Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Why Is My IBS Getting Worse?

Wednesday, 23 Jun 2010 10:56 AM


Question: I have suffered with irritable bowel syndrom for many years. A bout usually lasts for one to four months, but my current bout has lasted eight months. I go from moderate to extremely severe diarrhea at all times, even when I am careful about my diet. Is there anything I can take or do to cure or at least reduce this?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
IBS has no known physical cause, but seems to be exacerbated by stress, emotions, and changes in diet. It is characterized by the absence of structural bowel disease, with symptoms that include varying degrees of abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, and diarrhea or constipation. IBS can also be triggered by drugs and may have a hormonal base in some patients.
All patients with IBS deserve a complete bowel workup for structural and motility disorder, and probably all should have at least a baseline colonoscopy with biopsy of bowel wall as indicated.
Red flags for further investigation include weight loss, fatigue, age (over 40), vomiting, rectal bleeding, or fever. Although blood testing is normal with IBS, screening studies that include CBC, CMP, Amylase, Sed rate (ESR), TSH, and urinalysis are important in order to exclude other disorders.
Changes in IBS may reflect other disorders, so be sure to keep your doctors up to date.

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