Ask the Doctor
Get your health and medical related questions answered by a professional.
My doctor says I have IBS…now what?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects 10 to 15 percent of adults and teens and is characterized by abdominal pain ~one time per week for the last three months and associated with at least two of the following–related to defecation: change in bowel habits or a change in stool formation. We have all heard about food triggers, and that is true…but what diet has the best outcome for IBS? What else can we do?
A low FODMAP diet (diet low in fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols) has been known to improve IBS symptoms more than just avoiding the gaseous foods (beans, onions, celery, carrots, raisins, bananas, apricots, prunes, brussels sprouts, wheat germ, pretzels, and bagels), alcohol, and caffeine.
There are numerous medications known to help. These range from anti-diarrheal medications, to osmotic agents (for those with constipation) and some work on different receptors in the gut. Stress is a known trigger for IBS and so I often start to address stress management with my patients.
Talking with your doctor can certainly personalize these various therapies into something that works for you so that you aren’t held prisoner by your GI tract!
Most sports programs ask parents to sign a concussion form. If my child gets a concussion, what do I need to look for?
Concussions, no matter how mild, are brain injuries. We absolutely need to take these seriously and evaluate an individual when we think they have suffered one. Basically, they have to prove to me that they don’t have a concussion. There are various signs of a concussion. Some of these include:
- Self-limited vomiting occurring soon after the injury
- Unsteadiness with standing or walking
- Feeling mentally slow or foggy
- Difficulty remembering events either before or after the trauma
- Trouble with concentration
- Disturbance of sleep (eg, drowsiness while awake, sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty falling asleep)
- Emotional changes, such as emotional lability, irritability, sadness or nervousness
If these occur, then please see your physician. They will want to get a detailed history (they may or may not get imaging of your brain) and a physical exam. You will need to go slowly and have supervision as you return to playing your sport. We only have one brain…don’t push it too much and let it heal!
Do I have to have a colonoscopy?
Well, that depends…have you had polyps (abnormal tissue growth on a mucous membrane) in the past? Then yes–that is the gold standard because we can take them out if we see them again. So in this case, it is used as a screening and an interventional procedure.
If you have no family history and no history of polyps, then you may be eligible for other tests like: Cologuard (which detects the DNA in the stool that is characteristic of colorectal cancer), or FIT (fecal immunochemical testing) which looks for the presence of occult blood. A negative Cologuard test will give you a three year pass, as opposed to the FIT which is performed yearly.
Send your health questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Raye-Anne Ayo, MD, FAAFP, is a mother of 3 boys and a family practice physician for nearly 20 years.