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Columbus, Ohio 43209-0784
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Stop Suffering From Irritable Bowel Syndrome!
The following information on IBS is a selection from...
If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or one
of the other functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, or suspect that
you might, then this information can help you. Many people with ulcerative colitis
and Crohn's disease, the two forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD),
and many with diverticulosis also have irritable bowel syndrome. If you
have one of these conditions, then this information is for you as well.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a major public health topic and receives
much media attention in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Many
people recognize the acronym "IBS" and terms like "spastic colon," "spastic
colitis," "mucus colitis," and "nervous stomach." You will be hearing more
and more about this common and troublesome condition, as well as about
the other functional GI disorders.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a major public health topic and receives much media attention in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Many people recognize the acronym "IBS" and terms like "spastic colon," "spastic colitis," "mucus colitis," and "nervous stomach." You will be hearing more and more about this common and troublesome condition, as well as about the other functional GI disorders.
WHAT ARE FUNCTIONAL GI DISORDERS?
They are defined as "variable combinations of chronic or recurrent GI
symptoms not explained by structural or biochemical abnormalities." This
means that even after performing blood tests, taking x-rays, and examining
the digestive tract with endoscopes, doctors cannot find a cause. There
are 25 of these disorders, and many people have more than one. Symptoms
can come from nearly all parts of the GI tract.
WHAT IS IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME?
Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common functional GI disorder. The symptoms come from the colon and include abdominal pain and bloating, as well as disturbances in defecation (the process of having a bowel movement). These symptoms are diarrhea, constipation, and diarrhea which alternates with constipation. The stool form (bowel movement) is often altered, being lumpy and hard or loose and watery. Stool passage can be affected with straining at having a bowel movement, urgent need to find a bathroom, or a feeling of not having emptied the rectum. Passage of mucus in the stool is also common. The symptoms can be continuous or intermittent.
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED
Functional GI disorders are very common and affect approximately 35 million people in the United States. They account for 10% of visits to primary care doctors and at least 50% of visits to gastroenterologists. Each year, 2.6 million people seek treatment for symptoms related to functional gastrointestinal disorders, and visits to physicians total 3.5 million. Irritable bowel syndrome affects nearly one out of five people in the United States including children, teenagers, young adults, the middle-aged, and the elderly. The average age of onset of irritable bowel syndrome is between 20 and 29 years of age.
Irritable bowel syndrome is prevalent throughout the world including China, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Scandinavia.
A COST OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
Studies now show that these disorders cost billions of dollars in the United States each year in visits to doctors, diagnostic testing, and treatments. Furthermore, since irritable bowel syndrome is the second leading cause of industrial absenteeism, loss of work days is costly to companies and employers, as well as to people with the disorders.
WHAT CAUSES THESE DISORDERS?
We know that these conditions are not caused by infection, inflammation, or blockage. In fact, evaluation with X-rays, endoscopy, and blood testing usually fails to show any abnormality. But the symptoms are very real! What is causing them?
1. Disturbances of the normal activity and function of the digestive
2. Increased sensitivity to what is happening in the gut and abdomen
3. Gut reaction to "triggers"
4. Problems related to the Brain-Gut Connection
The Mind-Body/Brain-Gut Connection is the key to understanding these disorders and to the healing process, and you will study it throughout the book. There is a powerful "connection" between the mind and the body/gut. Gut sensations reach the brain through the circuitry of nerves in the wall of the intestine, then to the spinal cord, and finally the brain. Transmission is bi-directional: it is a two-way street. The gut affects the brain, and the brain affects the gut.
THE BRAIN-GUT CONNECTION
Psychological Consequences of Having a Functional
THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION: THE "IRRITABLE BODY" AND SOMATIZATION
Just as the GI tract is unusually sensitive and irritable, many people with irritable bowel syndrome and other functional GI disorders seem to have a sensitive "irritable body", or what doctors call "somatization".
As in IBS and other functional GI disorders, these symptoms are associated with normal test results and cannot be explained by any specific disease process. Disturbances in the Mind-Body/Brain-Gut Connection account for much of the trouble.
SOMATIZATION AND THE "IRRITABLE BODY"
THE MIND-BODY/BRAIN-GUT CONNECTION: THE VICIOUS CIRCLE OF STRESS, PSYCHOLOGY, AND SYMPTOMS
The "fight-or-flight" response by the body in response to perceived stress results in an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and metabolism (Chapter 5). With continued or unrelieved stress, the body can become unbalanced and unable to recover, leading to the physical symptoms listed. The emotional responses to these unexplained symptoms and fear of not knowing when the symptoms will start can actually make them worse. A vicious circle of stress, psychology, and symptoms can be established.
HEALING THROUGH THE CONNECTION
You will see how to use your mind to take control and reduce or eliminate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or other functional GI disorders. You can learn to manage the symptoms of the "Irritable Body." You will be able to recognize and manage stress and psychological problems. You will know how to live a healthy lifestyle. Finally, you will appreciate how spirituality can contribute to your healing.
IBS VERSUS COLITIS AND INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE (IBD)
The term "colitis" refers to colon inflammation and should not be used to refer to irritable bowel syndrome, because in IBS the colon is not actually inflamed. However, inflammation is found in several important disorders called inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The two types of IBD are ulcerative colitis, which affects the rectum and colon, and Crohn's disease, which can involve both the colon and the intestine. Nearly 1 million Americans suffer from IBD. Although the treatments for IBS and IBD differ, many people with IBD also have irritable bowel syndrome.
WHAT ABOUT DIVERTICULOSIS?
Diverticulosis is a very common disorder in which pockets develop in the colon because of increased colon spasm and pressure. Although the cause of this process is not really known, many people with diverticulosis have the same symptoms as do those with IBS.
WHY A BOOK ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS?
There have been many new developments in the diagnosis and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and other functional GI disorders. Furthermore, there is an increasing awareness of our abilities to heal by leading a healthy lifestyle and utilizing newer understanding of the Mind-Body/Brain-Gut Connection. As an MD and board-certified gastroenterologist with more than 20 years of experience caring for people with irritable bowel syndrome and other functional GI disorders, I will provide you with the information you need.
Trends toward "managed care" will make it harder for your doctor to spend time with you. In fact, most doctor visits are now limited to 12 minutes or less! This isn't much time for a patient to understand diagnosis and treatment. Also, it is becoming more difficult to gain access to a medical specialist because managed care expects that your primary care physician (family doctor) will be able to handle most problems. The model of interaction between the patient and the primary care physician is shifting so that you, the patient, are given more responsibility in the management of your health care. You will need accurate and reliable information in order to fulfill this responsibility and opportunity. That's where this book will help.
You can learn to be healthy. Accurate information leads to healing and is often more important than medication. You can explore your diagnosis and treatment options in the privacy of your home and on your own time. Then, armed with information and knowledge about your problem, you will be better able to partner with your doctor to heal.
The focused information here on irritable bowel syndrome and other functional GI disorders is integrated with holistic Mind -Body concepts and the latest information on living a healthy lifestyle. The logical 8-step approach can be completed over a 12-week period.
CHANGE: WHY 12 WEEKS?
It will take you 12 weeks to make the necessary changes. Change is not easy, but neither is living with irritable bowel syndrome and the other functional GI disorders. Behavioral psychologists have studied people who have been successful with change. These studies show that it takes about 12 weeks to make the commitment, begin to change behavior, and establish the pattern.
AN 8-STEP PLAN FOR LIVING A HEALTHY LIFE WITH A FUNCTIONAL BOWEL DISORDER OR COLITIS
William B. Salt II, MD