Topic: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Brochure, Fact Sheet: IBS Questions and Answers101
This in-depth overview of IBS includes information on symptoms, causes, diagnosis, management, and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Written in collaboration by IFFGD and physicians noted for their knowledge about IBS. Newly revised and updated 2013.
Also available offline as a glossy color brochure (3.5" x 8.5"). Contact IFFGD for details.
Fact Sheet: The Neurobiology of Stress and Emotions106
We often hear the term “stress” associated with functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many patients experience a worsening of symptoms during times of severely stressful life events. But what is stress? How often does it occur? How does our body respond to stress? This article explores the mechanisms that link stress and emotions to responses that have evolved to ensure survival and that, in the modern world, affect health – including gastrointestinal function.
The gut and the brain develop from the same part of the human embryo. So it is not surprising that the intestinal tract has such a rich nerve supply that it is sometimes referred to as “the little brain.” The gut shares many of the same kinds of nerve endings and chemical transmitters as the brain to which it remains linked through a large nucleus (the locus ceruleus). This collection of nerve cells is partly responsible for controlling anxiety and fear, which explains why these emotions can sometimes be associated with bowel function.
Biofeedback is a neuromuscular reeducation tool we can use to tell if certain processes in our bodies are working correctly. It is a painless process that uses a computer and a video monitor to display bodily functions that we usually are not aware of. Special sensors measure these functions, which are displayed as sounds we can hear, or as linegraphs we can see on a computer screen. A therapist helps us use this displayed information to modify or change abnormal responses to more normal patterns such as increasing a response, decreasing a response, or learning to coordinate two responses more effectively.Topics: Bowel urgency, CAM, Complementary & Alternative Treatments, Constipation, difficult to pass stools, Diarrhea, loose stools, Incontinence, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Lower Abdominal Pain, Pelvic Pain, Pelvic floor disorders
What are normal movements (motility) of the digestive tract? How may altered motility lead to symptoms? Disorders affecting the motility of the digestive tract may be self-limiting, occurring only for a brief period as in acute infection of the digestive tract causing diarrhea. They can also be more longstanding and persistent as in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is associated with a variety of symptoms, particularly abdominal pain and an irregular bowel habit.
Over a decade ago, investigators noted that approximately half of the women attending a gynecology clinic had symptoms (e.g., abdominal pain, change in bowel pattern) compatible with a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Since that study, a number of other studies have demonstrated a higher prevalence of gynecologic disorders, such as pain associated with menstruation (dysmenorrhea) and premenstrual distress syndrome in women with IBS as compared to those without IBS.
Several investigators as well as an NIH consensus conference on the "irritable bowel syndrome" (IBS) have stressed the importance of the biopsychosocial model in the etiopathogenesis (origin and development) of this syndrome. In this short article, the pathophysiologic (disease process) links between big brain, little brain, motility and sensation are explored based on currently available data. These data suggest that investigators and clinicians need to be dissuaded from approaching IBS as though it was a single disorder in all patients, or as though only one mechanism is responsible for development of symptoms. In essence, this is a plea for the importance of integrated rather than reductionist approaches to research, diagnosis, and management of IBS. Revised and updated 2009.
Fact Sheet: Visceral Sensations and Brain-Gut Mechanisms127
Over the past several years, different mechanisms located within the gut, or gut wall have been implicated as possible pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying the characteristic IBS symptoms of abdominal pain and discomfort. The list ranges from altered transit of intestinal gas, alterations in the colonic flora, immune cell activation in the gut mucosa, and alterations in serotonin containing enterochromaffin cells lining the gut. For those investigators with a good memory, these novel mechanisms can be added to an older list of proposed pathomechanisms, including altered gut motility ("spastic colitis") and alterations in mucus secretion.Topics: Brain-Gut, Constipation, difficult to pass stools, Diarrhea, loose stools, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Lower Abdominal Pain, Pelvic Pain
Symptoms related to this sensitive area can be very troubling, yet many people are reluctant to discuss them. Itching (pruritis ani), painful defecation, stained underwear, spotting of blood, and offensive odor add up to embarrassment, distress, social handicap and anguish. These complaints of anal discomfort are very common. Symptoms may coexist with the irritable bowel syndrome or other functional bowel disease. Diarrhea and constipation may aggravate them. Anal symptoms are not part of these conditions as they may occur independently. They may be due to or associated with many local diseases. Whatever the association, perianal irritation can be treated. Find out how to get help and what to do about it. Reviewed and updated 2009.Topics: Anal, Rectal Disorders, Bowel urgency, Constipation, difficult to pass stools, Diarrhea, loose stools, Incontinence, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Fact Sheet: Understanding and Managing Chronic Pain140
Most of the time pain serves as a critical part of our sensory system, and is therefore a necessary though unpleasant function of a healthy body. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that chronic pain may be more like a disease or pathology of the nervous system associated with abnormal responses in the brain and spinal cord. Chronic pain has an impact on every facet of patients' lives. If you have chronic pain it is important to develop a pain management plan that works for you.Topics: CAM, Complementary & Alternative Treatments, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Lower Abdominal Pain, Pelvic Pain, Pain Management
Fact Sheet: Diet and Functional Bowel Disease143
The exact nature of the connection between what people eat and how their intestines behave is controversial, but there is certainly a connection. The effects of foods on the gut are reviewed.Topics: Diarrhea, loose stools, Diet, Foods, Food intolerance, Malabsorption, Gas, Bloating, Belching, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
By: Paul Enck, PhD
Most of us have experienced some of the ways that the central nervous system (CNS) affects the gut in our everyday lives. The affect may be direct, like an urgent need to evacuate the bowels when life gets exciting. It may be indirect, like the decision to suppress the urge to go to the bathroom when social circumstances, work, or sanitary conditions do not allow it. In this article, we will examine four methods of brain-gut interaction and their influence on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Fact Sheet: Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome149
Although fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are two very different disorders, they often overlap, and they share a number of commonalities that bear closer scrutiny. Like irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia is a disorder that is diagnosed based on clinical (symptom based) criteria as opposed to laboratory and imaging studies.
Fact Sheet: Fiber Therapy in IBS and other GI Disorders152
Specific food practices may contribute to constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. Based on our observation and experiences in nutrition research, we will share with you some suggestions for improving bowel function and decreasing symptom severity.Topics: Constipation, difficult to pass stools, Diarrhea, loose stools, Diet, Foods, Gas, Bloating, Belching, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS, Chronic Functional Abdominal Pain, Bloating and Gas, Constipation, Diarrhea
The term "functional" as used in medicine, generally is taken to mean symptoms not accompanied by demonstrable abnormalities on physical examination, blood tests, x-rays, biopsies, endoscopies or other procedures. An overview of common disorders that affect the colon.Topics: Constipation, difficult to pass stools, Diarrhea, loose stools, Gas, Bloating, Belching, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Lower Abdominal Pain, Pelvic Pain
Antidepressants are commonly prescribed for the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders; they are unique drugs, which have a number of properties that make them particularly useful. In order to fully understand their usefulness in functional gastrointestinal disorders, three areas should be understood: how they work, the brain-gut relationship, and the role of antidepressants in treatment.
In the past two decades, medical opinion has changed regarding how to diagnose IBS. The older view emphasized that IBS should be regarded primarily as a "diagnosis of exclusion;" that is, diagnosed only after diagnostic testing excludes many disorders that could possibly cause the symptoms. Fortunately, physicians can now diagnose IBS in most patients by recognizing certain symptom details, performing a physical examination, and undertaking limited diagnostic testing. This simpler approach is grounded on recent knowledge...and it leads to a reliable diagnosis in most cases. Revised and updated 2009.Topics: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Tests, lower GI tract, Working with your healthcare provider
Relaxation training is an integral component of behavioral therapies for managing chronic pain, promoting health, and helping patients cope with life-threatening illness. Relaxation can also assist in managing functional GI disorders. How relaxation works and methods are described. Reviewed 2009.Topics: Brain-Gut, CAM, Complementary & Alternative Treatments, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), relaxation, Stress
Fact Sheet: IBS in Men: A Different Disease?166
The gastrointestinal tract is anatomically gender-neutral. While its furthest extremity is in proximity to the genital organs, surgeons, endoscopists, anatomists, and pathologists observe no differences between the intestines of males and females. It should follow that symptoms and other manifestations of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should be the same in men as it is in women. This appears not to be so. This article concentrates on gender differences in the epidemiology, symptoms, physiology, psychosocial issues, and responses to treatment of IBS. Reviewed and updated 2009.
Brochure, Fact Sheet: Current Pharmacologic Treatments of Irritable Bowel Syndrome168
Pharmacologic treatments for IBS are usually aimed at improving the predominant IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. The most common classes of drugs currently used are laxatives, antidiarrheals, antispasmodics, antidepressants, and 5-HT modulators. A review of indications, methods of action, and side effects associated with commonly available agents used to treat IBS.Topics: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
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