It may be tempting to self diagnose your stomach troubles. A lot of stomach and digestive related issues are identified by the same symptoms—pain and discomfort, abdominal bloating, and diarrhea or constipation. Many people go straight for the over the counter remedies and try to self medicate, but if these symptoms persist, it is important to consult with a doctor to get to the root of your problems and work toward a proper treatment plan. Dr. Sameer Islam specializes in determining what is getting you down and how to get you back up and running again. Some of the common stomach problems that we treat include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Although the terms seem similar and may cause confusion, the underlying conditions are very different. It is important that we educate our patients on the difference between the two conditions and their treatment paths.
What Makes Them Similar? What Makes Them Different?
In the beginning, IBS and IBD may seem very similar. They both present with common symptoms, but the underlying cause and severity may be very different. IBD tends to produce more intense and focused stomach pain. Nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills are more likely to be associated with IBD, as well as unexplained weight loss. The main difference is that IBD is a structural disease, meaning there is actual physical damage done to your digestive system. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common examples. IBS is called a functional condition. It’s typically diagnosed based on symptoms, meaning that tests and diagnostics won’t show a physical explanation. It is important to note that no physical cause does not mean that you are “imagining” they problems. Dr. Islam regularly diagnoses IBS and works with patients to manage their symptoms.
I have a diagnosis – What’s next?
There is no known cure for either disease. IBS is typically treated with a change in diet and lifestyle. There is no specific diet that will work for everyone, which is why it is important to keep track of what you’re eating and if certain foods trigger your symptoms. Many find relief when they eliminate high fat foods, caffeine, gas producing foods, insoluble fibers, and gluten. IBD treatment will differ based on the type of disease that is diagnosed. There are prescription medications available that help reduce the inflammation, which is the cause of the symptoms, and may result in remission. Because of the chronic and serious nature of IBD, it is important to have regular oversight by a gastroenterologist.
If you have been suffering from bowel pain or discomfort for an extended period, it’s time to visit Dr. Islam to determine what the cause is and how we can help.