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IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) in New Jersey

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects adults and children of all ages. The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve.   Angela Merlo, M.D. is an experienced Gastroenterologist renowned for her care of adults and children with IBS.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits with no identifiable organic cause. IBS is one of the Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. IBS does not cause inflammation in the colon and does not increase your risk to develop colon cancer.  But, IBS can produce such severe symptoms that daily activities are disrupted and affected individuals feel that their bowel controls their lives.

What are Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are:

  • Chronic abdominal pain that may vary in location and intensity and have no discernable trigger
  • Altered bowel habits (either constipation predominant, diarrhea predominant, or a mixture)

Affected individuals also commonly have a variety of other gastrointestinal complaints such as:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Mucus in stool
  • Nausea and occasional vomiting

Other digestive disorders cause similar symptoms so accurate diagnosis is crucial to the development of a proper treatment plan to restore health. Alarm signs and symptoms that suggest the presence of medical conditions other than IBS are:

  • Anemia or iron deficiency
  • Blood in stool
  • Fever
  • Nighttime diarrhea
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Weight loss

What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Experts do not understand the exact cause of IBS but many factors are involved. Two popular theories are:

  • Heightened sensitivity of the digestive organs to stress, gas, foods, natural hormones or medications leading to the sensation of pain
  • Chronic disruption of the immune system following severe infection or frequent antibiotic use

How is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Diagnosed?

Diagnosis rests on the exclusion of other disorders that could be causing symptoms. The most important disorders to exclude are:

Dr. Merlo may recommend laboratory tests or biopsies so she can assure you of the right diagnosis. Colonoscopy and upper endoscopy are the most frequently performed procedures to determine the presence of digestive disease outside of IBS. Dr. Merlo is an expert at performing these procedures when necessary and interpreting the results. Dr. Merlo also offers an array of non-invasive breath hydrogen tests to help her determine your digestive capabilities.

Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Dr. Merlo does not think diagnosis is enough. Nor does she want to prescribe unnecessary prescription medication. The goal is relief of symptoms. Dr. Merlo is renowned for her success in reducing symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome by identifying specific dietary triggers and counseling patients on proper nutrition. Put yourself back in control!

If you have symptoms or have been diagnosed with IBS, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton, New Jersey for an appointment. Dr. Merlo has a well-deserved reputation for her exceptional care of adults and children with IBS.