Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Shahla Rah, MD, FACG

Gastroenterologist located in Newport Beach, CA

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects as many as 55 million Americans and causes abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. Many people who suffer from IBS find the symptoms disruptive to their everyday life. Experienced and compassionate board-certified gastroenterologist, Shahla Rah, MD, FACG, with an office in Newport Beach, California, works closely with you to develop a treatment plan to manage your IBS to improve your quality of life. To schedule an appointment, call the office nearest you or click the online booking button.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is a condition characterized by abdominal pain and changes in bowel function that may cause diarrhea and/or constipation. IBS is considered a functional gastrointestinal disorder, which means that the symptoms caused by IBS don’t impair or injure your digestive system. 

IBS isn’t life-threatening and doesn’t cause or increase your risk of other digestive conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. However, IBS can be a chronic problem that impairs your quality of life.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

Your IBS symptoms vary in both type and severity. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Urgency

IBS doesn’t always affect the digestive tract. Some people with IBS experience urinary symptoms or sexual problems. If you suffer from IBS, you may notice that your symptoms worsen with stress.

What causes IBS?

Despite being identified over 200 years ago, doctors aren’t certain what causes IBS. It’s been theorized that people with IBS have altered bowel motility or that the colon may be more sensitive to mild stimulation. It’s also been recently suggested that an imbalance in your gut microbiome may play a role in your IBS symptoms.

While the exact cause is still being investigated, IBS is often triggered by certain foods, medications, and emotional stress. The presence of gas and stool in the colon may also trigger symptoms. 

How is IBS diagnosed?

No one test can diagnose IBS. Dr. Rah conducts a comprehensive evaluation to better understand your symptoms and health concerns. To rule out other causes of your symptoms, she may request diagnostic tests, such as a colonoscopy, endoscopy, X-rays, or blood work. 

What are the treatments for IBS?

Dr. Rah takes a collaborative approach to the treatment of IBS, working closely with you to develop a plan that relieves your symptoms. No single treatment works for everyone and it may take some time to find the right combination of treatments to help you get relief from your IBS symptoms. 

Dr. Rah may suggest you add a probiotic to your daily regimen to improve gut flora. She can also talk to you about the FODMAP diet. 

FODMAP foods are carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and cause gas and abdominal pain. Some people with IBS are sensitive to one or more of the FODMAP foods. Finding and eliminating foods that trigger symptoms may significantly improve your IBS.

Dr Rah has been part of the investigation of some new medications used for the specific treatment of IBS with diarrhea or constipation. When general measures and diet fails she will start you on these specific medications to get you relief.

For expert management of your IBS from a physician who takes a whole-person approach to care, contact Shahla Rah, MD, FACG, by calling the nearest office location or using the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.