Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an increasingly common functional gastrointestinal disorder that is recognized this month for IBS Awareness Month. It is described as a “functional” disorder because it results in functional abnormalities in the gastrointestinal (GI) system, as opposed to structural abnormalities.
IBS is diagnosed by your doctor based on certain criteria. There are no lab tests or diagnostic imaging techniques necessary, although your doctor may order labs and imaging to rule out other gastrointestinal conditions that may present like IBS.
Patients with IBS often complain of chronic and/or recurrent abdominal pain, which may or may not be associated with eating, stress, alcohol intake and smoking. Changes in bowel habits also are common. While some individuals experience constipation, others experience diarrhea predominantly. Some individuals experience both. One characteristic of IBS is that that abdominal pain is typically improved by bowel movements.
Here are a few tips for better managing your IBS symptoms:
To learn more about IBS, make an appointment at Bastyr Center for Natural Health at 206-834-4100.
– Jamie Corroon, ND, naturopathic physician and resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the teaching clinic of Bastyr University.
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