What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is an intestinal disorder which affects your large intestine. It is a mix of belly discomfort, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, gas, bolting, and constipation. It affects people of all ages even children. IBS is not life threatening but it can be a life long problem for your digestive system and change the way you live.
The exact cause of IBS is unknown. It still isn’t well understood and diagnosis is usually based on symptoms. It does not have a specific age or a phase. A lot of doctors have accounted stress to be a contributing factor in this disorder. Many health experts believe that it’s also because of the faulty communication between your gut and brain. Psychological factors such as stress also contribute to IBS.
- Gas or bolting
- Belly that sticks out
- Mucus in your stool
- Abdominal pain
- Sudden need to have a bowel movement
- Some people may also face urinary or sexual problems
Fatigue is said to be the most common symptom amongst all cases of IBS.
Doctors also look out for two symptoms out of these three key symptoms – bloating or abdominal pain, change in stool, and diarrhoea or constipation.
IBS is unpredictable and its symptoms may vary from person to person. Long term symptoms can interrupt your personal or professional activity, and limit individual potential.
Doctors usually go through a patient’s medical history to better understand the symptoms. And based on their observations, they might even ask their patients to go through a stool test, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy to examine the lower large intestine.
There is no permanent cure for IBS. Doctors usually recommend drinking more water and consuming more fibre in order to promote healthy bowel movement. They can also ask the patient to stick to a low FODMAP (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) diet so as to help with the IBS. It also depends on different body types so there’s no one cure for IBS. It’s always better to consult a doctor and get a proper treatment.
Some people control their symptoms by managing or changing their lifestyle, food, and stress. According to International Foundation of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder, 10-15% of the entire population suffer from IBS worldwide. People that are most affected by this syndrome are mostly between the ages of 6-18 or 41+.
Only a medical professional can do the correct diagnosis. So seek medical help as soon as possible. Do not be ashamed of admitting that you might have a problem. Since IBS requires some major life changes from the patient, it might also work negatively for the patient’s mental health. Hence, finding a proper combination of medicines and therapies to help ease the problem becomes all the more important.
The patient’s mental and physical health are far more important than anything else. The shame factor can take a backseat here. If you have any of these symptoms mentioned above, seek medical advice. Don’t put yourself at risk by ignoring the signs and symptoms. It’s always good to cross-check it with a proper medical professional.