The Doctor Says I have IBS, What can I do?

By Dave / November 22, 2006


patientI’m sorry to hear of your chronic constipation.

Some people with IBS suffer from constipation, others from diarrhea and some alternate between diarrhea and constipation. (I can only imagine how awful that would be)


It is estimated that about 1 out of 5 adults suffer from IBS, also known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  That is about 20% of the adult population. Woman tend to experience IBS at a rate about 3 times that of men. That data may be skewed as men may not seek treatment for IBS as often as women.

Here are two documents that can help you to understand IBS better:

1. IBS report (28 pages)

2. IBS report (8 pages)

If you have IBS you should visit your doctor as she has tools available to evaluate and treat your symptoms. Doctors are not able to cure IBS per say but they can utilize certain medications to alleviate your symptoms. They may also be able to suggest dietary changes after examining your diet.Â

A doctor will also be able to rule out the possibility that there is a disease responsible for you condition rather than IBS (which is a non-disease condition).


The doctor will perform tests, such as blood test and a colonoscopy (where they look at the inside of your large intestine) or barium x-ray test.

Much IBS may be sub clinical, meaning that a person may experience bowel pain but might not think it is patient 3 important enough to seek treatment for.

IBS is classified as a syndrome, meaning that it generally is not considered a disease, though Doctors often have varying opinions about IBS. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms.

Resist the temptation to take IBS lightly. One woman’s account was that it felt like giving birth over and over again. Another person said that she has it so bad and so often that she had to buy a van with facilities that she could retreat to when she had an attack. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be able to venture out into the world. (that’s a pretty drastic measure to have to take)Â IBS is not to be taken lightly.

The good news is that IBS has not been shown to cause any permanent damage to your large intestine, nor has it been found to lead to any diseases.

So what does it mean that IBS is classified as a syndrome? Basically, a syndrome is a collection of symptoms that don’t actually amount to a disease condition. (that doesn’t mean it can’t be extremely painful or uncomfortable though)

stressThe symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and discomfort, cramping, bloating and gas among others. One person suffering from IBS said that after a bout of IBS, his insides feel like they were beaten with a baseball bat for the next several days.

What causes IBS?

We can’t say that these items cause IBS, but we can say they may trigger an episode of IBS. If you suffer from IBS it is a good idea to keep a log of what you eat so that you can determine what food (if any) triggered an attack.

Stress – the brain is connected to our gut, and since we are talking about the large intestine or the bowel, we need to realize that there is a connection there. Our autonomic system regulates many things in our body without our conscious knowledge.


If stress is contributing to IBS attacks for you, hypnosis, therapy or relaxation techniques could be helpful in preventing a bout of IBS.

coffeeCaffeine – has been seen to trigger IBS episodes. Staying away from coffee and other caffeinated beverages may help you avoid an IBS episode.

Alcohol can trigger an IBS attack, but you knew you shouldn’t drink anyway, didn’t you?

Dairy products like cheese or ice cream may cause an episode. Try a replacement such as tofu or yogurt.

Carbonated soft drinks have been known to trigger an IBS attack.

Chocolate also has been isolated as a trouble food.

Overeating, even if it doesn’t contain one of your trigger foods, can also irritate the bowel and bring on IBS.


What can you do? First, make sure you visit your doctor, to rule out any kind of disease as the source of your symptoms. The doctor may use a checklist and compare your answers to see if you fall into the category of IBS sufferer.

One of the common criteria is to have experienced 12 weeks or more of IBS symptoms over the past 12 months.

Eating more fiber has proven helpful to many suffering from IBS, however some have reported additional abdominal bloating and gas from taking in more fiber. These additional problems seem to subside after a couple of weeks.

It is suggested that you increase your daily fiber intake by 2 to 3 grams per day, instead of adding a lot of fiber at once, in order to avoid the additional abdominal bloating and gas.

foodsKeep a log of what you eat and when your attacks happen. Try to figure out what food may have triggered the attack and take steps to eliminate that food from your diet. Determing the trigger may be hard to do as it appears that some foods can trigger IBS up to two days later.

Seek the help of your doctor, both to rule out disease and to help you identify culprit foods and work on adding more fiber to your diet. If your symptoms are really bad, your doctor may prescribe drugs for constipation or diarrhea ,depending on which you have. He may also prescribe antidepressant medication to keep stress from triggering an attack.

IBS is a complex problem, seldom is there any one cause. You’ll need to investigate what foods are triggering your attacks and also determine if stress is contributing to your IBS. then take steps accordingly. Your doctor can help you by tailoring your treatment to suite your particular problem.

Just like with anything else associated with the human body, no two people are alike. A combination of treatments may work for one person, while a different combination may work better for someone else. The same foods don’t always trigger IBS in different people.

I also found this alternative information on IBS [AFF]. I have not investigated it myself, but I thought it might be useful to your or someone else with IBS.

Here is an herbal supplement that you can investigate after discussing with your doctor: [Aff] Get More Info on Natural Moves for Natural Constipation Relief [AFF]





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