When you have problems with your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, your quality of life can suffer quite considerably. Frequent trips to the bathroom, pain, discomfort, embarrassment — these are just a few of the side effects of GI problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
At HealthFirst, Dr. Jonathan Singer and our team excel in treating disorders like IBS, thanks to our holistic approach to your health.
What we mean by holistic is that we spend the necessary time to properly identify the problem, and then we approach it from every angle with the understanding that there are a host of factors that can play a role, such as environment, lifestyle, genetics, health, and so on.
By way of example, here we take a closer look at some of the more common symptoms of IBS and the steps we can take to bring you relief.
When you have IBS, it typically means there’s a problem with your brain-gut interaction that causes malfunctions in your digestive tract, such as food moving too quickly or too slowly. There are many reasons why your brain and gut may not be working in harmony, and we believe that the following factors may play a role:
- Food sensitivities
- Bacterial infections
- But bacteria imbalances
- Mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety
IBS is also more common than you might think. The American College of Gastroenterology suggests that between 10-15% of the population in the United States has IBS, yet only 5-7% of adults are properly diagnosed.
Symptoms of IBS
One of the reasons why so many people aren’t correctly diagnosed with IBS is that the symptoms can be different from one person to the next.
The hallmarks of IBS include:
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
We want to focus on the last two items on this list — constipation and diarrhea. While they may seem like opposite ends of a spectrum, they’re both the result of poor function in your digestive tract. Some people with IBS struggle with loose and watery stool, others develop hard and lumpy stool, and still others experience both problems, often from one day to the next.
These symptoms can also vary greatly in terms of frequency and severity, which is why it can be difficult to pin down IBS.
Diagnosing and treating IBS
When it comes to diagnosing and treating IBS, we rely on the holistic approach we mentioned earlier.
First, we sit down with you and spend considerable time reviewing your symptoms. Next, we take a look at your health and your family’s health.
Once we have a good idea of your background, we discuss your current lifestyle — including your diet, environment, and activity levels.
In gathering all of this information, we can not only better diagnose your GI problem, we can identify areas of your life where some significant health improvements are needed.
For example, if we determine that your diet is triggering some of your symptoms, we work with you to identify and eliminate these triggers. Or, perhaps we find that stress plays a role in your IBS. In these cases, we turn to stress management practices to mitigate the underlying cause of your poor brain-gut interaction.
It’s impossible to say here what your treatment will look like since every patient is different, but we promise we’ll work with you until you find relief from IBS.
If you suspect you have IBS, your first step toward better health is to contact one of our offices in Greenwood Village, Colorado, or Cheyenne, Wyoming, to set up a consultation.