If you’re suffering from persistent belly pain and cramping accompanied by chronic constipation or diarrhea, you may have a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome. At Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC, which has two locations in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, their team of gastroenterologists offers comprehensive diagnostic and treatment options to alleviate pain and discomfort related to irritable bowel syndrome. You can expect a custom treatment plan that addresses your specific needs to improve your overall quality of life. Schedule a consultation online or by phone to learn more about treating irritable bowel syndrome today.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects your digestive system, leading to changes in your bowel movements and causing persistent abdominal pain.
While there is no known cause of IBS, abnormal contractions in your intestines or colon can likely cause you to become constipated or experience periods of diarrhea. You can also develop IBS as a side effect of a gastrointestinal infection such as a viral infection or food poisoning.
There is also a possible link between excess stress and anxiety and the likelihood of developing IBS, as both can negatively affect your intestinal function and worsen IBS symptoms.
In some cases, food intolerances or allergies can trigger IBS symptoms.
In addition to persistent abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea, IBS symptoms may include:
The pain associated with IBS can last for several days then go away for a period. You should visit Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC for a proper diagnosis if you experience diarrhea that lasts longer than a week or cannot have bowel movements for three or more days due to chronic constipation.
There isn’t one specific test that confirms an IBS diagnosis, but your provider may order blood work to rule out other medical issues.
Initially, they may evaluate your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical exam. In some cases, it may be necessary to have a colonoscopy procedure. This diagnostic test allows your gastroenterologist to check your digestive tract for blockages or other abnormalities that may be causing your symptoms.
Your provider may first recommend dietary changes to eliminate foods that might be causing abdominal pain or changes in your bowel movements. Dairy products containing lactose, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are often to blame for IBS symptoms, and your physician may suggest removing these foods from your diet to see if your symptoms improve.
If constipation is the problem, your provider may recommend increasing the amount of fiber in your diet by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables or taking a fiber supplement.
Medications are also available, including antidiarrheals and stool softeners, to reduce your IBS symptoms. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also keep you comfortable by reducing your abdominal pain and cramping.
Learn more about available treatment options for IBS by scheduling a consultation with Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC by phone or online today.