Experiencing uncomfortable or painful abdominal symptoms is a sign of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it is a group of symptoms that occur together, including repeated pain in your abdomen and changes in your bowel movements.
While doctors are unsure what exactly causes IBS, stressful or difficult early life events, certain mental disorders, bacterial infections in your digestive tract, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and food intolerances or sensitivities are often associated with this condition. If you think this sounds like you, read on to find the identifying symptoms and how you can ease them:
Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
While IBS is a chronic condition, the symptoms may come and go. NIH has stated that the most common symptoms of this condition are pain in your abdomen, often related to your bowel movements. Another common symptom is changes in bowel movements. Depending on the type of IBS, you may experience diarrhea, constipation, or both. Other symptoms may include the following:
- You may experience bloating
- The feeling of not having finished a bowel movement
- Experiencing whitish mucus in your stool
- Women with IBS often have more symptoms when they are menstruating
- People have also reported experiencing migraine headaches
- There can be sleep disturbances
- Experiencing mental health conditions like anxiety or depression
- Fibromyalgia (a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues)
- Some people suffer from chronic pelvic pain
IBS can be painful but doesn’t lead to other health problems or a damaged digestive tract. The symptoms are looked at as a pattern over a period of time.
Treatments For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for IBS. People are often recommended dietary and lifestyle changes and notice what works best for them. Here are a few treatments you can begin with:
For someone who suffers from IBS, it is a great idea to consult a dietitian and get an eating plan. This is especially a good idea to have meal preparations done according to the type of IBS you are suffering from. It is also a good idea to add more fiber to your meals while avoiding gluten.
Other Lifestyle Changes
Stress is one of the leading causes of the condition. It might be a good idea to manage your stress levels. In addition to this, exercise four to five times a week for 30 minutes every day and get the recommended sleep hours in.
Doctors might recommend you prescription drugs to elevate the symptoms. This will be based on the type of IBS you are experiencing. In addition, you might be given over-the-counter drugs to relieve stomach pain. Make sure you tell your healthcare provider your entire medical history and understand the side effects of the medications.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to microorganisms you normally have in your digestive tract. Ask your doctor about the duration of taking probiotics and in what quantity should it be consumed.
Mental Health Intervention
Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety have been shown to begin or worsen the symptoms. If you think the cause of your condition is psychological, it might be time to talk to a healthcare professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been found to be effective for IBS, according to John Hopkins Medicine. Alternatively, hypnotherapy can also be considered.
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