Persistent, uncomfortable abdominal symptoms could mean that you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In patients with IBS, the function of the bowel is altered, and the colon muscle tends to contract more frequently, resulting in constipation, diarrhea, and severe abdominal cramps. The team of colorectal experts at Piedmont Colorectal is committed to helping patients find relief from these and other IBS symptoms. Ahead, learn more about your IBS treatment options.
Diagnosing IBS starts with a physical examination and a review of your medical history. During your appointment, you will be asked about:
- Your symptoms, including the frequency and severity
- Changes in your bowel movements
- Changes in the appearance of your stool
- Your current list of medications and supplements
- Your lifestyle, including your stress levels
Our doctors may need to conduct certain tests to confirm your IBS diagnosis, such as:
Colonoscopy: This procedure allows our doctors to examine the inside of the large intestine. During a colonoscopy, an instrument called a colonoscope is inserted into the rectum so that it can be thoroughly examined.
Sigmoidoscopy: This procedure is similar to a colonoscopy except that during a sigmoidoscopy, only the lower half of the colon is examined.
Changes in Diet
Treating IBS often begins with dietary changes. Our doctors may recommend you increase fiber in your diet, which can be found in foods such as pears, lentils, barley, and almonds. You may also need to add a supplement to your diet for an additional boost in fiber. If you do not currently drink enough water, you will need to increase your intake. As you overhaul your diet, you may be advised to avoid certain foods, such as cheese, milk, carbonated drinks, and caffeine. The effects of dietary changes can take a few weeks, after which you may notice a marked improvement in your IBS symptoms.
Other Lifestyle Changes
Your IBS treatment may also involve increasing your level of physical activity. Establishing a consistent exercise routine can significantly improve your abdominal symptoms. Additionally, you may need to avoid smoking and alcohol consumption. If you frequently have high levels of stress, employing relaxation techniques may also reduce symptoms of IBS.
Certain medications may be recommended to help with infrequent bowel movements. Likewise, you may be prescribed probiotics to help balance the bacteria in your gut.
IBS Treatment in Atlanta
Living with IBS can be frustrating; however, successful management of IBS symptoms is possible with the guidance of our colon and rectal specialists. Contact our office today where our friendly staff will help you arrange your consultation, or simply request an appointment online using our convenient form.