Questions to Ask Your Doctor about IBS

Once you've found a satisfactory doctor and established a good working relationship, he or she should educate you about Irritable Bowel Syndrome as a brain-gut disorder and treat it as they would any other chronic disorder, with a focus on managing your symptoms. What can you fairly expect your doctor to do?

1. Acknowledge the pain of IBS

2. Hold an empathetic and non-judgmental point of view

3. Educate and reassure you

4. Set reasonable goals for managing your IBS symptoms

5. Help you, the patient, take responsibility

6. Know his or her limitations and refer you to specialists if necessary

What you cannot expect from your doctor is a surgical or pharmaceutical cure. To date, gut-directed IBS hypnosis is the only treatment researchers have called a "cure" for the brain-gut dysfunction that underlies IBS.

What to ask your doctor about Irritable Bowel Syndrome

1. Do my symptoms truly match those of IBS and the Rome Guidelines?

2. Have you run the diagnostic tests necessary to rule out:

Colon cancer
Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis)
Bowel obstructions
Food allergies
Celiac (a genetic, autoimmune disorder resulting in gluten intolerance)
Bacterial infections
Intestinal parasites
Ovarian cancer

3. What prescription drugs do you recommend for me, and why? What if they don't work? What about side effects?

4. Are there any new medical options for Irritable Bowel Syndrome on the horizon?

5. How should I keep myself informed about current IBS research?

6. Should I schedule a follow-up visit with you? When?

7. What about diet?

8. What about stress management?

9. What about alternative therapies?

10. What types of supplements, fiber or otherwise, do you recommend?

11. Do you know of any Irritable Bowel Syndrome support groups in my area?

12. Can you recommend any good books or literature on the subject?

13. What do you think is the best way to comprehensively manage my symptoms?

Help for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Once you're confident that your physician has properly diagnosed you with IBS, there are several key strategies to successfully managing the disorder:

* Follow the explicit IBS diet guidelines and IBS safe recipes

* Address the underlying brain-gut disorder of IBS with gut-directed hypnotherapy

* Inform yourself with the best-selling and best-reviewed IBS books available

* Find the most helpful IBS supplements for specific symptoms

IBS information excerpted from The First Year: IBS, copyright Heather Van Vorous. BBB Business Review