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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Suhail Salem, MD -  - Gastroenterology

United Gastroenterologists

Gastroenterology located in Northridge, CA & Encino, CA

When you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), your digestive system doesn’t function normally. You may experience disruptive symptoms, ranging from constipation to excessive gas and diarrhea. If you find that you’re always running to the nearest bathroom or dealing with painful stomach cramps, Suhail Salem, MD, can provide diagnoses and customized treatment at his practice in Northridge and Encino, California. Dr. Salem can identify the root cause of your condition and offer treatment to relieve your symptoms, as well as improve your total body wellness and functionality. Schedule a consultation online or by phone today to learn more.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Q & A

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that disrupts the function of your entire digestive system. It causes a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating and gas
  • Stomach cramping and pain
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

If you have IBS, you experience gastrointestinal distress and pain and will always want to know where the nearest bathroom is located. You may experience fatigue and find that you don’t want to participate in activities or social situations because you’re concerned that your symptoms will flare-up.

IBS shares many symptoms with colitis, a condition caused by inflammation of the bowel and ulcerations. Often, the only way to diagnose the difference is for Dr. Salem to examine your colon. If you have IBS, your colon appears normal, while with colitis scar tissue and ulcerations are present.

What causes IBS?

IBS is a functional disorder where your bowel spasms and either forces waste to move too quickly or slowly. Doctors haven’t identified a specific single cause of the disorder, but there are several theories and potential causes.

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

SIBO is a condition where you have too much gut bacteria in your small intestine, which impairs its function. It causes bloating and irregular bowel movements.

Neurological malfunction

Your brain may not be communicating clearly with your bowel, leading to the spasms that disrupt optimal digestion.

Hormonal imbalances/changes

Hormonal imbalances or changes such as those associated with menstruation or menopause can trigger IBS symptoms. It’s also believed that the hormonal fluctuations associated with stress can cause an IBS flare-up.

Immune system malfunction

Your immune system may respond abnormally to stress or infection in your digestive system.

How is IBS diagnosed and treated?

Dr. Salem diagnoses and treats IBS by performing a physical exam, reviewing your medical history, and ordering tests to eliminate other underlying conditions causing your symptoms. He might also suggest a colonoscopy to look for issues in your colon.

After reaching a diagnosis, Dr. Salem might recommend a variety of treatments to help manage your symptoms. In some cases, you can control IBS by watching your diet, drinking plenty of fluids, getting regular exercise, and practicing stress management techniques. Dr. Salem might also recommend medications designed to manage IBS.

For customized treatment if you have irritable bowel syndrome, call Suhail Salem, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.