Whether you’ve recently experienced tummy symptoms or have been struggling with IBS for some time, this article will help you understand it better and take appropriate action.
We completely understand how uncomfortable and challenging life might have become for you – that is what most gut disorders do as they last longer than other illnesses and have a big impact on everyday life.
But, understanding your condition and taking an active part in managing it can really help you get healthy and feel better about yourself. So, let’s dissect its symptoms and see what you can do about it.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a common but uncomfortable gastrointestinal disorder that affects the digestive system. It has been linked to factors like food passing through your gut too quickly or too slowly, oversensitive gut nerves, anxiety, and a family history of IBS.
While it’s intelligent to read about symptoms of your condition online, it’s also important to get in touch with a doctor.
If you have IBS and happen to be in Narellan, Gregory Hills, or Campbelltown, head to this website for one of the finest gastroenterologists in Gregory Hills. Self-help is good, but when it comes to your health, seeing a specialist is always better.
Moving forward, you might get enough knowledge to identify the symptoms of your condition by yourself. But IBS is a medical condition that needs treatment from a doctor. Self-medication is never a good idea!
Some common IBS symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain or cramps – they are worse after eating and get better after a bowel movement
- Bloating – your tummy feels uncomfortably full and swollen
- Diarrhea – or urgency, where there is a sudden urge to pass stools
- Constipation – often, there will be an alternation between diarrhea and constipation
- Whitish mucus in your poop
You should note that IBS symptoms are often triggered by certain foods and drinks. If you can identify these foods and stay away from them, you can stay relatively free of IBS symptoms. A food diary – where you write down everything you eat and how you feel after eating a particular dish for 1 to 2 months – can be very helpful in identifying the foods that trigger your IBS.
While some people are able to control their symptoms by changing their diet and eating habits, more severe symptoms will need medication and counseling.
When to see a doctor
While IBS is a benign condition, certain signs could mean there’s a more insidious disease process developing.
You should see a doctor immediately if there is a constant change in your bowel movements or if the symptoms start worsening. Severe symptoms may include:
- Weight loss
- Diarrhea at night
- Rectal bleeding
- Vomiting without a clear reason
- Severe pain that isn’t relieved after a bowel movement
How does a doctor approach an IBS patient?
Besides feeling your tummy to check for swellings or lumps and taking your medical history, the doctor will ask you the following things:
- What symptoms are you having?
- How often do you get them?
- Do they come and go?
- When do you get them? (At what time of day or after eating anything)
- Since when do you have these symptoms?
- Do you take any medicine?
- Was there an event of stress in your life?
It might be useful for you to note down the answers to these questions on paper and take it along when you see a doctor. This will ensure you don’t forget to tell anything, making the diagnosis and treatment easier.
The cure – change!
Unfortunately, despite years of research, there is no known cure for this condition. But, there are many treatment options that reduce or eliminate symptoms.
IBS treatment focuses on relieving symptoms through diet modification, lifestyle changes, and some light medication. Your doctor will personalize your IBS treatment plan according to your needs.
Typical treatment plans are usually a mix of diet, and some do’s and don’ts, such as:
- Avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms
- Eating high-fiber foods
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough sleep
- Not skipping meals and eating on time
In addition, your doctor might suggest some medicines. These include laxatives for acute constipation and antidepressants for relieving stress.
Remember, while medicines do help, simple changes in your diet and lifestyle provide the best relief (in most cases)!