Living With Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders can be potentially life-threatening if neglected, but this isn’t necessarily true for all disorders of the GI tract. There are some types of functional GI disorders that can be managed through proper treatment and prevention, but it requires an ardent commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and practicing good bowel habits. Attending annual cancer screenings can also help you monitor your GI health. 

It’s important to recognize that, in many cases, functional GI disorders can be eliminated to make life more enjoyable for patients. If you suffer from constipation or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a GI surgeon in Tampa may be able to treat you. Whalen Clark, M.D. can help you improve your quality of life through patient-focused treatments that center around educating patients about their conditions and giving them options for recovery.

Factors Leading to Functional Disorders 

When your GI tract fails to perform its duty, this may be an indication that you are suffering from a functional disorder. Some of these disorders are rather easy to contend with, like constipation, while others such as IBS may require sweeping lifestyle changes. Some functional disorders can only be fixed with the help of a GI surgeon in Tampa. The solution will differ depending on your needs, but you won’t be able to get a clear picture of your health without first consulting a medical professional. It’s hard to judge how or why an individual develops a GI disorder, but some of the most common factors include:

  • Diet low in fiber
  • Lack of exercise
  • Changes in routine
  • Stress
  • Excess dairy
  • Restricted bowel movements
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Overusing laxatives
  • Antacid medicines
  • Antidepressants, iron pills, and narcotics
  • Pregnancy


Constipation makes it difficult for an individual to have a bowel movement. Typically, constipation limits the amount of stool passings one experiences to less than three times a week or causes a person to have incomplete bowel movements. This is usually attributed to a lack of fiber in a person’s diet or dietary disruptions. The strain a person endures when constipated can lead to structural disorders like fissures and hemorrhoids; however, constipation is rarely indicative of a serious medical condition when no other symptoms are present. Constipation can be treated through alterations to the diet (i.e., eating more fiber), exercising regularly, and allowing bowel movements to occur when the urge presents itself.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS goes by many names, including spastic colon, irritable colon, and nervous stomach. Its effects on an individual’s lifestyle may vary from person to person, but its symptoms can be traced back to contractions in the colon muscle occurring too frequently. These symptoms include abdominal pain, crampings, excess gas, bloating, changes in bowel habits, and bouts of both constipation and diarrhea. IBS is another GI disorder that can be managed through non-surgical means, but it’s best to consult a gastrointestinal surgeon in Tampa before making any significant changes to your lifestyle and diet that could end up hindering you rather than helping you. A GI surgeon in Tampa may suggest that you avoid caffeine, increase your dietary intake of fiber, keep a record of IBS trigger foods, reduce the amount of stress in your life, and take prescription medication.

To schedule a consultation with Whalen Clark, M.D., a gastrointestinal surgeon in Tampa, please contact us today.

Disclaimer:The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Whalen Clark, M.D. website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Whalen Clark, M.D. or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. 

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