ZocdocAnswersWhat is irritable bowl disease?

Question

What is irritable bowl disease?

Hi, just a few questions relating to my main one. What is IBD? Is it contagious? Hereditary? What are the risks from it? Can it be cared for in any way? Thank you!

Answer

I recommend that you speak with a gastroenterologist about this. Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition that results in abdominal pain that waxes and wanes and has accompanying intermittent diarrhea or constipation and sometimes nausea. The symptom that most defines IBS is that gets worse and worse leading up to having a bowel movement and is immediately relieved by having a bowel movement. Patients will also complain that the diarrhea they have will quickly turn into constipation for no reason at all. Nothing is usually found on CT scan or colonoscopy to explain the symptoms. For that reason, this is usually a diagnosis of exclusion. Most patients will of undergone many many diagnostic tests prior to receiving this diagnosis. We don't know exactly why people develop irritable bowel syndrome, but we do know that it involves an abnormal pain sensation to normal intestinal motility. The treatment for IBS starts with dietary change with finding a diet that does not instigate the symptoms. Medications can also be tried including the tricyclic antidepressants which is a class of medications they can soothe the pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome. The best type of physician for you to see about this problem is a gastroenterologist. He or she will know what diagnostic testing this be done to rule out other conditions other than IBS.

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