How Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treated
There’s no cure for IBS. But there are ways to take control of IBS symptoms.
Doctors often recommend:
- Diet changes. Some people with IBS find that careful eating helps ease or stop IBS symptoms. You might try avoiding very large meals, drinks with caffeine, spicy or fatty foods, chocolate, some dairy products, and foods that contain gluten. Some people find that adding fiber eating more fruits and vegetables, for instance and drinking more water can help stop IBS symptoms too. Also try eating regular meals, avoiding on-the-run eating, and paying attention to good nutrition.
- Lifestyle changes. If you have IBS that appears related to stress, you might want to make some changes. Consider ways to manage daily pressures, such as schoolwork, and make time for activities you enjoy. This might mean reducing stress by talking over problems with a school counselor or a therapist. Be sure to get enough sleep and exercise. Your doctor might recommend some stress-reduction techniques, like breathing exercises. Research also shows that hypnotherapy may help in managing IBS.
- Medicines. Doctors sometimes prescribe medicines to treat diarrhea, constipation, or cramps. Antidepressants may help some people with pain management and depression. Talk with your doctor before you try any over-the-counter medicines for diarrhea, constipation, cramps, or other digestive problems.
Which Test Measures The Quality Of Life In Ibs Patients
The IBS-QOL is a test that IBS patients can use to self-report and measure their quality of life. It takes about ten minutes and has been translated into different languages. The test consists of 34 questions, each with a five-point response scale, and provides a score that shows the quality of life of those with IBS. A high test result indicates a good quality of life, and a low score indicates a low quality of life.
What Is The Treatment For Ibs
Dietary modifications are the first treatments that should be tried to treat IBS. There are several types of foods in particular that often trigger characteristic symptoms and signs.
If dietary modifications and lifestyle changes do not adequately treat the symptoms and signs, a doctor may recommend medical therapies.
Also Check: Does Lettuce Cause Diarrhea
What Is A Diagnosis Of Exclusion
A diagnosis of exclusion is a process by which doctors rule out other potential causes of symptoms before making a diagnosis. It’s the opposite of a positive diagnosis, which involves looking for indicators of a condition rather than what it isn’t.
The IBS diagnosis-of-exclusion process typically involves a slate of diagnostic tests to rule out other possible digestive disorders, infection, bacterial overgrowth, or colitis. Tests include:
- Rectal exam:;During a rectal exam, the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for abnormal areas and check for bleeding.
- Stool culture:A stool sample is analyzed for bacterial infection, parasites, or other possible causes of diarrhea.
- Sigmoidoscopy:;A flexible viewing tube called a sigmoidoscope is inserted through the rectum to examine the lowest one-third of the large intestine, which includes the rectum and sigmoid colon.
- Colonoscopy: A colonoscope, which is a flexible tube with lenses, a tiny camera, and a light at the end, is inserted through the rectum to examine the inside of the colon beyond the areas a sigmoidoscopy can reach.
The recommendations for a positive diagnosis include:
- Looking at your family and personal medical history
- A physical exam to check for other causes
- Evaluation of symptoms to see if they’re consistent with IBS
- Minimal diagnostic testing, which varies based on symptoms
Ways To Help Relieve Ibs Symptoms:
The great doc has also shared one of her favorite IBS-relieving smoothie recipes. Im totally going to give this a try
Also Check: Does Banana Cause Bloating And Gas
Review Of Your Symptoms
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and look for a certain pattern in your symptoms to diagnose IBS. Your doctor may diagnose IBS if you have pain in your abdomen along with two or more of the following symptoms:
- Your pain is related to your bowel movements. For example, your pain may improve or get worse after bowel movements.
- You notice a change in how often you have a bowel movement.
- You notice a change in the way your stools look.
Your doctor will ask how long youve had symptoms. Your doctor may diagnose IBS if
- youve had symptoms at least once a week in the last 3 months and
- your symptoms first started at least 6 months ago
Your doctor may diagnose IBS even if youve had symptoms for a shorter length of time. You should talk to your doctor if your symptoms are like the symptoms of IBS.
Your doctor will also ask about other symptoms. Certain symptoms may suggest that you have another health problem instead of IBS. These symptoms include
- bloody stools or stools that are black and tarry
- weight loss
How To Get An Ibs Diagnosis
If you have symptoms that could point to irritable bowel syndrome , the first thing to do is work toward getting an accurate diagnosis. That can take time, several doctor visits, and lots of tests. Many different conditions cause similar symptoms, and they can only be treated properly once you’ve been through the diagnostic process.
Things that might help you zero in on a diagnosis include:
- Compare your symptoms with those typical of IBS
- Keep symptom and food logs
- Discuss your logs with a doctor
- See a digestive specialist
- Have tests to determine the cause of your symptoms
Also Check: What Foods Help With Leaky Gut
How Exactly Is Quality Of Life Measured In Those With Ibs
Different tests and questionnaires are used to measure the severity of IBS. These give the healthcare provider and patient feedback a tool to use for objective symptom measurement. Quality of life plays a special role in chronic diseases like IBS, since the syndrome can have a negative impact on many areas of life. They usually assess different areas like dissatisfaction, body image and health concerns, nutrition and food avoidance, social interactions, relationships, and activity impairment.
If several of the following questions apply to you, your quality of life may beimpaired due to digestive problems. The questions are a modified excerpt from the IBS-QOL:
Ibs Vs Ibd Are The Same Bowel Disease
While both irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease can have similar symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and urgent bowel movements; however, IBS is not the same as IBD.
- IBD is a group of separate diseases that includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and is a more severe condition.
- Irritable bowel syndrome is considered a functional gastrointestinal disorder because there is abnormal bowel function. IBS is a group of symptoms and not a disease in itself, which is why its called a syndrome, and it is considered less serious than IBD.
- Irritable bowel syndrome does not cause inflammation like inflammatory bowel disease, and it does not result in permanent damage to the intestines, intestinal bleeding, rectal bleeding, ulcers, or the harmful complications that are often seen with IBD.
Read Also: What Is The Medical Term For Leaky Gut
Tips For Treating Ibs
While theres no cure for IBS, certain treatments may help alleviate some of the symptoms. Here are some of the ways you can effectively manage your IBS:
How Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosed
There is no specific test for IBS. To diagnose it, doctors ask about symptoms and do an exam. They’ll ask if anyone in your family has IBS or other gastrointestinal problems.
Talking about things like gas and diarrhea can be embarrassing. But the doctor deals with issues like this every day and needs the information to help you feel better.
The doctor may suggest keeping a food diary to see if any foods trigger your IBS symptoms. The doctor might ask about stress at home and at school.
Although there’s no test for IBS, a doctor may send a patient for tests to make sure the symptoms aren’t being caused by other problems.
You May Like: Is Watermelon Good For Leaky Gut
What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- Sorry, that’s not right. There are no tests to diagnose IBS. Doctors diagnose IBS using a list of symptoms common to people who have IBS.
- You’re right. There are no tests to diagnose IBS. Doctors diagnose IBS using a list of symptoms common to people who have IBS.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” There are no tests to diagnose IBS. Doctors diagnose IBS using a list of symptoms common to people who have IBS.
- No, that’s not right. If your symptoms get better with home care and changes to your diet, you likely have IBS and don’t need testing.
- You’re right. If your symptoms get better with home care and changes to your diet, you likely have IBS and don’t need testing.
- It may help to go back and read “Key Points to Remember.” If your symptoms get better with home care and changes to your diet, you likely have IBS and don’t need testing.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Normal test results mean that you probably do have IBS. Tests look for other health problems that could cause your symptoms. So abnormal results may mean that you have another problem.
- You’re right. Normal test results mean that you probably do have IBS. Tests look for other health problems that could cause your symptoms. So abnormal results may mean that you have another problem.
- It may help to go back and read “Key Points to Remember.” Normal test results mean that you probably do have IBS. Tests look for other problems. So abnormal results may mean that you have another problem.
Do Healthcare Providers And People With Ibs Agree On The Severity Of Ibs
Healthcare providers and people with IBS often have different theories concerning the cause and severity of IBS, but also concerning the treatment option and the definition of treatment success. Healthcare providers rate the severity of irritable bowel symptoms and the reduction in quality of life on average less seriously than people who live with the symptoms. To date, no precise causes of IBS are known, so patients are often dissatisfied with the answers given by their providers.
Many patients suspect that nutrition, including food allergies and intolerances, or mental health concerns are responsible for the syndrome, although their healthcare providers cannot confirm this theory. All of these factors make the doctor-patient relationship complex and can make it difficult to treat IBS.
Betz C, MannsdÃ¶rfer K, Bischoff SC. Validierung des IBS-SSS. Z Gastroenterol. 2013;51:1171-1176. Doi:10.1055/s-0033-1335260.
Houghton LA, Heitkemper M, Crowell MD, et al. Age, Gender, and Womenâs Health and the Patient. Gastroenterology. 2016;150:1332-1343.e4. Doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2016.02.017.
Drossman DA, Patrick DL, Whitehead WE, et al. Further validation of the IBS-QOL: a disease-specific quality-of-life questionnaire. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000;95:999-1007. Doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2000.01941.x
Drossman DA, Chang L, Bellamy N, et al. Severity in irritable bowel syndrome: a Rome Foundation Working Team report. Am J Gastroenterol. 2011;106:1749â1760. doi:10.1038/ajg.2011.201
Recommended Reading: How Is The Microbiome Of The Gut Determined
How Do I Know If I Have Ibs
As there are a range of symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and the cause of it isnt always clear in the first place, its not always easy to tell whether or not you have the condition. Here our Nutritionist and Digestion Advisor Emma Thornton hopes to shed a little more light on the condition by discussing everything from the first signs of IBS to common symptoms. With this information to hand it should be a little easier to determine whether or not you have IBS.
Tests For Other Diseases
Your doctor has some other ways to see why you’re not feeling so great. Sometimes other conditions are to blame. There are tests that can help rule them in or out.
For instance, they may check to see if your body isn’t able to absorb or digest certain ingredients, like dairy or a simple sugar called fructose. One way to find out is to see if your symptoms get better if you take them out of your diet.
You may also need to get a blood test to look for signs of Celiac disease, which happens when your body can’t handle gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and oats.
Your doctor might order a colonoscopy, an exam that looks for polyps in your large intestine. Another option may be a test called a flexible sigmoidoscopy. During both procedures, your doctor puts a narrow, flexible tube with a camera into your rectum. They move it into your body to examine part or all of the large intestine.
During the colonoscopy, they may collect small sections of tissue from the large intestine and examine them under a microscope. It won’t show if you have IBS, but you may learn if you’ve got other conditions like colitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
Another way your doctor might want to look at your large intestine is with an X-ray called a lower GI series, or barium enema. For this test, they put a flexible tube into the rectum and fills the large intestine with barium, a liquid that lights up on X-rays.
Also Check: How To Relieve Bloating Pain
Common Ibs Symptoms You Should Know About According To Experts
The symptoms you experience depend on the type of IBS you have.
Irritable bowel syndrome , a group of symptoms that occur together, is fairly common. It’s estimated that about 12% of people in the US have this disorder of the large intestine. While IBS symptoms vary from person to person, there are hallmark symptoms associated with the condition.
“The most common symptoms of IBS are pain, change in bowel habits, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and gas,”Lisa Ganjhu, DO, from the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at NYU Langone Health, tells Health.
Here’s a closer look at the different IBS symptoms.
How It Affects Your Life
Itâs uncomfortable, and it can make you feel anxious about being able to get to a bathroom on time, or nervous about having symptoms strike at a bad time, like when youâre commuting, at work, or in any situation where itâs hard to leave. You may find that it helps to map out bathrooms before going anyplace new. In severe cases, people feel hesitant to eat out, see a movie, or socialize.
You May Like: Can Stomach Bloating Cause Shortness Of Breath
How Is Ibs Severity Tested
Here are a few modified example questions:
Test questions for abdominal pain
- Do you currently have abdominal pain?
- How severe is your abdominal pain on a scale from 0 to 10?
- How many days in the last 10 days have you had abdominal pain?
Test questions for bloated stomach and flatulence
- Do you currently have abdominal bloating or flatulence?
- How pronounced is the bloated abdomen on a scale from 0 to 10?
Test question for bowel habits
- How satisfied are you with your bowel movements on a scale from 0 to 10?
Test question for quality of life
- How much do your IBS symptoms impair your quality of life from 0 to 10?