If you’ve ever experienced frequent abdominal discomfort or bloating, it may be a sign of a more serious concern.
Affecting approximately one in five people in the United States, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder. Dr. Waqar Qureshi, professor of medicine and clinical chief of gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine, says it’s critical to identify IBS symptoms because there is no one test that diagnoses it.
“There are no X-rays, blood tests or scans that will give you the diagnosis,” Qureshi said. “The diagnosis is based on certain clinical criteria that diagnose IBS with a high degree of certainty.”
Although IBS currently has no cure, Qureshi says it does not lead to cancer or other serious diseases.
Signs and symptoms of IBS
Qureshi recommends visiting your primary care physician or a gastroenterologist if you have been experiencing the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Change in bowel habits
Qureshi says treatment is based on relieving the predominant symptoms and may include smooth muscle relaxants, diet modification, probiotics and pain management. Certain food additives, such as lactose, fructose and polyols can worsen the disorder and should be avoided.
He says maintaining a healthy diet, reducing stress and exercising regularly can also help minimize the effects of IBS.
To make an appointment with a Baylor gastroenterologist, call (713) 798-0950 or request an appointment online.