
- Psychologist: Specializes in mood and emotional disorders. This therapist offers counseling and alternative therapy like hypnosis and biofeedback to lower stress and lessen the frequency of IBS attacks.
- Nutritionist/dietician: Creates meal plans to help lessen IBS attacks, which may include removing any foods that the patient may have sensitivity to.