In April 2012, I wrote a blog article titled “IBS – Is it really all BS?”. I provided an overview of three schools of thought on treating IBS at that time. Fast forward to 2016 and there have been significant changes in how many look at IBS and how to treat its symptoms that I think should be discussed. I’m convinced that the predominant cause of IBS symptoms for most is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and not in the patients head as many believe. I’ll elaborate more on SIBO treatment options in the IBS Treatments section below.
With April being IBS Awareness month and a lot changing relative to the field of IBS and my involvement, I felt like it would help to provide some further updates and insights to help promote awareness for this digestive disorder. To learn more about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for IBS, I encourage you to visit my digestive conditions page by clicking on this link –irritable bowel syndrome.
To help highlight the prevalence and importance of promoting awareness for IBS, I wanted to share some facts regarding this disorder.
• In the United States, it is estimated that 10 to15 percent of the adult population suffers from IBS symptoms, yet only 5 to 7 percent of adults have been diagnosed with the disease.
• About 2 in 3 IBS sufferers are female. IBS affects people of all ages, even children.
• Most persons with IBS are under the age of 50. But many older adults suffer as well.
• The 3 types of IBS are: IBS-C (bloating and constipation), IBS-D (mostly diarrhea) and IBS-M (mixed type with diarrhea and constipation)
• Approximately 20 to 40% of all visits to gastroenterologists are due to IBS symptoms.
• IBS can only be diagnosed by a medical professional.
Sources: American College of Gastroenterology & IFFGD
Update: Traditionally the medical community has listed the cause of IBS as unknown. In my 2012 IBS blog article, I mentioned that my research department was conducting studies on a new drug that helped to treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). I’ve been able to advance the treatment of SIBO recently by offering the first over the counter treatment option in 2015 that concentrates on treating bacterial overgrowth in the small bowel.
When to see a Doctor in Plano, TX for IBS Symptoms
IBS symptoms can occur regularly (chronic) or infrequently. The most common symptoms experienced by those suffering from IBS are: abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and gas. Since IBS can only be diagnosed by a medical professional, it is recommended that you see a doctor if you suffer from any or a combination of these symptoms.
Until recently, most treatments for IBS have been directed at the symptoms. This usually has been done through medicines called anti-spasmotics. Since the concept of SIBO has been shown to be the root cause of IBS, antibiotics are now frequently used to get the small bowel back to a more sterile environment. However, the issue with anti-spasmotics is that they only provide temporary relief and can lead to increased bacterial growth and constipation.
In my practice, for those patients that I suspect of having SIBO I recommend that they start with an OTC natural product. The majority of these patients suffer from bloating exclusively or in combination with either constipation or diarrhea. If this natural product is effective in providing relief, we have treated the SIBO and confirmed the diagnosis at the same time.
If the natural product is unsuccessful, then we will start exploring the possibility of other digestive disorders and discuss the best course to complete that diagnosis. Medicine is not an exact science, so I prefer to start treatment regimens that are less disruptive to the body and then make adjustments based on patient results.