Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common functional bowel disorder with chronic abdominal pain and bowel problems that can severely impact your quality of life. The board-certified doctors at Illinois Gastroenterology Group have extensive experience evaluating the many possible problems associated with IBS and developing customized treatment that relieves your symptoms. To get help with IBS, schedule an appointment online or call one of the offices in Oak Lawn, Oakbrook Terrace, and Palos Heights, Illinois.
IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disease that affects your large intestine. This disease is defined by two primary symptoms: abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. You may have IBS with constipation, diarrhea, or both.
Your abdominal pain may vary, but many patients have a nearly constant dull pain plus occasional episodes of sharp pain. Though IBS pain typically affects the lower abdomen, it may appear in your upper abdomen. The pain generally improves after a bowel movement.
In addition to recurrent abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea, you may also experience:
Most patients go through periods of remission, alternating with symptom flare-ups. Alcohol, certain foods, stress, and hormonal changes may trigger your IBS symptoms.
IBS is defined by symptoms rather than biomarkers, which means there aren’t any tests to definitively diagnose the condition. Instead, your doctor at Illinois Gastroenterology Group thoroughly evaluates your symptoms and then performs diagnostic tests to rule out other health conditions that cause similar symptoms.
You may undergo testing for celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Your Illinois Gastroenterology Group physician may recommend diagnostic tests such as CT scans to assess abdominal structures and sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to examine your colon.
Treatment for IBS focuses on medications and dietary changes to relieve your symptoms. If your symptoms are mild, you may only need over-the-counter medications. However, your doctor at Illinois Gastroenterology Group may prescribe one of many possible medications to relax painful colon spasms or treat diarrhea and constipation.
Some types of antidepressants help patients with IBS because they block pain messages between the gastrointestinal tract and your brain. Antidepressants also help relieve chronic abdominal symptoms and may regulate diarrhea and constipation.
Your provider at Illinois Gastroenterology Group also evaluates your diet and helps you identify foods that may trigger your IBS symptoms. Many patients get significant symptom relief by restricting foods that aggravate their IBS.
If your symptoms don’t respond to standard medications or dietary changes, there are potent medications specifically approved to treat IBS. However, they’re the last option considered because they’re associated with potentially serious side effects.
If you have ongoing abdominal pain and diarrhea or constipation, call Illinois Gastroenterology Group or schedule an appointment online.