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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Specialist

Arkansas Gastroenterology Associates & Endoscopy Center -  - Gastroenterology and Endoscopy

Arkansas Gastroenterology Associates & Endoscopy Center

Gastroenterology and Endoscopy located in Hot Springs, AR

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects up to 15% of all Americans. Unfortunately, most of them suffer needlessly, as only 1 in 4 people get medical care. If you have IBS symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation, Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has effective treatments for you. The gastroenterology team, including John Brandt, MD, and J. Steven Mathews, MD, has more than 50 years of experience, and they’re ready to put you on the path to recovery. Call the office or book an appointment online.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Q&A

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a bowel function disorder in which you experience a variety of bowel problems like constipation, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Symptoms often come and go, so you may not have abnormal bowel movements every day. 

Generally, IBS fits into one of the following categories:

IBS with constipation

If you have IBS with constipation, more than 25% of your stools are hard and/or lumpy, and less than 25% of your stools are loose on the days you have abnormal bowel movements. 

IBS with diarrhea

If you have IBS with diarrhea, more than 25% of your stools are loose, and less than 25% are hard on the days where you have abnormal bowel movements. 

Mixed IBS

If you have mixed IBS, you have both significant (more than 25%) stools with diarrhea and constipation on the days when you have abnormal bowel movements. 

Some irritable bowel syndrome sufferers have bowel movement issues that qualify as IBS but don’t fit squarely into any of these three categories. This is sometimes known as unclassified IBS.

What causes IBS?

At this time, the cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown. Many IBS sufferers have some type of food intolerance, although actual food allergies aren’t a common cause. 

Experts know that IBS sufferers often have increased intestinal sensitivity levels. Abnormal motility within the bowels contributes as well. 

Neurotransmitter malfunction, bacterial overgrowth in the gut, and many other factors could potentially contribute. Ultimately, specialists approach IBS treatment by relieving symptoms since the true underlying cause isn't definitively known.

How do you treat irritable bowel syndrome?

IBS treatment is a team effort. The Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center team helps you implement lifestyle changes such as:

  • Limiting gas-producing foods like lactose, beans, fructose, and broccoli
  • Eating slowly 
  • Avoiding carbonated beverages
  • Avoiding sorbitol and mannitol sugar substitutes
  • Increasing fiber intake
  • Adopting behavioral therapies, like relaxation exercises

Often, these changes can significantly reduce or relieve your symptoms. Your specialist may also prescribe medication to relieve your IBS symptoms.

A very wide range of medications could potentially help with IBS, depending on your particular symptoms and situation. Drugs can include supplemental probiotics, antidiarrheal drugs, antibiotics, antidepressants, opioid receptors, antispasmodics, and many others.

The Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center team has extensive experience in successfully treating irritable bowel syndrome, so don’t wait to find relief. Call the office or use the online scheduler to book an appointment.