The Common Myths About IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome, better known as IBS, is an extremely common disorder that is thought to affect a very large number of people in the city of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. The actual number of cases is probably higher than those who have a confirmed diagnosis, because some people are too embarrassed to visit a doctor with a suspected gastrointestinal disorder. Due to the nature of the condition, it is not a topic that will generally be discussed, and this has led to the development of a number of myths regarding IBS. This article looks at some of the most common myths and establishes whether there is any truth behind them.
Myth#1: IBS Only Affects Young Women.
Irritable bowel syndrome is most commonly diagnosed in early adulthood, between the ages of 20 and 30-35. It is more common in women than in men, with approximately twice as many women being diagnosed. However, this does not mean that only young women are affected. In fact, it has been suggested that women are diagnosed more often because they are more willing to see a doctor about their symptoms.
Myth#2: IBS is a Psychosomatic Condition.
Psychosomatic means that the symptoms only exist in the mind of the patient, and it was thought for many years that this was the case for IBS. However, research has shown that this is not the case, although psychology does play a role in the severity of the symptoms. Stress is one of the aspects that can make IBS symptoms much worse.
Myth#3: IBS Diagnosis Means I Can Only Eat Bland Foods.
This is absolutely not the case. No two IBS patients will experience exactly the same symptoms, and they will not have the same causes either. The best course for you to take is to start keeping a detailed food diary. Record what you eat and what symptoms you experience. You will then be able to identify any foods that cause problems for your digestive system so that you can avoid these in the future. However, there is no need for you to stick to bland, flavorless foods all of the time.
Myth#4: IBS is Closely Related to Lactose Intolerance.
These two conditions are not actually linked. Approximately a quarter of the population in the US suffers from lactose intolerance. If IBS and lactose intolerance were related, then IBS patients would have a much higher proportion than this. In actual fact, the figures are the same – approximately a quarter of IBS patients are also lactose intolerant. For the vast majority, however, dairy products should not pose a problem.
Myth#5: IBS is Not Important.
Some people say that because irritable bowel syndrome is not dangerous, it is not an important medical condition. However, it can be extremely painful and distressing to the patients, and for this reason, it is the subject of ongoing research. If you think that you have developed the symptoms of IBS, then you should book an appointment with a colorectal surgeon to have this confirmed, and to find out what treatment options are available to you.
This condition can be evaluated with a specialized breath test that your Los Angeles colorectal specialist can arrange. If there is bacterial overgrowth, a course of antibiotics may significantly improve your symptoms.
These are just a few suggestions for ways that you can try to reduce the symptoms of your irritable bowel syndrome. Your Los Angeles colorectal specialist will be able to give you more information, if you have tried these and they do not lead to an improvement.