Gut Reactions: Understanding Symptoms of the Digestive Tract

W. Grant Thompson, Author Plenum Publishing Corporation $22.95 (377p) ISBN 978-0-306-43303-0
Gastroenterologist Thompson bears good news and bad: the good is that most chronic symptoms of the stomach and bowels ``are neither mortal nor physically disabling''; the bad, that in many cases medical science knows neither the cause nor the cure, and can offer few effective treatments. The author pays special attention to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with its ongoing and unexplainable episodes of pain along with constipation or diarrhea, but also discusses lesser gut problems from heartburn to anal pain. The book brims with physiologic detail, statistical tables, illustrations and explanations--and the result is informative and exasperating. The author endlessly repeats his message that most ``gut reactions'' require a minimum of medical intervention once more serious problems have been ruled out. Endless testing and most drugs, he argues, should be avoided; laxatives in particular are usually uncalled for, frequently abused and often harmful. IBS sufferers may be disappointed; as Thompson points out, the best treatments are a healthy, fiber-rich diet and the determination not to let the problem run--or ruin--your life. (Nov . )
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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