Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition suffered by millions of Americans, causing an oversensitivity in the intestinal tract triggering abdominal and bowel discomfort. And many Americans are unaware they have it, instead writing off their intestinal issues as just, “something I ate.”
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Symptoms can vary dramatically from person to person, but the most common symptoms include:
Stomach pain, a complaint that sends more than 12 million Americans to emergency rooms nationwide, is also the most commonly reported symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Sufferers of IBS frequently experience pain across the lower abdomen or on the lower left side.
Gas and Bloating
Everyone experiences occasional bloating or gas, but chronic, particularly sour-smelling gas could be a symptom of IBS. Often caused by gas, bloating can cause a general sensation of discomfort, hardness, fullness, or even noticeable swelling of the abdomen.
Diarrhea, Constipation, or Alternating Between the Two
If you experience diarrhea one day and find yourself constipated the next, your body may be telling you something. Inconsistency in bowel movement activity can be a red flag for IBS.
Causes of IBS
While bouts of IBS can be triggered by such things as poor diet choices and stress, the underlying cause of irritable bowel syndrome remains unknown. What is known, however, is that IBS is prolific, affecting as many as one person in five.
To ensure the most effective course of treatment, it’s important to get the most accurate diagnosis. And because IBS symptoms can vary from person to person, it’s vital to get a comprehensive understanding of what you are experiencing. Remember, your IBS is unique to you.
Diagnostic imaging can play a significant role in your diagnosis and treatment.
Magnetic Resonance Enterography (MRE)
MRE is a non-invasive, accurate, and advanced diagnostic imaging test used to evaluate gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. MRE is a radiation-free technique. It uses radio waves in conjunction with a magnetic field to create accurate images of tissues and organs within your body, just like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Those images are then used for diagnostic purposes.
Computed Tomography (CT) Colonography is another diagnostic tool helping physicians understand IBS. Computed Tomography is often called a CAT scan or sometimes a CT scan; while a CT colonography is sometimes referred to as a ‘virtual’ colonoscopy. And just like a CT scan, a CT colonography captures and produces multiple images of from inside the body, focusing on the large intestine (colon). Although it’s not entirely radiation-free, it does use low-dose radiation to get a clear view of the large intestine. The only other way doctors have to get imaging of the large intestine is by a traditional colonoscopy, a much more invasive procedure. Unlike a CT colonography, a colonoscopy requires a scope to be inserted into the rectum and then moved through the entire colon. Many patients require anesthesia when undergoing a colonoscopy, but sedation is not necessary for a CT colonography.
After a thorough evaluation and diagnosis, creation of an individualized treatment program can begin. Your medical team will develop a plan of action that will:
- improve your specific symptoms of IBS (for example, reducing or eliminating abdominal discomfort and pain, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea);
- lessen the need for surgeries and risky diagnostic procedures by preventing IBS-related complications; and
- improve your overall quality of life by reducing the impact of IBS.
If you are experiencing abdominal discomfort or think you may be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, call the IBS diagnostic specialists at Southtowns Radiology and book your appointment today. Why suffer any longer?