Are you facing pain, cramping, bloating or gassiness in your stomach? Do you frequently have an urgent need to go to the bathroom? You might don’t know when Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can hit and run your entire life. Irritable bowel syndrome is a common intestine disorder that causes belly discomfort or pain and changes in bowel habits.
Some people with IBS have minor symptoms while others have symptoms that are significant and disrupt daily life. Between 25 to 45 million Americans are affected by this chronic condition, and about 2 in 3 IBS sufferers are female. It affects people of all ages, mostly ones who are in their late teens to those in the early 40s. The symptoms may range in severity from mild constipation and diarrhea to different kind of stool and intestinal damage in some cases.
Understanding and identifying IBS on your own might be difficult but learning how to deal with your symptoms from expert primary care doctors will let you take back your life.
What are The Symptoms of IBS?
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may vary from person to person in severity and duration. However, they exist for a minimum of three months or for at least three days a month. People with IBS have some common symptoms which may include:
- Stomach cramps or abdominal pain that get worse after a meal and typically or partially relieved after a bowel movement
- Excess gas with bloating and burping
- Mucus in the stool
- Diarrhea and sudden urges to have a bowel movement
- Constipation alternating with diarrhea
- Loss of appetite and nausea
The symptoms can be worse at times and may even improve or disappear completely. Some people also have sexual problems or urinary symptoms. The symptoms may increase for women during menstrual periods.
Risk Factors & Complications of IBS
You are more likely to suffer from IBS symptoms if you have a family history of IBS, mental health issues like stress and anxiety, you are female or young. While it’s not life-threatening, it can be a long-lasting problem that changes the way you live your life. This intestine disorder may present you with some difficult complications like poor quality of life, new or worsening mood disorders, hemorrhoids, etc.
What Causes and Triggers IBS?
Although there are many things that trigger the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, the exact cause of IBS is unknown. Possible factors determined by the best primary care physicians which cause the conditions include:
- Hypersensitive colon or immune system overreacts to mild stimulation. The bowel muscles don’t squeeze normally, which affect the movement of stool. Weak intestinal contractions can lead to constipation or diarrhea.
- Abnormalities in your digestive nervous system may lead to poorly coordinated signals between your intestine and the brain. This causes your body to overreact to abdomen stretches, resulting in pain and cramping.
- Certain bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract or bacterial overgrowth may develop IBS symptoms. Increased number of immune-system cells in the intestine also result in causing this disorder.
Many people believe that the key to control and manage IBS symptoms is to avoid the trigger. Certain foods or beverages, stress or anxiety, and hormonal changes are some common triggers for people with IBS symptoms.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosis
There are no lab tests to diagnose IBS. Your general practitioner may take one or more of the following steps to rule out conditions that share similar symptoms.
- Blood tests to check for anemia and identify celiac disease
- Stool tests to look for blood or infection
- Colonoscopy to examine blockage signs or intestinal inflammation
- Perform x-rays
- Tests for a gluten allergy or lactose intolerance
- Upper endoscopy in case of indigestion or heartburn
How to Deal with IBS?
No single treatment works for everyone. Consulting your primary care physician and finding ways to deal with triggers help to prevent or manage the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Here are a few comprehensive treatment options that can ease the symptoms and improve your quality of life.
- Diet and Lifestyle Changes – By taking healthy diet and making a few basic changes in daily activities can improve your IBS over time. Limit food containing gluten, dairy products, artificial sweetening, and processed foods. Add more fiber-rich vegetables and fruits to your diet. Get more exercise to relax and drink plenty of water frequently. Avoid smoking.
- Medications – Different people can respond differently to the same medications. See your primary care doctor and take prescription medication for your IBS symptoms. There are medications to control abdominal pain such as antidepressants and probiotics, anti-constipation drugs like linaclotide and lubiprostone, and drugs to address diarrhea including alosetron, loperamide, and more.
Don’t let irritable bowel syndrome rule your life. Be proactive and visit the most reliable primary care clinic, Artisans of Medicine to get a consultation with the best primary care physicians in Brooklyn, New York. They will help you understand your body’s triggers and provide treatments that will help improve your health and lifestyle.