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New Book from the AGA Helps Patients Achieve Greater Freedom from IBS


For immediate release
Date:    September 12, 2010

SEATTLE – A new book from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) offers patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) a variety of strategies to lessen the burden that IBS puts on their everyday lives. IBS is a common disorder of the intestines that leads to crampy pain, gassiness, bloating and changes in bowel habits; there is no cure. The new book, “Master Your IBS,” includes a variety of strategies to help patients learn how to manage their IBS symptoms and achieve greater freedom from IBS.

“The authors very nicely integrated patient stories, medical information and management approaches to help patients understand more about irritable bowel syndrome and provide ways to relieve their symptoms,” said Lin Chang, MD, AGAF, of the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases.

“Master Your IBS” offers a week-by-week approach that gives patients time to understand the information, master the strategies and incorporate them into their lives. The self-management handbook shows patients how to reduce the severity and frequency of IBS symptoms without special diets, drugs or equipment. Instead, simple skill-building exercises are recommended to help patients focus on awareness of diet and trigger foods, relaxation techniques, and proper sleeping and healthy thought patterns to help patients better understand their IBS.

“The book will likely empower irritable bowel syndrome patients by helping them learn how to more optimally manage their symptoms,” added Dr. Chang.

The tools offered in this book are based on a long-term research study at the University of Washington developed by nurses and educators. Readers will follow in the footsteps of hundreds of study participants who succeeded at controlling their diarrhea, constipation and pain — without special diets, drugs or equipment .

What have study participants said about their lives after the program?

  • “I’m amazed that I have almost no IBS symptoms. It is so much easier to deal with life when I feel well.”
  •  “I still have IBS, but it is no longer the center of my life.”
  • “Abdominal breathing is the most useful strategy I have in managing my IBS.”

To  learn more about IBS and “Master Your IBS,” visit the patient center on the AGA’s Web site at

About the Authors
All five authors work at the University of Washington, Seattle:

Pamela Barney, MN, ARNP, an adult psychiatric nurse practitioner, has worked for many years in the school of nursing on National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research with a focus on the management of IBS symptoms. She played an active role in designing and implementing the self-management treatment used in these studies.

Margaret Heitkemper, RN, PhD, FAAN, is the principal investigator of the NIH-National Institute of Nursing Research study from which this program was developed. She is professor and chairperson, department of biobehavioral nursing and health systems, and adjunct professor, division of gastroenterology, at the school of medicine.

Monica Jarrett, RN, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems whose research focuses on functional GI disorders in women and men.

Rona L. Levy, MSW, PhD, MPH, FACG, AGAF, a psychologist and social worker, is an expert on the psychological aspects of functional GI disorders such as IBS. She worked on the original study and was central in the development of the protocol that served as the basis for “Master Your IBS.”

Pamela Weisman, MN, ARNP, is a nurse practitioner who specializes in self-management therapy for a variety of disorders, including IBS, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

About the AGA
The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include 17,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization.
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About AGA Press
The AGA Press supports the mission of the AGA by publishing high-quality, authoritative books and other resources spanning the field of gastroenterology and digestive health. Books are acquired, developed, published and promoted with the goal of helping individuals with digestive disorders and diseases, including obesity, live healthier lives. In addition, the press publishes resources for GI physicians that support them in providing outstanding care for their patients and improving their practice management. The press offers authors the opportunity to share their expertise and to improve the lives of millions of people affected by digestive disorders and diseases.


The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently the nation’s No. 1-ranked nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 3 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service.