19656 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Talking to Your Doctor About Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

    You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with IBS. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care. For this condition in particular, a good doctor-patient relationship makes a big difference in your quality of life.

    General Tips for Gathering Information

    Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
    • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
    • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
    • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
    • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

    Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

    About the Diagnosis of IBS
    • Have you exhausted the other possible diagnoses?
    • Do you think bacterial overgrowth is worth looking into?
    • Do you think celiac disease is worth looking into?
    About Your Risk of Developing Complications
    • I need to be reassured that this problem is not progressive or a prelude to cancer or other serious condition. Are there symptoms that might indicate IBS is progressing to something more serious?
    About Treatment Options
    • What treatments are available to me?
    • What medications can I try?
      • What benefits and side effects can I expect from these medications?
      • Will any of these medications interact with other supplements or over-the-counter products I'm taking?
      What do you think of alternative treatments for IBS?
      • Biofeedback
      • Hypnosis
      • Behavioral therapy
    About Lifestyle Changes
    • Beyond what I have done to manage my symptoms, have you any further suggestions?
    • Can you refer me to a registered dietitian who can help me with adjusting my diet?
    • Will exercise help my symptoms?
    • Should I tell me family?
    About Outlook
    • Do you know of any clinical trials for IBS?
    • Is there any new research that might make this condition easier to cope with in the future?
    • Can you recommend a support group?

    References

    American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/ . Accessed March 6, 2006.

    Fauci AS, Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine . 14th ed. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2000.

    International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.iffgd.org/ . Accessed March 6, 2006.

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Self Help and Support Group website. Available at: http://www.ibsgroup.org/ . Accessed March 6, 2006.

    Revision Information

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