Digestive issues are something that most people prefer not to talk about. However, it is important to raise awareness about all medical conditions associated with digestive health.
Such is the purpose of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) awareness month – an event that runs through the month of April and one that is designed to raise awareness about a condition that affects more than one out of every ten American adults.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS for short, is a chronic condition affecting the large intestine. Common symptoms of IBS include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
IBS can sometimes develop after a severe case of diarrhea brought on by a viral or bacterial infection. Stress in early life is another factor thought to be associated with IBS, as studies have shown those who experience traumatic events when they are young are more likely to develop IBS later in life. Other risk factors of IBS include:
- Age: Adults under the age of 50 are more likely to develop IBS than any other age group.
- Sex: Females are more likely to develop IBS than males. Estrogen therapy before or after menopause is another factor that can lead to IBS and another reason why the condition is more common among females.
- Genetics: It is unknown whether or not IBS is an inherited condition. However, it is thought that genetics can play a role in determining how at-risk an individual is for developing IBS.
- Mental Health: Stress, anxiety, and depression are all risk factors for IBS, with childhood trauma leading to these mental health conditions thought to be an especially impactful risk factor.
How is IBS Treated?
IBS is a chronic condition, meaning tends to be a lifelong problem that varies in severity over time. Unfortunately, there is also no known cure for IBS. While IBS might be both chronic and incurable, the good news is that the condition can be treated so that its symptoms are mitigated.
The treatments for IBS are divided into three categories: self-care, medication, and therapy. Starting with self-care, practices such as maintaining a high-fiber diet, getting plenty of exercise, and managing stress can all help reduce the symptoms of IBS. Medications such as antispasmodic and antidiarrheal medications can also be used to effectively treat IBS symptoms. Lastly, therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to mitigate stress and thus, in some cases, alleviate IBS symptoms.
The Importance of IBS Awareness Month
IBS is a condition that affects approximately 12% of adults in the United States. Sadly, far too many of those suffering from IBS are unaware that effective treatments for their condition exist. In fact, many people with IBS might not even realize that they have the condition in the first place if their symptoms are never diagnosed.
It is for this reason that we at Bikham Healthcare feel that IBS awareness month is an event worth shining a spotlight on. While IBS might not be as serious as most conditions that are given their own awareness month, it is still a condition that deserves attention. By raising awareness about IBS and the treatments for it, it is our hope that more people who are suffering from this condition will seek out the help that they need.
Along with promoting important causes such as IBS awareness month, we at Bikham Healthcare are also committed to helping patients all over the country by assisting the physicians that they rely on via industry-leading healthcare services such as provider enrollment, provider credentialing, and revenue cycle management. By taking on these administrative burdens, we free up healthcare providers to spend more time caring for their patients and growing their practice.
To learn more about how Bikham Healthcare can help shoulder your administrative responsibilities so that you are able to focus on providing the best possible care to your patients, be sure to contact us today!