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American College of Gastroenterology Releases Clinical Guidelines to Manage IBS

What happened: The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) published its first clinical guidelines to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in the American Journal of Gastroenterology on Monday. The guidelines provide recommendations to doctor for both diagnostic testing and therapeutic treatments for IBS. Some recommendations include implementing a short-term Low FODMAP diet, use of tricyclic antidepressants to treat symptoms and diagnostic tests to rule out irritable bowel disease and celiac disease.

We wanted to do more than regurgitate the evidence on various treatment options. We made every effort to synthesize the evidence in a way that always keeps the provider and patient in mind. — William D. Chey, MD, FACG

The Frontlines: Irritable bowel syndrome is a fairly common disorder. In fact, around 12% of people in the United States have IBS, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

  • Some of the most common symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, changes in the appearance of bowel movements and bloating.
  • A 2016 report found that people often wait around four years to be diagnosed with IBS.
  • The Low FODMAP diet, if your doctor recommends it, involves limiting your intake of certain foods for a period of time.

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A Mighty Voice: Contributor Katherine D. wrote about what her everyday experience living with irritable bowel syndrome is like. “Time to dare breakfast. Yes, dare is the correct choice of word. Breakfast is my greatest test of the day. How well I cope with the first dose of food is usually a good indicator of whether I’ll have a good day or a bad day.”  You can submit your first-person story, too.

From Our Community:

Noticing a pattern

Other Things to Know: Like with other chronic illnesses, IBS can impact people’s lives differently. You can read the first-hand stories below to learn more about how others cope with IBS:

How to Take Action: If you have or suspect you have IBS, talk to your doctor about the new clinical guidelines for managing IBS. You can also read the clinical guidelines here, which are behind a paywall.

Getty Images/Pornpak Khunatorn

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