Irritable Bowel Syndrome

NY Gastroenterology & Digestive Disorders

Stuart I. Finkel, MD

Board Certified Gastroenterologist & Internist located in Upper East Side, New York, NY

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of your colon or large intestine that can cause pain in the abdomen, excessive gas, diarrhea or constipation. Stuart Finkel, MD, of NY Gastroenterological & Digestive Disorders in Upper East Side, New York City, help you address the more serious symptoms of IBS and answer any questions you may have. This chronic condition can last weeks or months but does not usually become serious enough to require medical attention. Still, it’s unpleasant symptoms can make it difficult to manage, so understanding it’s causes and triggers is important. Call or schedule an appointment online today to learn more.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Q & A

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

IBS is a chronic disorder in your large intestine that can last for weeks or months on end and cause abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, or constipation.

A diagnosis of IBS can be both good news and bad news. The bad news is obvious: the symptoms are extremely unpleasant, and feeling like you always need to be near a bathroom can deeply affect your quality of life.

The good news is that while it may difficult to live with, IBS is not caused by an injury or damage to the intestines, nor can it cause colon cancer or other gastrointestinal disorders.

What causes IBS?

The exact causes of IBS are unclear as it can result from a number of sources simultaneously. It’s possible that there’s an abnormality in the way your nervous system processes pain from gas or bowel movements that cause discomfort, frequent diarrhea, and constipation. It could also be due to abnormalities in the way your muscles along your colon contract, infection or inflammation to the tissue of the colon, or changes in the bacteria that it contains.

What can trigger IBS?

High-stress levels or hormonal changes like menstruation or menopause can trigger or worsen IBS, but the biggest factor in triggering irritable bowel syndrome is your diet. Some foods or beverages can cause constipation if you have IBS, including:

  • Non-whole grain bread or cereal
  • Processed foods
  • Carbonated sodas
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Excessive protein or red meat
  • Cheese and other dairy products

On the other hand, the following foods and beverages may cause diarrhea if you have IBS:

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Fructose, the sugar found in fruit
  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Dairy products

You may have noticed some things like alcohol appear on both lists, and therefore should be especially avoided.

What should I eat to manage my IBS?

It’s best to eat moderately sized meals and try to get your daily recommended amount of fiber. Avoiding spicy foods or anything served very hot or very cold can also help.

If you have excess gas, avoiding gassy foods like beans and brussel sprouts can help. Dr. Finkel can help create a more personalized diet plan or answer any questions you have about specific foods.

When should I see a doctor for IBS?

IBS can be too serious for you to manage on your own, which is when you should schedule a consultation with Dr. Finkel. Signs of more serious IBS can include:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea that keeps you up at night
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Anemia (iron deficiency)
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent pain, even after passing gas or bowel movements

If you think you may have irritable bowel syndrome, or just have some questions and would like to discuss them with an expert, call the office or schedule an appointment to see Dr. Finkel online today.