Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be frustrating, painful, and embarrassing, but there are ways to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Moushumi Sanghavi, MD, at Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park in New York City, has a personal interest in IBS and is very experienced in helping men and women handle the challenges of IBS through diet, lifestyle changes, and medication. For help taking control of your IBS, click or call today.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition affecting the large intestine. IBS won’t inflame or permanently damage your large intestine, but it can be difficult living with its symptoms. Symptoms of IBS include:
Diarrhea or constipation
Mucus in stool
IBS most commonly affects people under age 50, and it is more common among women than men. If you often experience any of the above symptoms, you should schedule an appointment at the practice. Your doctor will be able to diagnose whether your symptoms are the result of IBS or another medical condition.
Your IBS symptoms can change over time. For example, you may experience alternating periods of constipation or diarrhea. Also, your symptoms can decrease in severity or even disappear without explanation and then return without warning.
There’s no standardized test for IBS. To determine if you have IBS, your doctor at Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park will review your symptoms, medical history and perform tests to rule out other conditions.
Certain food intolerances, such as lactose or gluten intolerance, can cause similar symptoms to IBS, and it’s possible that avoiding a specific food will eliminate your symptoms. IBS, by comparison, may require a wider dietary change.
Many people with IBS have trouble digesting foods high in FODMAP. FODMAP — short for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols — stands for a group of carbohydrates found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, legumes, and grains.
For most people with IBS, certain foods within that group are especially problematic, and what those foods are can vary from person to person. Knowing which foods are most likely to trigger your symptoms will help you adjust your diet. Your doctor at Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park will walk you through dietary eliminations and reintroductions to identify your specific triggers.
Tests your doctor will conduct in order to determine the causes of your symptoms may include:
This test involves taking biopsies of the small intestine to assess for certain enzyme deficiencies, specifically those enzymes that are necessary for digesting lactose, sucrose (table sugar) and starch. Knowing disaccharide levels can help doctors determine the best solution for each patient’s unique situation.
Other tests include hydrogen breath testing for lactose and fructose intolerance.
Treatments for IBS involve managing symptoms through a combination of lifestyle changes, dietary changes and medication. The two main triggers of IBS are food and stress, so your doctor will help you avoid problem foods and manage sources of stress. There are several medications available to manage the diarrhea and constipation component of IBS.
Your doctor may give you a dietary plan that may reduce or even eliminate your symptoms. After following the diet for a few weeks, you can try slowly reintroducing certain foods to see what your specific food triggers are.
You’ll also receive help with managing everyday stressors, including a plan to exercise and counseling on getting enough sleep.
To get help managing your IBS, call or click to schedule an appointment at Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park today.