IBS & Disorders of the Gut-Brain Interactions
UCLA Health gastroenterologists provide outstanding patient-centered care. Focusing on the brain-gut connection, we deliver strategies to improve your GI health and quality of life.
UCLA Health excellence in IBS and other disorders of gut-brain interactions
Our multidisciplinary team includes internationally renowned experts in disorders of brain-gut interactions. We work to better understand the causes of these conditions and deliver state-of-the-art care. Our integrative digestive health team provides a holistic approach to evaluate, treat and improve the lives of patients affected by these conditions.
Highlights of our program include:
Distinguished gastroenterologists: Specialists at the Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases are recognized as leaders across the nation in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of gut-brain interaction. Our specialists are at the forefront of providing leading-edge therapies.
Holistic care: With a strong focus on the connection between the brain and digestive tract, our gastroenterologists work closely with specialized gastrointestinal (GI) dietitians, GI health psychologists and an integrative GI health nurse practitioner to provide patients with an integrated care approach.
Access to the Integrative Digestive Health and Wellness Program: In addition to the latest clinical treatments, patients can receive behavioral therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and gut-directed hypnotherapy. We also offer nutritional guidance and stress management techniques that can improve GI symptoms.
Groundbreaking research and access to clinical trials: We work alongside researchers at the UCLA Health G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience (CNSR). Together, we use leading-edge technologies such as brain imaging, molecular biology, gut microbiome analysis and genetics to consider how stress, pain and emotions affect GI health. Our patients have access to clinical trials that help us better understand the causes of these conditions and provide novel treatments.
Our areas of care
At UCLA Health, we specialize in the full spectrum of care for people with disorders of gut-brain interaction, including IBS. Our experts provide detailed assessments and integrative treatments to help you feel your best. We offer:
Our specialists diagnose disorders of gut-brain interaction by gathering a thorough medical history and performing a physical examination. As part of the evaluation, your physician may order additional testing. Our comprehensive assessments enable us to deliver the most effective therapies for you.
We use an integrated holistic approach that may include medication, brain-gut behavior therapy, dietary and lifestyle changes and complementary therapies. Our experts work with you to personalize every treatment plan to meet your needs. Our team-based approach ensures that you have access to seamless, well-rounded care.
Physicians and specialized GI dietitians work together to deliver tailored plans based on your symptoms, lifestyle and goals. We also provide nutritional education to help you understand how diet affects your gastrointestinal symptoms with the goal of improving your overall health.
A wide range of medications have been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms. These may include antidiarrheals, laxatives, supplements and other over-the-counter remedies. We may also recommend antibiotics and other prescription medications.
Integrative brain-gut treatments
We are recognized leaders in treatments that focus on the brain-gut connection and the effect of the mind on the body. As part of our team approach to your care, you may receive consultations with our integrative health practitioner and GI health psychologists.
We work together to create a plan for you that may include:
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which helps you respond to uncomfortable feelings in a healthier way
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapy that helps you change thought patterns and improve how you respond to symptoms
Coping support, several ways to help you adjust to a diagnosis
Diaphragmatic breathing, slow breathing that calms the nervous system
Medical hypnosis for digestive health, which includes deep relaxation techniques and soothing suggestions to improve your digestive system
Mindfulness-based interventions, techniques that increase your awareness of your senses and emotions)
Relaxation training, techniques that reduce tension and stress
Self-compassion techniques, a range of methods that remind you to respond to yourself with kindness
Disorders of gut-brain interaction we treat
Our gastroenterologists have experience treating the full spectrum of disorders of gut-brain interaction. We specialize in:
Chronic abdominal pain: This condition is characterized as daily or frequent abdominal pain that is not associated with another diagnosed medical condition.
Chronic bloating and distention: Bloating is a sensation of abdominal fullness and gas. Distention is an increase in abdominal girth (belly size) that often occurs after meals.
Chronic constipation: This disorder causes difficult, infrequent or incomplete bowel movements that are not due to medications or other health conditions.
Chronic diarrhea: This disorder causes loose or watery stools. It does not result from medications or other health conditions.
Cyclic vomiting syndrome: This condition includes recurrent episodes of severe nausea and vomiting that can last for several hours or days.
Functional dyspepsia: This disorder causes a group of symptoms, including upper abdominal pain, discomfort or stomach burning. These symptoms often worsen after meals.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): This recurring or chronic condition causes abdominal pain, discomfort and changes in bowel habits, which include diarrhea, constipation or both.
Our dedicated team provides outstanding patient-centered care grounded in the latest knowledge about digestive health and the brain-gut connection.