IRRITABLE BOWEL: SMART TREATMENT

By on June 1, 2011

By Dr. Patricia Raymond –

Does IBS matter?  If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts. ~Albert Einstein

Previously thought to be a psychiatrically mediated condition, IBS was overlooked in research into cause and management options. However, we’ve discovered that IBS results in an estimated $8 billion in direct medical costs annually, with IBSers incurring 74% more direct health care costs than non-IBS sufferers, and IBS patients having more physician visits for both GI and non-GI complaints.

The IBS in American Women Survey of 1999 revealed some startling facts about our aggressive quest for treatments for women suffering from IBS—we remove their organs until they go away. The study revealed that women with IBS reported 71% more abdominal or intestinal surgeries than women without IBS (58% vs 34%). The rates of reported gallbladder operations, hysterectomies, and appendectomies were twice as high or higher among women with IBS. Yeow.

In addition, women with IBS were more likely to leave the labor force and likely to turn promotions due to symptoms related to IBS. Rather than a glass ceiling, a significant portion of our population has been held back by an IBS ceiling.

Are the ‘Rome Criteria’ reliable for diagnosis of IBS?  If A equals success, then the formula is: A=X+Y+Z.  X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut. ~Albert Einstein

Really, that simple vacation veracity does show durability. Studies up to 15 years after the initial diagnosis based on Rome Criteria show that less than 1% end up re-diagnosed with an alternate disorder. Some basic testing should be done in all who may have IBS based on the Rome Criteria: Thyroid testing, stool tests for those with diarrhea, and testing for celiac disease. Age appropriate colon cancer screening should be performed as well, as the diagnosis of IBS does not prevent the average lifetime risk of that very preventable cancer.

Do not keep your mouth shut should you experience what we call a red flag symptom. These symptoms warrant a more extensive evaluation, whatever your age: Fever, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, severe constipation, or unexplained weight loss.

Gastroenterologist Patricia Raymond takes medicine seriously . . . and herself lightly. The founder of Your Health Choice and Rx For Sanity, known nationally as ‘The Divine Ms. Butt Meddler’ for her efforts to reduce the screening colonoscopy ‘ick’ factor, her speeches, articles, book, and broadcasts humorously help folks make the small choices that lead to big health.

About Patricia Raymond

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IRRITABLE BOWEL: SMART TREATMENT