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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
November 2002

Q. I am a 34-year-old female with problems of bloating, belching, feeling full all the time, abdominal pain, and I get a burning sensation in my chest when I lie down. I have found out that I have IBS and digestive problems. Most foods I cannot eat (ex: anything greasy or spicy, gassy vegetables) but just recently, everything else I eat, I have the same symptoms as above again. Tums, Rolaids, Zantac does not work for me. Is there any type of medication I could take to stop the symptoms before they start?

A. I'm sure these symptoms are disturbing. I'm wondering what tests have been done to establish the diagnosis? If these symptoms have been present for some time, common tests would include some basic lab tests, such as a test for the H. Pylori bacteria that causes ulcers, and possibly endoscopy in which a direct look through an instrument is taken of the stomach and esophagus or colon, and possibly x-rays.

These would usually confirm the diagnosis such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Trials of different diets can be helpful, and medication is usually directed at decreasing spasm in the intestine (anti-spasmodics), or decreasing acid in the stomach. Counseling can play a role if there is high stress or anxiety contributing to the problem.



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