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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Program

Meriter's IBS Program

Helping you function optimally for better living.

Meriter Specialty Clinic

202 S. Park Street, Level 2
Madison, WI 53715

Appointments and After Hours Care: 608.417.5454

Emergency Care:
If you believe you are in need of immediate emergency care, dial 911 or go directly to the nearest emergency department. Meriter’s Emergency Department is located at 202 S. Park Street in Madison.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by recurrent symptoms that include stomach pain, cramping or bloating. This often goes along with altered bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea or both. IBS is diagnosed when a person has these types of disruptive symptoms several times a month for a few months in a row or longer. IBS is different from occasional constipation or diarrhea and is not due to other diseases or injuries.

IBS can be best defined by what it is NOT:

  • A physical, structural, or infectious problem with the gut
  • An early form of worsening or progressive gastrointestinal disease
  • Life threatening
  • Something you ‘just have to live with’

IBS is not life threatening, but it is a very common medical disorder that can be hard to manage. IBS can interfere with your ability to participate in daily activities and may affect the quality of your life. Although stress and anxiety do not cause IBS, life stressors and certain types of anxiety may affect the frequency and intensity of IBS symptoms. Research shows that learning how to adjust the way you and your body respond to stress can improve IBS symptoms and the quality of your life.

While there is no cure for IBS, the goal of Meriter’s IBS Program is to help you reduce the effects of IBS on your daily life and have better overall control of your symptoms. Treatment will focus on lifestyle changes, improving your diet, and medication review.

A Team Approach to Your Care

Meriter’s IBS Program offers a patient-centered, team-based, holistic approach to treatment. We believe that it is possible to live well even if you have a chronic condition such as IBS. Our interdisciplinary team of specialists includes gastroenterology, medical nutrition, medical psychology and integrative medicine. We provide a treatment plan that focuses on self-management strategies that will benefit your physical health, emotional well-being and quality of life.

IBS Care Team Members:
Gary Griglione, MD - Gastroenterology
Susan Lepinski, MD - Gastroenterology
Nathan Susnow, MD - Gastroenterology
Thomas Huber, MD - Gastroenterology
Lindsey Duca, PsyD - Health Psychologist
Gretchen Diem, PhD - Health Psychologist
Luke Fortney, MD - Integrative Medicine
Susie Brueggemann, RD - Dietitian

After a thorough gastrointestinal (GI) evaluation and the diagnosis of IBS is made, your gastroenterologist will discuss treatment options with you, including standard treatments using conventional medicines along with dietary modifications or referral to the IBS Program. Meet our Gastroenterology team: 

Medical Nutrition
This branch of the IBS Program includes a nutritional assessment by a registered dietitian (RD). Your current nutritional status and eating habits as well as your past experience with dietary modifications will be assessed. Various dietary options often helpful for those suffering from IBS will be discussed and a plan tailored specifically to your needs will be developed.

Medical Psychology
Medical Psychology can help you improve your gastrointestinal health and sense of well being. The tools that medical psychologists use to help you feel better can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, gut-focused relaxation training and stress management training. These therapies help you target IBS symptoms directly and also address the stress of living with IBS.

Integrative Medicine

IBS symptoms can be triggered or worsened by many things, including complex interactions among medications and supplements you may be taking. Your integrative medicine specialist uses a holistic approach that can match helpful therapies to your beliefs and needs. This includes a careful evaluation of your medications and supplements to determine whether holistic or alternative therapies may or may not be helpful for you. Integrative medicine combines conventional Western medicine with alternative or complementary treatments, such as exercise, herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, yoga and stress reduction techniques – all in an effort to treat the whole person.

Is the IBS Program Right for You?

Our program was created to help you learn healthy ways of coping with IBS, with the goal of improving your overall emotional and physical well-being and quality of life. Our patients are interested in learning ways to reduce the distress and discomfort of IBS symptoms. Meriter’s IBS Program is most effective when you play an active role as an essential member of your own IBS treatment team.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

The IBS team approaches each patient individually. Our goal is to provide therapies that have long-term benefits for you. Your participation in the IBS Program includes an evaluation with a Meriter gastroenterologist, 6-10 sessions with our medical psychologist, 1-2 sessions with our medical nutritionist and a meeting with our integrative medicine physician. Our goal is to work with you and your primary care physician to help you develop the skills and confidence to better manage IBS.

Appointments and Referrals

To participate in the Meriter IBS Program, simply request a referral to Gastroenterology by any of your medical providers. Prompt appointments are available.