Wednesday, 05 Jun 2013 03:36 PM
By John Bachman and Donna Scaglione
The good news is that in general the medical community no longer believes these conditions are “all in your head,” understands their biology and physiology better, and is paying more attention to patients’ complaints, Dr. Lamm tells Newsmax Health.
“We’re talking about 50 million people so you better start paying attention,” he says. “There’s a lot of people out there whose lives are really affected. If you have this condition you may not want to leave your house in the morning … It doesn’t cause cancer and it’s not cancer, [but] it is still quite disabling.”
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Dr. Lamm is referring to two specific conditions — chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although both disorders afflict men and women, more women suffer from them. IBS is a complex functional gastrointestinal disorder that presents with either constipation or diarrhea, or alternates between both. It also causes pain. Patients may first ignore their symptoms or blame stress and simply live with it, according to Dr. Lamm.
CIC involves infrequent or inadequate bowel evacuations. Sufferers take laxatives and often become dependent on them. Some also get frustrated and give up on trying to improve their condition, which severely impacts their lifestyle, Dr. Lamm says.
“The whole idea is we do not want you to live a life of quiet desperation anymore,” he says. “If you have a problem with your gut, it’s not working one way or the other, get it diagnosed, get it treated, and go on with your life.”
Today, changes in diet and lifestyle, as well as new drugs like Linzess, which was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, are making a difference in people’s lives. But it is critical that sufferers see their doctors to have frank, detailed discussions about what they have been experiencing, even though that may be embarrassing.
“Explain to them how long you’ve had it , what brings it on, what makes you feel better, what can be done about it,” he says. “And I’m telling you, lifestyle, nutritional changes, sleeping better, exercise, [and] some of these pharmaceuticals can really, really make a difference.”
Avoiding certain foods and ingredients, including alcohol, dairy, fructose, and gluten, also can cut down on symptoms, he says.
“There are just a lot of food additives that are really the culprits in inducing excessive spasm and pain,” he says.
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