What is IBS??
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic syndrome of the gut, or gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain and discomfort along with altered (or not normal/regular) bowel habits (i.e. constipation, diarrhea, mucosy stools, feeling of not emptying the bowel when you go to the bathroom, having to go more frequently) over 3 months or longer. Because IBS symptoms are fairly common symptoms to lots of problems besides IBS, your doctor will rule out the more ‘dangerous’ things first before giving you a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Usually people have either diarrhea-dominant OR constipation-dominant types of IBS/IBS symptoms. Abdominal pain, cramping and bloating are also common IBS symptoms. IBS symptoms of diarrhea and bloating are reported to cause the worst impact on quality of life because people with these two symptoms often AVOID SOCIAL situations due to worry about having an accident, going to the bathroom frequently, or the bloating affecting their appearance.
After Diagnosis of IBS–where do I go from here?
Do you feel like you have tried every IBS treatment and been disappointed that you still suffer from your symptoms? Often IBS sufferers are not diagnosed right away because their doctors have to rule out so many other things before they start IBS treatment. This ‘waiting game’ in diagnosing IBS can be frustrating and stressful. Once you finally get a diagnosis of IBS, there is often a lack of effective IBS treatment options you are given from your doctor. Doctors often mimimize symptoms of IBS which only causes more frustration and pain! This is not because doctors don’t mean well–they are simply are given NO TRAINING in medical school in holistic nutrition, mind body medicine and Eastern Medicine, the three most effective tools to treat IBS!
What about IBS Drugs?
Yes, there are IBS treatments that use ‘IBS drugs,” but none of them target the root issues of IBS, only control symptoms and have lots of side effects. There are many drugs marketed now to treat IBS, but none of them work well for all of the major symptoms. Occasionally, drugs may play a role in your Integrative/Holistic IBS treatment plan, but they are the LEAST important part.