3 Common Conditions Women Don't Talk About: Incontinence, Lack of Desire and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Overcoming Irritable Bowel Syndrome continued...
As the name implies, irritable bowel syndrome is no fun. The condition is
marked by diarrhea, constipation, or both at different times, as well as
abdominal cramps, pain, and bloating.
Yet few patients discuss irritable bowel syndrome symptoms with their
doctor, at least initially, says Peter Galier, MD, associate professor of
medicine at the UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and former chief of
staff at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center "Bowels are not the
happiest subject to talk about," he says.
Up to 70% of those who have IBS don't get medical care, according to the
Experts have not yet found a specific cause for IBS, although some believe
those who suffer have a colon (large bowel) that is very sensitive to certain
foods and to high stress levels.
Most likely to be affected are people with hard-driving personalities and
those under extreme stress. "All the symptoms tend to be aggravated by
stress," Galier says.
Once irritable bowel syndrome symptoms really interfere with daily
activities, women are more likely to broach the subject with their doctor,
Galier says. Some people seek help because they worry that IBS symptoms are an
indication of, or could lead to, colon cancer -- although that is not the
Stress reduction is a crucial part of treatment, according to Galier. He
sometimes recommends biofeedback to help patients learn stress reduction.
Medicines that relax intestinal muscles can help relieve irritable bowel
syndrome symptoms. Medicines approved just for IBS symptoms are available, but
people taking them need to be closely monitored to watch for side
Dietary changes can also help. Adding more fiber, for example, may bring
relief if constipation is your primary IBS symptom. Eating smaller meals can
also relieve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, as can avoiding caffeinated
Galier says to tackle the psychological aspects of IBS first, by focusing on
stress reduction. Next, improve your diet, and move to medications only if you
need to. "If you exercise, watch your diet, and minimize your stress, you
could often be OK without the drugs," he says. But, he adds, "Some do
all that and still need medicine."
Increasing Female Libido
About 35-45% of women in the U.S. have a problem with lagging sexual desire
at some point in their lives, says Beverly Whipple, PhD, RN, professor emerita
at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Whipple is known for her sex
research and co-discovery of the “G spot,” an area in the genitals that, some
believe, when stimulated, can produce excitement and orgasm.
With age, lagging sexual desire is more likely, says Whipple, who prefers
the term lack of desire to lack of libido. Suddenly, or over time, women just
don't have the interest in sex that they used to.