Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common condition requiring treatment by a gastroenterologist.
IBS affects thousands of people in the UK and symptoms can certainly leave sufferers feeling unwell, uncomfortable and de-energised.
This condition can affect anyone, although it is most common in younger women. At present, complete clarity around the cause of IBS is still largely unclear and whilst symptoms can be managed through treatment, there is no cure as such.
If you have any concerns about IBS then please make an appointment for a full assessment.
Even mild symptoms are worth checking with a doctor or specialist as many symptoms related to IBS can be easily treated. This means you can feel reassured that you have received expert advice and can manage your condition more effectively.
Ruling out other conditions with similar symptoms to IBS is the first step. This includes coeliac disease and colitis.
A simple blood and stool test can usually achieve the required results, although occasionally an abdominal ultrasound is necessary too.
If IBS is diagnosed, treatments can be considered, such as anti-spasmodics, such as Buscopan, peppermint capsules to help relieve bloating and laxatives to aid bowel movement.
A common approach these days is to enlist the help of a dietician to look at food intolerances and to pursue the so called FODMAP diet, which was invented in Australia about 10 years ago and is now used around the world very effectively.
In the more difficult cases it may be necessary to use other drugs such as low dose anti-depressants, which block signals coming from the gut indicating pain and bloating.
Psychological therapies such as gut-directed hypnotherapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may also have a role to play in some treatment cases.
A sympathetic doctor patient relationship is important in management of the condition and to provide confidence to the patient that this is a very real diagnosis and not one used when the doctor may have nothing else to offer to explain the very common symptoms that arise in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
For many years patients have been coming to Dr Anton Bungay for expert advice regarding the prevention and treatment of IBS, including:
Feel reassured that you are not alone and that specialist help is available.