Knowing the symptoms and triggers of irritable bowel syndrome could help you get the treatment you need faster.
There are many reasons you might be suffering from abdominal pain. You may have had food that doesn't agree with you or something in your lifestyle might have changed. However, if such pain persists, especially if accompanied by problems like frequency of your stool or difficulty swallowing, you may be suffering from something else - irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon.
According to Mayo Clinic, IBS is a common gastrointestinal condition that affects the large intestine. It occurs in only around 10–15% of people around the globe but it affects women more than men, as per data given by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. While 35% to 40% of people who report IBS are male, nearly 60% to 65% of patients are female. However, many people might not even recognize the symptoms as such.
As per Healthline, women also tend to see the symptoms more often around their menstruation. On the other hand, women who are going through menopause may have fewer symptoms than those who are still menstruating. Though the causes of IBS are still unknown, some factors that lend to the condition could include abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system that could cause discomfort when your abdomen stretches due to gas or stool, severe infections, genetics, and changes in the good microbes that are present in your gut.
There are also a couple of different forms of this condition, according to Medicine Net. IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) is distinguished through chronic or recurrent diarrhea; IBS with constipation (IBS-C) is recognized through symptoms of abdominal pain or discomfort associated with constipation.
1. Abdominal pain and cramping - This may usually pass after passing stool.
2. Alternating between diarrhea and constipation - You may find yourself either frequently needing to pass stool or are constipated.
3. Changes in bowel movements - You might begin to see blood in your stool.
4. Gas and bloating - Altered digestion could cause more gas to be produced in your gut which leads to bloating.
5. Food intolerance - Certain food items may trigger the other symptoms of IBS.
6. Fatigue - You may find yourself feeling unrefreshed even after sleeping for a healthy amount of time or be unable to sleep.
IBS can be triggered by the following:
Food - Certain kinds of food or drinks, including wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk, and carbonated beverages, may result in symptoms becoming worse. However, it isn't completely clear how or whether food allergies or intolerance play a role in IBS.
Stress - Those suffering from the condition could see their symptoms worsening or becoming more frequent when they're stressed out. However, stress doesn't cause IBS.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for IBS. However, there are ways to treat it such that you experience symptom relief. These methods include:
Changing your diet - Food items like beans, carrots, onions, bananas, prunes, bagels, dairy products, and gluten tend to cause flatulence and irritate your bowel. You can counter it by eating foods that will give you a balanced level of fiber. Probiotic supplements also help improve gut health which could help with the bloating symptom. Avoid skipping meals as well.
Changing your lifestyle - Find ways to reduce anxiety and stress which are trigger factors for IBS. Ensure you have regular exercise and take part in activities aimed at calming you down.
Ingesting prescription medications - Certain medications can help reduce the intensity of the symptoms of IBS. However, these must be confirmed only after a visit to the doctor.
Using psychological therapy - For some people, certain psychological practices may prove helpful in easing the pain of IBS. These techniques include hypnotherapy, which can alter the way your unconscious mind responds to physical stimuli, and cognitive-behavior therapy, which can help people come up with strategies to deal with pain.
While it is good to identify and understand your own symptoms, it's important to visit a medical professional in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. A blood test may be administered in order to prove your diagnosis. Your doctor will then be able to tell you how to proceed.
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