OTC For IBS: Could You Be Under-Reacting To Your Over-Reactive Gut?

IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, wreaks havoc in the lives of millions of people every year, with many seeking relief from OTC (over-the-counter) remedies. Unfortunately, the cycle of digestive upset goes round and round, with only temporary reprieve from the condition from the remedies sought at local pharmacies and grocery stores. 

Are you constantly reaching for an antacid after meals? Do you need the simulated chocolate laxative to be comfortable every morning? If so, it may be time for a visit to a gastroenterologist rather than the corner convenience store.

Common Complaints Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is somewhat of an umbrella term for a slew of symptoms, ranging from minor discomforts to life-affecting circumstances. They include, though are not limited to:

  • Cramps and pains in the abdomen
  • Upset stomach, leading to acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Changes and/or disruptions in bowel function, from chronic constipation to debilitating diarrhea

These manifestations can lead to disruptions of employment and relationships, since having to run to the bathroom (or at least feeling as if you do) makes normal life very challenging. Any changes or abnormalities in digestive function and feeling that persist may indicate you are dealing with IBS. Also, if you're always reaching for those OTC remedies to solve one ailment or another related to your gut, an official diagnosis is likely to conclude IBS is the culprit.

Typical Causes Of Gut Malfunction

While you may frequently blame the stress in your life for your digestive malaise, the precise cause for any chronic complaints should be reviewed by a gastroenterologist. The movement in your digestive tract is conducted by special muscles, which may not be operating properly and thus causing your IBS.

Infections, both viral and bacterial and often prolonged, might be active in the causation of your intestinal interruptions, too. Sometimes food allergies are mistaken for IBS, with the two having very similar symptoms.

How A Gastroenterologist Can Help You

Because there may be different reasons for your negative gut reactions, a gastroenterologist has different tests to conduct and various routes toward diagnosis. From allergic reactions and intolerance to celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that causes IBS-like reactions in the presence of gluten, these specialists are experts in everything from the point food enters your body to the point it exits.

You may have a structural or functional problem somewhere along the digestive tract in need of specific identification and prescription, be it medical or related to your lifestyle. 

While nobody can blame you for seeking temporary relief from your discomfort with store-bought remedies, it may be time to discover, once and for all, what's really going on with your gut. IBS and similar ailments take too much time and enjoyment out of life, demanding dissolvable tablets, pretty pink liquids, and other concoctions without ever offering permanent relief.

Contact a gastroenterologist to learn more.