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Finding Relief: Destigmatizing and Treating IBS

It isn’t the most fun or comfortable thing to talk about, but irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorder amongst Americans. Often called IBS or spastic colon, more than 200,000 adults in the United States are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome each year.

 

People with IBS suffer through pain and other confusing or seemingly random symptoms that hold them back from living a normal, comfortable life. When it comes to IBS, many people are uncomfortable with speaking to their doctor about their struggles. This is unfortunate, since care providers’ greatest concern is giving their patients the care they need to live healthy, comfortable lives. 

 

Symptoms

The symptoms of IBS are often highly uncomfortable, and, since it is so personal for those struggling with it, it can be difficult to muster the courage to speak with a doctor and find treatment. If you think you might have IBS, the first step toward finding help is speaking with your doctor.

 

Only a physician can make a medical diagnosis for IBS and map out possible treatment options. Although it is such a personal topic, finding help for IBS can only start with relinquishing the silly taboo attached to the condition and talking with a doctor about it. 

 

In today’s age of self-diagnosis based on Google searches, people might think they can be their own doctor, but that is almost never the case. This is especially true for IBS. If you are experiencing symptoms of IBS, make an appointment with your doctor.  

 

Symptoms of IBS include: 

  • Altered bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and nausea 
  • Abdominal pain, cramping, or discomfort 

 

Often times, if you’re experiencing these symptoms, you’re like many other Americans who suffer from IBS. Visiting your doctor and talking about your symptoms can help you find treatment that will give you relief. Following your “gut feeling” by visiting your doctor can also help rule out other possible gastrointestinal diseases.

 

With your condition identified, your doctor can set up a treatment plan. While treatment will help, IBS cannot be cured. That is not to say you can’t live a normal comfortable life; although you might deal with IBS for years, it can be managed through treatment. 

 

Treatment

Treatment options for IBS are varied, ranging from medication to diet. Some people are able to control their symptoms by managing diet. Eating a high fiber diet and taking fiber supplements has been successful for many people. Self-care such as physical exercise, stress management, and relaxation techniques can also help patients.

 

There are also several classes of drugs that have proven to be helpful for many people. These include antibiotics, antispasmodics, antidiarrheal, or nerve pain medication. While treatment options for IBS is varied, your doctor can help you determine a treatment plan that is best for you. 

 

Improving Quality of Life

Seeking help for IBS is very important, as it greatly affects one’s quality of life. Part of this is its association with bloating, discomfort, and an altered body image for those suffering from it. Quality of life reports from patients with IBS are significantly altered compared to the general population, but seeking medical treatment can help.

 

Although there is a certain taboo and some discomfort surrounding IBS, it’s very important to seek care. If you’ve been suffering from symptoms of IBS, contact your doctor and begin finding treatment to get you back to living a normal, comfortable, happy life.