What is irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal condition that causes abdominal pain and affects your bowel movements. People who have IBS may suffer from diarrhea or constipation, or sometimes both. It can cause gas and bloating, and cramps after eating that improve following a bowel movement.
IBS isn’t a serious threat to your health, but it can have a severe impact on your day to day life, affecting you at work and at home, and disrupting your leisure time.
How is irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed?
There aren’t any tests that can confirm irritable bowel syndrome, so the team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado reviews your symptoms to see if they match those of IBS. They can run tests to check for other conditions or possible triggers that cause similar symptoms, such as:
- Food allergies or intolerances
- Enzyme deficiencies
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Medications such as iron supplements and hypertension pills
The team may also carry out diagnostic tests, for example, X-rays, an upper endoscopy, or flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to check for blockages or inflammation. They can also carry out tests to check the function of the muscles in your bowel.
How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?
Treating IBS involves you and the team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado working together to create a treatment plan customized to your needs. There are a number of ways to deal with IBS, but not all approaches work for every patient.
The first step is to identify triggers for your IBS because a flare up usually occurs after eating a specific foodstuff, or at times of stress. Learning what your triggers are helps you adapt your lifestyle to reduce the impact of irritable bowel syndrome.
There’s also a range of medications available that could help ease your symptoms. The Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado team might recommend you take a course of antibiotics to alter the bacteria in your gut, which can improve symptoms for up to six months in some people. Antidepressants can also relieve symptoms for certain patients.
Bulking agents help by slowing down the passage of food through your digestive system, and probiotics that contain good bacteria and yeast can improve gut health and digestion. You can also take medications to help resolve constipation and diarrhea.
If you have any symptoms of IBS,
call Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado at (970) 245-0990 or go online to Request an Appointment.