Hello Friends. I know it’s June now…but April was a busy month for me…traveling to NYC for 2 events. One event was a very unique and informative event sponsored by Salix Pharmaceuticals; this post is sponsored too…but as always, the opinions in the post are mine.
The event I attended featured, Mark Pimentel, MD, FRCP(C), executive director of the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as well as Ceciel Rooker – executive director of The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), a nonprofit education and research organization that addresses the issues surrounding adult and pediatric gastrointestinal diseases. I have been fortunate over the many years working in GI Nutrition to know both of these great speakers, personally.
Dr. Mark Pimentel kicked off the meeting speaking about the state of the state of IBS, future directions for treatments and a great overview. He truly is a maverick in the field. Mark has worked tirelessly in his research to truly identify the pathomechanism of IBS-D.
A few important facts about IBS:
- There are up to 16 million Americans living with IBS-D.
- IBS affects about twice as many women as men.
- Microbial imbalance has been linked to symptoms of IBS-D.
- IBS is the 7th most common diagnosis by primary care physicians.
- 67% of IBS sufferers experience symptoms for 1+ year before seeing a doctor. (Hello, that needs to change!)
There were a variety of editors, bloggers and influencers asking questions about IBS and some shared their personal stories.
We talked about the term ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’. How using the word syndrome can sometimes marginalize the diagnosis. Add the words “irritable” + “bowel”…. and it’s no wonder people don’t talk about IBS! There are up to 1 billion suffering with IBS globally and in the U.S., up to 75% are undiagnosed! IBS symptoms are unpredictable…the timing of symptoms, the form of the poop and the frequency of needing to use the restroom.
In case you don’t know Dr. Pimentel’s most significant work in the area of IBS include:
- Discovered a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D).
- Developed the first blood test for IBS on the basis of IBS being derived from acute gastroenteritis in some patients.
- Described the association between IBS + SIBO, which had led to the basis of development of therapies targeting the gut microbiome in IBS.
- Identified M. smithii as the primary methane-producing microbe in humans, linked with constipation.
What do you think?
I was introduced to a new website, Let’s Talk 2. This website is an informative resource to help individuals identify common triggers and causes of IBS with diarrhea predominance, as well as provides helpful tips to help patients talk to their doctors more openly about their digestive health. Talking about poop can be an embarrassing topic–but it shouldn’t be.
Believe me, GI doctors and dietitians often love to talk poop! So feel free to open up!
When 2 See a Doctor:
If for at least six months you have abdominal pain that keeps coming back at least 1 day per week in the last 3 months and is associated with loose stool, an urgent need to go, and/or the way your poop looks, it could be irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D).
What 2 Know Before You Go 2 the Doctor:
- Write down your symptoms and triggers.
- Make a list of all your medications.
- Plan questions in advance, such as:
- What is the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Should I change my diet and lifestyle?
- What treatment options do you recommend?
If you know someone that has digestive symptoms, encourage him or her to talk to their doctor. It is not normal, to not feel normal.