To raise awareness of IBS and encourage patients to work with their
doctors, Abby, an IBS patient, is sharing her personal story in a
new public service announcement (PSA), "Educating Americans about
Living with IBS." The PSA also features Dr. Lauren B. Gerson,
Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford School of Medicine, who
discusses the importance of working with a health care provider to
determine if you have IBS and discuss ways to manage IBS symptoms.
For Abby, it took suffering through a milestone event to motivate
her to see her doctor. From the time she was 22, Abby often felt
uncomfortable, experiencing symptoms of constipation, bloating and
abdominal pain on a regular basis. Initially, she thought the stress
of planning her wedding and moving to a new city was to blame for
her symptoms, but the discomfort lasted well after her big day.
After trying with limited success to manage her symptoms through
lifestyle changes, Abby decided to take control of her life, and
went to her doctor to talk about her symptoms. It was then that Abby
was diagnosed with IBS.
"I had so much bloating, it felt like I had a balloon in my
stomach," says Abby, who suffers from IBS-C, or IBS with
constipation. "With the help of my doctor, I took action and learned
how to manage my symptoms."
Working together, Abby and her doctor came up with a treatment
plan for her. "I want to let other IBS patients know that they are
not alone. They, too, can take the first step to be empowered and
speak to their doctor to discuss ways to manage their symptoms,"
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As many as one in seven people suffer from IBS, and about
three-quarters of patients are not receiving the care they need to
manage their symptoms. There are three main types of IBS; IBS with
constipation (IBS-C), IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) and IBS with mixed
constipation and diarrhea (IBS-M). Common symptoms include abdominal
pain and discomfort, bloating, and changes of bowel habits such as
constipation and/or diarrhea. While there is not a specific test for
the disorder, people who think they might have IBS should consult
their health care provider, who can help to diagnose and develop an
appropriate treatment plan, based on a complete medical history that
includes a careful description of symptoms and a physical
"People who have IBS often experience its symptoms differently,"
explains Dr. Gerson. "Along with changes in bowel habits, some of my
patients might feel pain inside the abdomen. Another patient feels
like she has knots in her belly which is so uncomfortable that she
avoids doing some activities with her family."
Together, Abby and Dr. Gerson provide a glimpse of what it is
like to live with IBS. This is the first PSA dedicated to IBS in 10
years and was developed with the International Foundation for
Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD). IFFGD is a nonprofit
education and research organization devoted to educating, helping
and supporting people affected by GI disorders.
To see the PSA, now airing on TV and radio stations nationwide,
and to learn more about IBS, please visit
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