Don’t Be a Victim of Your Symptoms: Talking to Your Doctor about IBS

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The clock is ticking and you’re nearly finished with your doctor appointment.  You’ve covered the usual topics but you’ve failed to mention the one thing that’s nearly overtaken your life recently – Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  IBS symptoms are decidedly NOT sexy and at best incredibly embarrassing.

However, you have to start somewhere.  If you think you’re suffering from IBS, use the following as a guide to initiate discussions with your physician.

  • What is causing my IBS?
  • How does diet affect IBS symptoms?
  • Is my fiber intake appropriate to control IBS?
  • Do I need prescription medication?
  • Are laxatives safe to use with IBS?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to alleviate my IBS symptoms?
  • Is this a long-term condition?
  • Do menstrual cycles affect IBS?
  • Should I supplement my diet with probiotics?
  • How does stress affect IBS?  How do psychological issues impact IBS?
  • Should I be tested for gluten intolerance or allergies?
  • Is exercise harmful or helpful for IBS symptoms?
  • What is the outcome for people with IBS?
  • Are clinical trials an option?

Diagnosing IBS is a complicated process.  Rather than simply treating the symptoms, it’s important to discern what’s actually causing your discomfort.  According to Dr. Mark Hyman . . .

Emerging research has helped identify the underlying causes. For over 15 years I have been successfully treating irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive conditions using a very simple methodology based on functional medicine that helps identify and remove the underlying causes and restores normal digestive function and health.”

IBS is most common in women, people under the age of 50 and those with a history of IBS in the family.  It is commonly defined as a group of symptoms like bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation.

Although IBS is termed “functional” (it does not harm the GI system), it can be extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient.  Not feeling in control of your bowels is both distressing and upsetting.  Your doctor is there to help you manage your symptoms and put you back in the driver’s seat.

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