default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

You’re Not Alone - A Doctor’s Take on Common Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2013 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:33 am, Mon Dec 9, 2013.

(StatePoint) Frequent and bothersome gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are more common than you may think. While estimates may vary, five percent to 15 percent of adults in the United States may be affected by chronic GI conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) or chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC).

This could mean as many as 13 million adults may suffer from IBS-C, and as many as 35 million adults may suffer from CIC.

According to a survey, the majority of adults with these conditions may experience disruptive symptoms three to five days per month. Recurring abdominal pain and constipation, including hard stools, and infrequent and incomplete bowel movements, may indicate IBS with constipation or, if you have these symptoms with little to no abdominal pain, chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). Adults report that these symptoms impact their daily activities.

Research also shows that only 40 to 50 percent of these sufferers plan to talk to their physician about their GI symptoms within the next year. Experts say that part of the problem is patients are uncomfortable discussing the specific symptoms of IBS-C or CIC.  

“Patients often get embarrassed talking about their bathroom habits with a physician,” says Dr. Steven Lamm, internist and author of “No Guts, No Glory.” “There is no need to feel self-conscious.”

You are not alone. Dr. Lamm recommends preparing for your appointment ahead of time to ensure a more effective conversation. Be ready to discuss the following with your doctor:

• Do you feel abdominal pain?

• How often do you experience hard stools associated with constipation?

• Do you have fewer than three bowel movements a week?

• Are your bowel movements satisfactory; with a sense of complete evacuation?

• How long have you experienced these symptoms (a week, a month, more)?

• How frequently do you experience these symptoms?

• What have you tried to relieve symptoms (drinking more water, taking fiber or laxatives, increasing exercise)?

• Do your symptoms keep coming back?

• Has your life been disrupted due to your symptoms?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for these conditions, but there are ways to help manage symptoms, including dietary and lifestyle changes and taking laxatives. Also, keeping a symptom diary may help identify triggers that exacerbate symptoms.

Keep in mind, over-the-counter laxatives and stool softeners may help with occasional constipation, but they are not approved for long-term use without physician supervision and are not approved for IBS-C. If you are a candidate, a physician may prescribe FDA-approved medications for these conditions.

With open and clear communication between patient and doctor, managing bothersome symptoms may be possible.

Photo Credit: (c) Lars Zahner - Fotolia.com

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Featured Events


Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists