how do i treat ibs

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This article is titled “Brain imaging to identify physical reasons why IBS symptoms improve with drug-free treatments.”

No doubt that they’ll find that people who feel better have measurable changes in their brain activity.  That would be true for any issue.

But to imply that it is identifying the cause of the problem is misleading. People can treat pain without drugs, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve addressed the cause of the pain. The pain is still a symptom. 

In my opinion the $8.9 million that is being spent could be put to much better use examining the causes of the IBS, not the symptoms. The gut-brain connection that they and others often mention is convenient but it is primarily the gut driving the brain, not the other way around. Stress and anxiety will exacerbate the problem, but they make everything worse,  not just IBS. Something else has to be making the digestive tract weak and therefore susceptible to stress. Focusing on those issues is the key to curing IBS.

-Dr. Stephen Wangen

Excerpt from

“We’re going to look at biological mechanisms that underlie these non-drug treatments, to discover what is going on in the brain that explains treatment benefits achieved by teaching patients specific skills to control and reduce their symptoms,” said Jeffrey M. Lackner, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a project principal investigator. “By using a brain scan to compare brain activity before and after treatment, we expect to get a picture of changes in the brain that correspond to improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms.”

It continues…

“We’re excited about the possibility of providing the first evidence for biological markers that correlate with treatment-induced symptom changes, and developing a better understanding of the mechanism behind IBS,” Lackner said. “Such cutting-edge translational research is going to help foster individualized, specific treatments for patients.”

One treatment developed at UB aims to control symptoms by changing specific thinking patterns and behaviors found to aggravate IBS. Using state-of-the-art brain-imaging methods, UCLA researchers, under the leadership of Emeran Mayer, MD, hope to identify the biological mechanisms underlying their effectiveness. Mayer is a professor of medicine and psychiatry at UCLA, director of the Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and principal investigator of the imaging study.

Scientists believe that IBS symptoms are the result of dysregulation of brain-gut interactions, resulting in abnormal muscle contractions in the gut and heightened sensitivity to painful stimuli.

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Diverticulitis, although not Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), is closely related to IBS.

The real difference is that in diverticulosis doctors can see the damage, thus giving you the impression that they know why you are suffering. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality people suffering from diverticulitis are no better off than those diagnosed with IBS when it comes to providing you with a solution to your problem. And both conditions are treated in the same manner.

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is the diagnosis given to people who develop inflammation as a result of diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is presence of weak pouches in the colon called diverticula. Diverticulosis is generally diagnosed from a colonoscopy or a barium contrast x-ray.

It is estimated that by the age of 70 at least 50% of the American population has developed diverticulosis. Diverticulosis by itself does not cause symptoms, but as a result of it some people will develop diverticulitis and thus pain in the lower abdomen often associated with diarrhea.

What Causes Diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis is generally thought to be caused by excessive pressure in the colon, which may be combined with a weakening of the colon due to age, inflammatory damage, or both. This pressure is likely directly associated with constipation, although many people don’t recognize themselves as having constipation. What many people have come to think of as normal bowel habits may be far from healthy or normal.

The prevailing theory is that a lack of fiber in the diet ultimately leads to the development of weak pouches in the colon. This is basically another way of saying that people don’t eat enough vegetables and don’t have as healthy of a diet as they should. How many other conditions can you think of that are caused by the same problem? Also, like many chronic conditions, the incidence is far higher in western countries than in the rest of the world, and people from other countries who switch to a western diet have a much higher incidence of diverticulosis.