by Drs. Charles Gerson and Mary-Joan Gerson
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disturbance of the colon.
It is characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort associated with an abnormal bowel pattern in the absence of pathologic findings.
Some patients with IBS have diarrhea as their bowel disturbance, some have constipation, and some alternate between the two.
IBS patients may have emotional issues that affect their symptoms. Conversely, their symptoms may affect their emotions.
It is important for a patient who may have IBS to see a physician who is capable of making sure they are not suffering from organic disease. Usually this can be done with a careful selection of appropriate tests.
How Common is Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder seen by both gastroenterologists and primary care physicians.
- About 15% of the population has IBS, and approximately 50% of IBS sufferers see a physician because of their symptoms.
- IBS affects two to three times as many women as men, most of them in the 20 to 50 age range.
What Causes Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- The cause of IBS is not known, and the colon is anatomically normal in IBS patients. IBS physiology is characterized by a heightened sensitivity of the nerves in the lining of the colon which causes abdominal pain and abnormal muscular activity of the colon (muscular activity is increased in diarrhea and decreased in constipation).
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Charles D. Gerson, M.D. graduated with honors from State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, and completed medical internship and residency at Cornell Division, Bellevue Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital. He completed a two-year gastroenterology fellowship at the same institutions.
Dr. Gerson’s current positions include Clinical Professor and Attending Physician at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Gerson has authored numerous research articles and given many professional talks about Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He was Co-Chair of the Cross-Cultural Committee to the Functional Brain-Gut Research Group and is currently on the Working Team on Multinational Cross Cultural Research of the Rome Foundation. He has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Mary-Joan Gerson, Ph.D. is a member of the teaching faculty at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, as well as Founding Co-Chair of the Committee on Psychoanalysis and health care of the American Psychological Association (Division 39). She has conducted original research and published articles about the psychological aspects of inflammatory bowel disease, and has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
Dr. Gerson has authored numerous research articles and given many professional talks about Irritable Bowel Syndrome and was Co-Chair of the Cross-Cultural Committee to the Functional Brain-Gut Research Group.
Dr. Gerson’s numerous publications have appeared in such journals as Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Psychology, The Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, Social Science and Medicine, and Family Systems Medicine, and she has published a full length book, The Embedded Self, Second Edition: An Integrative Psychodynamic and Systemic Perspective on Couples and Family Therapy