Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes sudden and unpredictable abdominal pain and changes in your bowel habits that significantly interfere with your everyday activities. Toni Harrison, MD, ABAARM, FAARM, at Incredible Health specializes in cutting-edge diagnostic testing and developing a customized treatment that addresses your individual IBS needs. If you have questions about your symptoms or you’d like to schedule an appointment, click on the online booking tab or call the office in Paradise Valley, Arizona. We are happy to serve our patients in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Phoenix, AZ.
What is IBS?
IBS is a chronic condition that affects your large intestine and causes two symptoms that occur together: abdominal pain and a change in your bowel movements. The type of IBS you have is determined by whether you have diarrhea, constipation, or both.
These are the symptoms associated with the different types of IBS:
IBS with constipation (IBS-C):
- Hard stools
- Difficulty going to the bathroom
- Needing to have a bowel movement but can’t
IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D):
- Loose stools
- Urgent need to go to the bathroom
- Cramping and belly pain
When you have symptoms of both types, your condition is called IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M).
If your symptoms occur more than several times a month, or they’re severe enough to interfere with your daily routine, it’s time to consider seeing Dr. Harrison for help.
What causes IBS?
Although the experts haven’t tied down the exact cause of IBS, they know that these conditions contribute to the problem:
Abnormal muscle contractions
The walls in your large intestine are lined with muscles that contract to move waste out of your body. If these contractions are stronger than normal, you develop gas and diarrhea. When they’re too weak, movement slows down and you have constipation.
Nervous system miscommunication
Some patients have problems in the intestinal nerves that communicate with their brain. As a result, their large intestine becomes hypersensitive, leading to pain and bowel changes.
Many conditions, including ongoing bacterial and viral infections, can lead to inflammation that causes abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Change in gut bacteria
IBS can be triggered when the bad bacteria in your gut outnumber the good bacteria. This type of imbalance occurs for many reasons, such as a diet that’s low in fiber, chronic stress, and antibiotics.
How is IBS diagnosed and treated?
Before developing an individualized treatment plan, Dr. Harrison runs tests to evaluate the health of your digestive tract and to determine the cause of the problem. She frequently performs two tests from Genova Diagnostics:
GI Effects® Comprehensive Stool Profile
This is an advanced stool test that provides information about your digestive function, intestinal inflammation, microbiome, and any presence of parasites.
ONE (Optimal Nutritional Evaluation) FMV™
Using a urine sample, the ONE FMV test analyzes nutritional biomarkers, determining whether you have a deficiency of antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals, or amino acids. It also tests for malabsorption, yeast, energy metabolism, and oxidative stress.
To receive effective treatment for IBS, call Incredible Health or book an appointment online.