Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Specialist in Merced, CA
Dr. Alfred B Johnson MD specializes in digestive diseases including evaluation and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. For more information, call us or schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located at 240 East 13th Street Merced, CA 95341.
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common condition; in the United States, almost half of people who experience digestive problems are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The symptoms include chronic or recurring abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and changes in bowel habits, among others. While IBS is common in adults, this condition also affects children; IBS is the second most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal disease in children.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic digestive condition that causes frequent, sometimes urgent, bowel movements. Some people have IBS symptoms only occasionally, but if IBS occurs regularly or is accompanied by abdominal pain, it requires medical care. Affecting an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the adult population, IBS is the most commonly diagnosed disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. Because its symptoms are similar to other gastrointestinal disorders, IBS can sometimes be mistaken for another condition. The symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and a feeling of fullness or stomach pain between meals.
While the exact cause of IBS is not well-understood, several factors appear to play a role in its development, including:
• Muscle Contractions in the Intestine — The layers of muscle lining the walls of the intestines contract to move food through the digestive tract. Strong and long-lasting contractions can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea, whereas weak intestinal contractions can slow the passage of food, potentially leading to hard, dry stools.
• Nervous System Abnormalities — If the nerves in the digestive system are abnormal, irregular, or damaged, it may cause greater than normal discomfort when the abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Miscommunication of nerve signals between the brain and the intestines can cause the body to overreact to normal changes in the digestive process, resulting in pain, diarrhea, or constipation.
• Severe Infection — IBS might also be associated with a surplus of bacteria in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth) and can develop after a severe case of gastroenteritis caused by bacteria or a virus.
• Early Life Stress — People tend to have more symptoms of IBS when they are exposed to stressful events, especially in childhood.
• Changes in Gut Microbes — Bacteria, fungi, and viruses normally reside in the intestines and play a key role in health; some studies have shown that the microbes in people with IBS might differ from those in healthy people.
While IBS is not considered a life-threatening condition, it can pose serious complications if left untreated, including:
• Pain and Discomfort — IBS can cause pain or discomfort, especially if it goes on for long periods.
• Bloating — A common symptom associated with IBS with constipation (IBS-C) is bloating, where the bowel becomes blocked up, allowing the bacteria within the gut to continue to ferment.
• Hemorrhoids — Also known as piles, hemorrhoids are commonly associated with IBS; if the underlying condition is not properly managed, hemorrhoids can be uncomfortable and could risk getting worse as time goes on.
• Diverticulitis — In some cases, IBS can contribute to other issues, such as diverticulitis; this can arise if the bowels bulge as a result of the backlog of waste.
Doctors who specialize in IBS issues are known as gastroenterologists or gastro surgeons. These professionals receive advanced training and specialized knowledge in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of gastrointestinal disorders, including IBS.
Alfred B Johnson MD is dedicated to providing you with all of your irritable bowel syndrome needs. Call us or schedule an appointment with our IBS specialist, or visit our clinic conveniently located at 240 East 13th Street Merced, CA 95341. We look forward to serving you! We serve patients from Merced CA, Atwater CA, Winton CA, Bear Creek CA, Planada CA, Le Grand CA, and Athlone CA.