Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Monday, Nov 22, 2004

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A missed plane, fender bender, or an argument with your spouse. No matter the reason, the result is often the same - a knot in your stomach. Doctors have known for years that stress can be like a kick in your gut. It's normal. But what's not normal is when, for no apparent reason, your digestive tract acts like it's stressed out all the time. You might get bloated and crampy after you eat and have to run to the bathroom. Or just the opposite might happen. Nothing moves. It's called Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, and one out of ten people have it. Let's go to Mayo Clinic to learn more.

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Every evening, Mark Moga looks forward to his wife Kelly's culinary creations.

"She's definitely a good cook."

But unlike Mark, Kelly doesn't want to eat the fresh veggies and chicken she's preparing. She doesn't even want to sneak a taste because...

"I will get nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, alternating constipation and diarrhea, bloating..."

Kelly has a severe form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. The condition usually comes and goes, but Kelly has struggled with it for three years straight.

"It's been pretty much every day."

Kelly's doctor, Dr. G. Richard Locke, and his colleagues at Mayo Clinic say there's no specific cause for IBS, but it has to do with the way food moves through your digestive tract.

"That movement of food through the gut leads to pain. And then it leads to reflexes which can either slow things down or speed things up."

Doctors also suspect that IBS may be related to a miscommunication between your brain and your digestive tract and Dr. Locke's research shows IBS runs in families. Kelly's mom has it too.

Her case is not as severe. Most people with IBS can manage flare-ups with diet, exercise, medication or counseling, and as Kelly and her doctor work to reduce symptoms, she dreams of the day she can...

"Go out for a pizza or just have a burger and fries."

The day she can share a simple meal with her husband without worrying about how she'll feel afterwards.


Again, most cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are not as severe as Kelly's. The condition is not curable, but most people can manage it and live normal lives. Dr. Locke says if you suspect you might have IBS, talk to your doctor about treatments because you can reduce symptoms. For more information, log onto http://www.medicaledge.org/2004july.html#3

 

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