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Ibs - A Disease Of It's Own Or Just A Symptom?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 Courtney101

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:03 PM

Hi everyone,

I was just wondering what your thoughts on IBS are? My doctor mentioned it to me, and after doing some basic research on it, I'm not sure I feel like this is a true diagnosis. It seems to me that "Irritable bowel syndrome" is just the name given to a group of symptoms. But I am finding it hard to find anywhere the cause behind the symptoms. Where's the scientific basis behind it?

I don't know, it just kind of seems like perhaps this is the diagnosis they give you when they can't find what's really wrong with you. I could be seeing this entirely wrong, since I'm really not that knowledgeable about it. I'd love to know other people's thoughts.

Thanks,
Courtney
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#2 AlysounRI

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:15 PM

I = I'm
B = Basically
S = Stumped

It's a lazy lump diagnosis for doctors who are not willing to get to the bottom what the symptoms are really indicating.
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Long history of IBS, and stomach/intestinal problems. Low on iron for all of my life.
Low on energy, with aches and pains in my joints and in my whole body for as long as I can remember.
Mostly lactose intolerant for all of my life (except for yoghurt)
Diagnosed in 2003 by naturapath as wheat intolerant. Tried it then fell of the wagon. In Feb. 2010 tried going gluten-free.
Went back to the poison in March, 2010.
Tested negative for celiac in April, 2010 (based on negative biopsy and normal tTG test). IgA tested 30-40 percent higher than normal.
Not going to fight the diagnosis because I refuse to go back to the poison. Happily gluten-free for health reasons as of April 2010, and not looking back.

#3 mushroom

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:16 PM

I think you've hit the nail on the head fair and square. It's a waste basket diagnosis when they can't think of anything else, although a lot of doctors take it very seriously :unsure:
And even precsribe medications for it. To alleviate some of the symptoms without attempting to find the cause :rolleyes: Most of us on here have been diagnosed with IBS at some time in the past.
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"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." - Albert Einstein

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(Mis)diagnosed IBS, fibromyalgia '80's and '90's
Diagnosed psoriatic arthritis 2004
Self-diagnosed gluten intolerant, gluten-free Nov. 2007
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#4 AlysounRI

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:29 PM

And even precsribe medications for it. To alleviate some of the symptoms without attempting to find the cause


I got the "I'm Basically Stumpted" from this board :)

A lot of docs even try to prescribe anti-depressants for it - I suppose they figure it's related to anxiety.
But to prescribe anti-depressants for your stomach/intestinal tract just seems wrong somehow, you know???
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Long history of IBS, and stomach/intestinal problems. Low on iron for all of my life.
Low on energy, with aches and pains in my joints and in my whole body for as long as I can remember.
Mostly lactose intolerant for all of my life (except for yoghurt)
Diagnosed in 2003 by naturapath as wheat intolerant. Tried it then fell of the wagon. In Feb. 2010 tried going gluten-free.
Went back to the poison in March, 2010.
Tested negative for celiac in April, 2010 (based on negative biopsy and normal tTG test). IgA tested 30-40 percent higher than normal.
Not going to fight the diagnosis because I refuse to go back to the poison. Happily gluten-free for health reasons as of April 2010, and not looking back.

#5 WheatChef

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:36 PM

It seems to me that "Irritable bowel syndrome" is just the name given to a group of symptoms.


That is actually the official medical definition of a syndrome. It is nothing more than the grouping of symptoms to which the doctor is not aware of the cause of yet. It's use as a diagnosis is pretty much the hallmark of a lazy/irresponsible doctor. They're basically having you come in, tell them your symptoms and then charging you for the honor of them giving it a name. There is no cause of irritable bowel syndrome, there is no cure, this is because it does not exist. All that there really is to IBS is a matter of semantics, you say the list of symptoms, your doctor says IBS, you're both saying the same thing and are both no where near closer to fixing or even finding the problem.
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Receiving a qualified diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is as useful as a Psychiatrist giving you a diagnosis of "Doesn't Think Right".

#6 Courtney101

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 05:05 PM

I'm so glad that others feel the same way. As for prescribing medications for it, I think that's aweful. It's only masking the symptoms, not treating the cause. Some doctors seem to have no idea.

My dad has always had digestive issues, had all the testing done years ago (including celiac) and everything came back negative. So of course he was told he had IBS and sent home with no real answers. Recently his symptoms have got worse, so he's just had a colonoscopy and endoscopy, and is still waiting for results. But the doctor who did these procedures handed him an IBS info sheet as he left. How reassuring is that?

I'm just worried that I'm going to end up in the same position, but deep down, I know there has to be something else going on. My grandma has also had similar problems all her life. I personally don't see the liklihood that 3 generations could have IBS and nothing else.
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#7 gf_soph

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:09 PM

I was given the IBS "diagnosis" when I had positive gluten blood tests and a negative biopsy. I went gluten free and had great improvements, but still had significant problems. I had more testing recently and was given IBS again, and recommended low dose antidepressants. The dr said it wasn't to reduce anxiety but to improve the signalling within the gut.

I didn't go on them, I went on an elimination diet instead, and was able to have several days with totally normal gut functioning. Now I'm wading through the endless process of food challenges, but I know that there is some combination where I will have a totally normal digestive system.

IBS is a description, and I don't need a dr to tell me when I can't digest properly! If a dr was happy with that, I wouldn't go back as they aren't trying hard enough.
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#8 shopgirl

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 05:55 AM

A lot of docs even try to prescribe anti-depressants for it - I suppose they figure it's related to anxiety.
But to prescribe anti-depressants for your stomach/intestinal tract just seems wrong somehow, you know???


I'm not a fan of the IBS diagnosis either. That being said, though, there human gut produces serotonin and the theory is that anti-depressants that block the overproduction of serotonin in the gut — just like the kind in the brain that can cause chemical depression — could calm the IBS reactions. That in itself could be a cause for IBS in some people.

I'm not sure it's totally fair to say all doctors are lazy and pill-happy when they diagnose IBS. Some doctors have exhausted all avenues and there just isn't anything else they can do. It's very possible that the causes just haven't been found yet. The onus in that case is on the scientists and researches, not the physicians and gastroenterologists.

Just a thought.
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"My experience has been that there is, surprisingly, always hope." - Eleven

Positive blood test & endoscopy / Gluten-free 10-07-10 / Dairy-free / Soy-free

#9 Skylark

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 09:21 PM

I agree with Shopgirl, and there is scientific evidence that abnormal gut serotonin signaling causes IBS in some people. The antispasmotics really help some people who seem to have gut motility problems. The big problem comes when doctors don't have the time or the inclination to dig deeper. Is it really only serotonin imbalance, or is there celiac disease, food intolerances, allergies, Crohn's, colitis, or some other underlying cause? I think doctors are too quick to hand out IBS labels and pills but it's partly because our society has pushed for cheap, fast health care and pills.
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