Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammation Treatment Sedona AZ
Family Practice, Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
Gastroenterology, Pediatric Gastroenterology
Medical School: Suny-Hlth Sci Ctr At Brooklyn, Coll Of Med, Brooklyn Ny 11203
Graduation Year: 1973
Medical School: Univ Of Ok Coll Of Med, Oklahoma City Ok 73190
Graduation Year: 1978
Medical School: Univ Of Co Sch Of Med, Denver Co 80262
Graduation Year: 1981
Heal Thyself - Spotlight on Irritable Bowel Syndrome
By Kris Wetherbee
Simone Hunter waged a serious battle against irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for the past ten years. “I got cramps, I had painful gas with constipation, and the bloating was terrible,” she says. “Just the thought of being out of the house and away from a bathroom made me tense. I was totally miserable.”
Unfortunately, her treatment only made things worse. “Foods triggered the pain, so I’d avoid eating,” she says. “But then I’d get so hungry that I’d wind up having bigger meals later on, which only brought the symptoms right back.” One doctor said the pain was all in her head—a common response to IBS until recently—so he prescribed an antidepressant and an antianxiety drug. But these only added to her suffering with a range of distressing side effects, including headaches and loss of libido.
At one point she was even put on the oral steroid prednisone—some doctors think IBS has an inflammatory component, which steroids address—but that just made her gain 30 pounds, also without relieving her discomfort. Seeing her swollen image in the mirror sent her self-esteem down the tubes, causing her stress levels to soar, which, in turn, exacerbated her symptoms.
Ten years after Hunter’s stomach trouble began, experts are still in the dark about exactly what causes irritable bowel syndrome and how to cure it. “The only consensus about this condition, among conventional and alternative practitioners, is that there’s no perfect remedy,” says Leo Galland, physician and director of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine, in New York City. For some sufferers, an intestinal infection (parasitic or otherwise) may be the cause, in which case treatment tends to be more effective. But most people wrestling with the condition have a hypersensitive gut for no apparent reason. Symptoms vary from one person to the next (as do the triggers), but they generally include those Hunter had—only in many cases the constipation is accompanied by alternating bouts of diarrhea. As many as one in five Americans are estimated to have IBS, with women outnumbering men three to one.
Doctors prescribe numerous medications to treat IBS, including antacids, laxatives, antidiarrheal or antispasmodic drugs, and yes, antidepressants. But none of these drugs ultimately work that well, Galland says, and as Hunter discovered, they can come with troublesome side effects.
Still, there’s hope, as practitioners have begun zeroing in on the most promising ways to tame IBS. Hunter, in fact, stumbled upon a combination of remedies that appear at the top of many experts’ lists—dietary changes, stress relief, and more recently, hypnotherapy—and that have helped her keep her symptoms in check. Many people also find exercise useful, and a number of supplements and herbs can help as well. As with so many chronic conditions, there’s no real cure—but with trial and error, most people can find a regimen that allows them to keep their condition under control.
“People with IBS ne...
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