Irritable Bowel Syndrome

George M Halow, MD, PA -  - Gastroenterologist

George M Halow, MD, PA

Gastroenterologist & Nutrition Specialist located in El Paso, TX

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause abdominal pain, cramping, and issues with constipation and diarrhea. For chronic IBS symptoms, see experienced gastroenterologist George Halow, MD, PA, in El Paso, Texas. Dr. Halow offers personalized and detailed solutions to relieve your IBS symptoms and help you feel more comfortable and confident. To schedule a visit, call or book an appointment online today.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Q & A

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder -- sometimes called a disorder of gut-brain interactions -- that causes a specific group of symptoms. When you experience IBS or other conditions that disrupt normal gut-brain interactions, your gut becomes more sensitive and your brain changes the way the muscles in your gut contract and relax.

What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

The first signs of IBS include pain in your abdomen and changes to your bowel habits with an increase in constipation, diarrhea, or both. Other symptoms of IBS include:

  • Bloating
  • Feeling like you haven’t finished a bowel movement
  • Whitish mucus in your stools
  • Women may experience an increase in symptoms during their menstrual periods

There are three types of IBS, which are categorized based on the patterns of your symptoms. These types include IBS with constipation, IBS with diarrhea, and IBS with mixed bowel habits.

What causes irritable bowel syndrome?

The exact cause of IBS is unknown, though doctors suspect a combination of factors trigger IBS. Dr. Halow understands that every person is unique and their symptoms and IBS triggers may be different from others.

Possible problems that can trigger IBS symptoms include:

  • Stressful or difficult early-life events, such as physical or sexual abuse
  • Certain mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • Bacterial infections in the digestive tract
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Food intolerances or sensitivities

Genetics may also play a role in some cases of IBS.

How is irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed?

In order to diagnose IBS, Dr. Halow discusses your symptoms with you, aiming to identify a pattern or triggers that may flare up your condition. Since IBS is a chronic condition, you may experience periods where your symptoms increase or decrease, depending on your lifestyle, stress level, and other factors.

How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?

Dr. Halow uses a wide variety of treatment approaches to alleviate IBS symptoms, including:

  • Nutritional counseling
  • Lifestyle recommendations, including reducing stress and getting enough sleep
  • Medications for constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain
  • Probiotics
  • Mental health therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or relaxation training

Dr. Halow may recommend one or more of these therapies based on your symptoms. It may take some time before you find the right combination of treatments to address your symptoms successfully.

Set up a consultation to discuss your IBS symptoms with Dr. Halow now by calling the office or booking an appointment online.

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