Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Online
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that affects the large intestine, also known as the colon. The syndrome is defined as a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, which means the GI tract behaves abnormally. To send food through the intestinal tract, the walls of the intestines contract and relax. When these contractions are abnormally intense or weak, this can lead to diarrhea or constipation.
Unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, IBS does not cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Irritable bowel syndrome has been referred to by a number of different names including IBS colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, nervous colon, and spastic bowel.
The condition is often categorized into one of four categories that take into account stool consistency. Depending on the type of IBS, the treatment differs. These categories are:
- IBS with constipation, or IBS-C: hard or lumpy stools at least 25 percent of the time
- IBS with diarrhea, or IBS-D: loose or watery stools at least 25 percent of the time
- Mixed IBS, or IBS-M: both hard or lumpy stools and loose or watery stools at least 25 percent of the time
During a video consult on Amwell your provider will ask you a series of targeted questions to determine if your symptoms point to irritable bowel syndrome. Then your provider will proceed to determine the best treatment plan for you. Your physician may recommend an in-person examination by a specialist if needed. Your treatment plan is based on the duration and severity of your symptoms and your medical history.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will go over the risks and benefits of the various treatment plans. Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome is different depending on the severity.
Options for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome may include:
- Dietary changes
- Fiber supplements
- Anti-diarrheal medication