A Clinical Study at Velocity Clinical Research: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine, is very common. In the United States alone, there are more than 3 million cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome reported each year and 25 million to 45 million people suffering from it. 

Those cases, however, are usually not too severe. Symptoms as simple and as mild as occasional stomach discomfort or pain or trouble with bowel habits may indicate that someone suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. People who experience bowel movements either more frequently or less frequently than what is considered normal could have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Even stools issues – such as thinner, softer stools or stools that are too hard – could indicate the presence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an intestinal disorder most likely to first appear in younger people – mostly those in their teens to early forties. It can last from several years to an entire lifetime. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is found more often in females, most experiencing worsening symptoms during menstrual periods. This leads researchers to believe that hormonal changes may be a factor in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Family history can also increase the likelihood of Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.  

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not life threatening, nor does it lead to more severe conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or even colon cancer; but it CAN certainly negatively affect your work habits and other activities of daily living.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms can include gas, bloating, abdominal pain, indigestion, changes in bowel movements and bowel movement patterns, mucus in the stool, diarrhea on its own or diarrhea alternating with constipation. If Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms are severe, they can lead to mood disorders and a compromised quality of life.

Other seemingly related symptoms, including rectal bleeding, anemia, weight loss, diarrhea at night or persistent pain that is not remedied by releasing gas or emptying bowels, could indicate a more serious problem, such as colon cancer. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should immediately consult a physician.

The causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are unknown, but factors found likely to contribute to IBS include intestinal inflammation, strong intestinal muscle contractions and cramping, abnormalities within the intestinal nervous system, severe infections such as gastroenteritis or any changes to gut microflora, which are microorganisms that occur naturally within the digestive tract. Microflora abnormalities and bacteria can produce toxic by-products which can create very serious issues such as long-term illness and chronic degeneration.

Common tests and procedures that physicians use to diagnose Irritable Bowel Syndrome include X-rays and CT scans of the abdomen. These imaging tools are typically used to rule out any other possible causes of abdominal pain. Stool tests are for bacteria and parasite discovery. Breath tests are conducted to check for bacterial growth within the small intestine. An endoscopic procedure is conducted to determine if there are any intestinal blockages. Tests for lactose intolerance and gluten allergies are also typically performed.

Nutrition is an important part of Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptom management. There is no proven way to prevent Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but consuming adequate portions of daily fiber seem to help. Those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome should obviously avoid foods that trigger episodes, as well as carbonated beverages and alcohol. Also avoid gluten, fructose and lactose. Foods that should be heartily consumed are those rich in fiber, including broccoli, lentils and beans.

Although there is no known cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, current treatment options can help manage its annoying and sometimes painful and somewhat debilitating symptoms. Medication that is currently used to treat the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome includes anti-diarrheal drugs for diarrhea; anticholinergics for the relief of intestinal spasms; anticonvulsants for pain and bloating; tricyclic antidepressants for depression and severe pain; and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to relieve depression and pain, as well as constipation.

Self-care, including stress management, regular exercise and adequate sleep, is recommended. Counseling may also help to deal with stress in an effort to prevent or ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.

Clinical research is vital in determining the safety and efficacy of treatments within the ever-evolving world of medicine. Velocity Clinical Research strives to make the world a better place through groundbreaking clinical research that leads to innovative treatments and better care. Through Velocity Clinical Research studies, we are able to uncover new methods of the prevention, detection, diagnosis, control and treatment of illnesses such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Have you been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or suffer from what you think may be symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome? If so, would you like to join Velocity Clinical Research in our quest to improve lives through medical advances? 

Velocity Clinical Research volunteers not only markedly contribute to significant breakthroughs in medicine; they are often able to benefit from innovative medical treatments before they are made available to the general public. In addition, Velocity Clinical Research volunteers are paid for their time, there are no costs for the medical procedures or treatments provided and there is no insurance necessary to participate.

You can reach Velocity Clinical Research by calling 386-428-7730 Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. You can also learn more about the clinical research trials at Velocity Clinical Research by accessing our patient portal which can be found on our website. Velocity Clinical Research is conveniently located at 1410 S. Ridgewood Avenue in Edgewater.