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MD Magazine: What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

MD Magazine recently published a video and a transcript from an interview featuring a team of experts on Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. The panel interview, Expert Perspectives on Diagnosis and Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, was moderated by Mark Pimentel, MD, director of the Medically Associated Science and Technology Program at Cedars-Sinai. Pimentel interviewed four experts in the field, including Cedars-Sinai’s Brennan Spiegel, MD, director of Health Services Research, and Ali Rezaie, MD, medical director of GI Motility.

As Pimentel explained, IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder affecting an estimated one in six people in the United States. Symptoms for the disease vary and can be mild or severe.

“IBS is a long-term condition,” Pimentel told viewers. “So, symptoms may come and go, and change over time.”

The expert panel discussed several other topics on IBS, including the causes, diagnostic workup, management of the disease and emerging therapies in the field.

On their first visits to a gastroenterologist, most patients complain of abdominal pain, or cramping in their bellies as well as abdominal bloating. IBS patients also experience changes in bowel habits, ranging from constipation to diahrea. 

When diagnosing IBS, Spiegel said, doctors should be looking “for people who have recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort, with abnormalities in stool frequency or form.”

Spiegel also cautioned doctors to rule out other illnesses. 

“Make sure they aren’t losing weight without trying and aren’t passing blood in their stool,” said Spiegel. “These are signs that we call alarm signs, which would suggest maybe another diagnosis before we’re willing to make a diagnosis of IBS.”

Click here to watch the complete MD Magazine interview and read the transcript.  

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Is It IBS or IBD?