Brochure, Fact Sheet: IBS Questions and Answers101
This in-depth overview of IBS includes information on symptoms, causes, diagnosis, management, and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Written in collaboration by IFFGD and physicians noted for their knowledge about IBS. Newly revised and updated 2013.
Also available offline as a glossy color brochure (3.5" x 8.5"). Contact IFFGD for details.
By: Ira Merkel, MD
Overview of functional diarrhea, including answers to the following questions: What is diarrhea? What are functional bowel disorders? Is functional diarrhea the same as irritable bowel syndrome? What is the cause of functional diarrhea? What treatments are available for functional diarrhea? Revised and updated 2009.Topics: Diarrhea, loose stools
Fact Sheet: The Neurobiology of Stress and Emotions106
We often hear the term “stress” associated with functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many patients experience a worsening of symptoms during times of severely stressful life events. But what is stress? How often does it occur? How does our body respond to stress? This article explores the mechanisms that link stress and emotions to responses that have evolved to ensure survival and that, in the modern world, affect health – including gastrointestinal function.
Fact Sheet: Chlorophyllin: Is it Effective Odor Control?107
Odor is what informs those around you that you have a problem with your bowel or bladder control. It causes a great deal of distress. This was also the case with patients with colostomies before good stoma appliances became available, which was about thirty to thirty-five years ago. Since the output could not be directly controlled, attention was turned to control of the odor. There were several ways in which odor was addressed – changes in diet and medication. The medications used were charcoal in various forms, which is still used commonly today, and a product that is seldom seen today, chlorophyllin.
The gut and the brain develop from the same part of the human embryo. So it is not surprising that the intestinal tract has such a rich nerve supply that it is sometimes referred to as “the little brain.” The gut shares many of the same kinds of nerve endings and chemical transmitters as the brain to which it remains linked through a large nucleus (the locus ceruleus). This collection of nerve cells is partly responsible for controlling anxiety and fear, which explains why these emotions can sometimes be associated with bowel function.
Disorders which have excessive pelvic floor muscle activity as their primary feature are often not recognized and diagnosed by physicians. However, millions of people suffer from such disorders and associated symptoms of disabling pain and disruptions in bowel and bladder control. Unfortunately, individuals with these disorders frequently seek help for many years before receiving any explanation for, or relief from their disturbing symptoms. The purpose of this article is to briefly explain the role of the pelvic floor muscles and some symptoms related to the presence of elevated tension in these muscles, and to describe various treatment options available.Topics: Constipation, difficult to pass stools, Lower Abdominal Pain, Pelvic Pain, Pain Management, Pelvic floor disorders
Biofeedback is a neuromuscular reeducation tool we can use to tell if certain processes in our bodies are working correctly. It is a painless process that uses a computer and a video monitor to display bodily functions that we usually are not aware of. Special sensors measure these functions, which are displayed as sounds we can hear, or as linegraphs we can see on a computer screen. A therapist helps us use this displayed information to modify or change abnormal responses to more normal patterns such as increasing a response, decreasing a response, or learning to coordinate two responses more effectively.Topics: Bowel urgency, CAM, Complementary & Alternative Treatments, Constipation, difficult to pass stools, Diarrhea, loose stools, Incontinence, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Lower Abdominal Pain, Pelvic Pain, Pelvic floor disorders
Fact Sheet: Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy: What to Expect114
Your doctor has suggested that you have a colonoscopy, or perhaps a shorter version called a sigmoidoscopy. For that purpose you are referred to a specialist, usually a gastroenterologist who is specially trained to do the procedure. This article describes what to expect. Reviewed and updated 2009.Topics: Tests, lower GI tract
Fact Sheet: Doctor - Patient Communication116
Functional GI disorders present a special challenge to the doctor-patient interaction for several reasons. First, functional GI disorders are characterized, in most cases, by vague symptoms of variable intensity. Many times, these symptoms involve the most intimate anatomic areas of the body. The sensitivity of these issues can complicate the task for the patient who needs to express them in terms that the physician can interpret to formulate a diagnosis. Secondly, the physician is hampered by the absence of obvious structural lesions that often lessens the likelihood of devising a specific medical intervention that is successful. In some cases, the physician’s own anxiety can be increased by the lack of a symptom complex that leads to well-understood disease entity, such as parasites or lactose intolerance. This deficiency, in turn, often leads both physician and patient to over-investigate the symptoms. So what are the ingredients that comprise successful doctor-patient communication about the functional GI disorders?
Fact Sheet: Evaluation and Treatment of Constipation118
Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States. It afflicts approximately 1 in 6 individuals and is responsible for approximately 2.5 million physician visits each year. More than $400 million is spent annually on over-the-counter laxatives; at least 120 of these products are available. The management of constipation includes patient education about bowel function and diet, behavior modification, drug therapy, and infrequently, surgery. Revised 1/2012
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