Expert Videos

Module 1: Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Shanti Eswaran, MD, an expert in gastroenterology and internal medicine at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, describes irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. She discusses the most common symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain, discomfort, constipation, and diarrhea, as well as the different types of IBS and how common irritable bowel syndrome is around the globe.
Watch now
What causes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? How does IBS start?
Jordan Shapiro, MD, MS, a gastroenterologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating irritable bowel syndrome, discusses some possible causes of IBS, including food poisoning, stress, food intolerances and the role of genetics. Dr. Shapiro also talks about the potential effects of changes in gut bacteria, the use of antibiotics, and even the presence of mood disorders that can affect the development of irritable bowel syndrome. 
Watch now
What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Dr. Shanti Eswaran, an expert on irritable bowel syndrome and the gut-brain connection, describes the symptoms of IBS that accompany pain or discomfort, and changes in bowel movement habits, such as bloating, gas, fatigue, mucus in bowel movements. She also discusses symptoms that happen in relation to eating, fasting, or consuming specific foods.
Watch now
What are the risk factors for IBS?
Dr. Jordan Shapiro, an expert on irritable bowel syndrome, talks about risk factors for IBS, including younger age, having a family member with IBS, and being a biological woman. Gastrointestinal infections, trauma, life stressors, and PTSD or mood disorders can also play a role in IBS risk. Dr. Shapiro briefly discusses that irritable bowel syndrome is not "all in your head" even if it originated with a traumatic event.
Watch now
What are the possible complications of IBS?
Shanti Eswaran, MD, an expert in functional gastrointestinal disorders, describes the possible complications of IBS. While IBS does not lead to irritable bowel disease (IBD) or colorectal cancer, complications of irritable bowel syndrome can affect your quality of life and keep you from living the way you want to. Dr. Eswaran discusses some other diseases that may accompany IBS.
Watch now
Why is IBS difficult to diagnose? What other conditions can look like IBS?
Jordan Shapiro, MD, MS, talks about the challenges of diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. A skilled gastroenterologist can use a careful medical history and physical examination, along with select tests as needed, to diagnose IBS. While other disorders such as endometriosis, irritable bowel disease (IBD) and celiac disease can cause similar symptoms to IBS, Dr. Shapiro discusses how careful evaluation can distinguish these conditions and give a reliable diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.
Watch now
Can IBS cause IBD or cancer?
Irritable bowel syndrome expert Dr. Shanti Eswaran discusses whether IBS can lead to cancer or irritable bowel disease (IBD). She discusses the differences that can be seen with a colonoscopy, as well as how different gastrointestinal disorders can exist together. Dr. Eswaran shares what signs to tell your doctor about, including any bleeding, weight loss, or new abdominal or bowel symptoms.
Watch now

Module 2: Diagnosing Irritable Bowel Syndrome

How is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diagnosed?
Dr. Jordan Shapiro, an expert on diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), discusses how chronic symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and changes in bowel movement habits can reveal this condition. What are the Rome criteria? What information should you take to your doctor to help them diagnose IBS? Dr. Shapiro discusses these, as well as how to feel less embarrassed talking about bowel movements and how writing down your symptoms can help your doctor diagnose IBS.
Watch now
What alarm signs could indicate a serious condition other than IBS?
Dr. Shanti Eswaran, an expert in irritable bowel syndrome, discusses alarm signs or red flags that could indicate a condition other than IBS. She describes how signs ranging from bloody or dark-colored stools, accompanied by fevers, weight loss, night sweats, nocturnal bowel symptoms, anemia, and swollen lymph nodes, may suggest another condition other than IBS. If you experience any of these alarm signs, Dr. Eswaran emphasizes the importance of telling your doctor about them so additional tests can be done to rule out other conditions other than IBS.
Watch now
Why is IBS difficult to diagnose?
Jordan Shapiro, MD, MS, a gastroenterologist and irritable bowel syndrome expert, discusses the factors that can make IBS difficult to diagnose from both a patient and healthcare perspective. Some patients with IBS may not seek help from a healthcare provider, while some providers may not have the confidence or expertise to diagnose IBS. Finding a provider who is familiar with the criteria for diagnosing IBS can help avoid unnecessary testing. Although IBS can be difficult to diagnose, an accurate diagnosis is possible and will allow patients to move forward with treatment.
Watch now
What tests do I need for IBS?
Shanti Eswaran, MD, an expert in functional gut-brain disorders, talks about how testing can help a doctor make the diagnosis of IBS. In fact, multiple tests are often unnecessary, as your medical history and physical symptoms can let an experienced doctor know if you need testing for celiac disease, infections, and other possible causes of your symptoms. IBS is usually diagnosed by symptoms and the Rome criteria used by gastroenterologists.
Watch now
What are the next steps after an IBS diagnosis?
Irritable bowel syndrome expert Jordan Shapiro, MD, MS, talks about the importance of personalizing IBS treatment for each person. He discusses the various effective treatment options for IBS, including medication, diet modification, and other lifestyle changes. He also discusses the importance of being open to different ways of treating IBS and combining treatment options to start feeling better after an IBS diagnosis.
Watch now

Module 3: Managing and Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Do I need medical attention, or can I manage IBS on my own?
Shanti Eswaran, MD, discusses whether you need regular medical attention or can manage the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome on your own once you have an IBS diagnosis. She talks about how IBS can affect quality of life, as well as how a specialist can help in understanding and managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome that affect daily activities.
Watch now
How is IBS managed and treated?
Gastroenterologist Jordan Shapiro, MD, MS, describes the landscape of IBS treatment modalities that can help you take your life back from irritable bowel syndrome. Dr. Shapiro discusses the role for exercise, sleep, dietary therapy, and IBS medications in helping to manage symptoms. The gut-brain connection is key in treating irritable bowel syndrome, and your healthcare provider can even help you find new digital options to manage IBS symptoms.
Watch now
What role does diet play in managing IBS?
Shanti Eswaran, MD, professor of gastroenterology and internal medicine, talks about the role diet plays in managing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). She explains that symptoms in patients can be triggered by different foods and drinks so developing a personalized nutrition plan can make a difference in IBS management. Dr. Eswaran recommends keeping track of what foods and drinks are consumed while working with your healthcare provider to look for specific dietary triggers of IBS symptoms. She notes that there is no "one size fits all" strategy and to avoid dietary plans that claim to cure IBS.
Watch now
What is a nutrition plan for IBS?
What is the best way to eat if you have IBS? Are there foods you should eliminate or avoid? Jordan Shapiro, MD, MS, a gastroenterologist and irritable bowel syndrome expert, explains what a nutrition plan for IBS is and how a registered dietitian who understands IBS can help you create a personal plan to feel better. This may include trying a low-FODMAP diet. Dr. Shapiro discusses the importance of talking with your doctor before trying any of the popular food elimination diets, because these can have hidden health risks or even make symptoms of IBS worse.
Watch now
How can I manage my bloating with IBS?
Shanti Eswaran, MD, a gastroenterologist specializing in functional gut-brain disorders, discusses the discomfort of bloating in IBS, including abdominal distention or an uncomfortable feeling of fullness. She reassures patients that there is help for bloating with IBS, including through working with a registered dietitian who understands the role nutrition can play in gut sensitivity.
Watch now
What medicines are available to treat IBS?
What are the best medications for irritable bowel syndrome? Gastroenterologist Jordan Shapiro, MD, MS, discusses different medications for specific types of IBS. Medications can help with diarrhea, constipation, irregular bowel habits, and more. Dr. Shapiro also talks about "off-label" medications for irritable bowel syndrome and the research doctors can use to manage IBS with medications.
Watch now
What non-drug treatments are available for IBS?
Can you manage IBS without drugs? Shanti Eswaran, MD, is a gastroenterologist who specializes in the gut-brain interaction. She discusses the role that stress, anxiety, and even anticipation of IBS symptoms can play in making irritable bowel syndrome worse. Learn if hypnosis or cognitive behavioral therapy can help IBS, and how over-the-counter irritable bowel syndrome products and supplements may or may not help.
Watch now
Are there clinical trials for IBS? Can I participate in new research?
Jordan Shapiro, MD, MS, is an expert on irritable bowel syndrome. He discusses the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders' listing of clinical trials for IBS diagnosis and treatment, and how participating in new research on irritable bowel syndrome can help you discover new treatments for your own and other patients' symptoms. New drugs are being developed for IBS in an increasing number of clinical trials.
Watch now
How can I improve my quality of life with IBS?
Shanti Eswaran, MD, is an expert on irritable bowel syndrome and the gut-brain interaction. She discusses how IBS can affect quality of life, the difference that lifestyle modifications can make for IBS symptoms, and the importance of sleep, exercise, and mental health support in improving your quality of life with IBS. She recommends using a reliable source of information, such as the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, when seeking IBS information online.
Watch now
What should I do if my doctor tells me IBS is “all in my head”?
Is IBS all in your head? Shanti Eswaran, MD, is an expert on the gut-brain connection and irritable bowel syndrome. She explains the importance of finding a healthcare provider who can acknowledge the role of mental health and stress in digestive disorders. Jordan Shapiro, MD, MS, a gastroenterologist and IBS expert, discusses the importance of acknowledging symptoms that do not show up on tests, as well as the limitations of some tests in irritable bowel syndrome.
Watch now
 

This educational activity has been developed by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders and Mechanisms in Medicine Inc.

This activity is supported by independent educational grants from AbbVie, Ardelyx, and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.

This website is part of the Animated Patient™ series developed by Mechanisms in Medicine Inc., to provide highly visual formats of learning for patients to improve their understanding, make informed decisions, and partner with their healthcare professionals for optimal outcomes.