Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long term.
It can be challenging to identify the root cause of your constipation and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Your symptoms could be caused by anything from an illness to stress, but the exact cause is not yet entirely understood.
To identify the source of the issue and create the most effective treatment strategy, it’s critical to consult your doctor if your symptoms worsen or are linked to other variables.
You only seek relief in the interim. Moreover, there are a few things you may do right away that could assist reduce your symptoms. Depending on what’s causing your symptoms, some of these may require some trial-and-error:
- De-stress. Because there is a significant correlation between stress and the symptoms of IBS, according to Shahnaz Sultan, MD, spokesman for the American Gastroenterological Association and Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota:
- regular exercise
- deep breathing
- mindfulness training
2. Don’t be pessimistic (which bumps up your stress level). Sultan claims that, in contrast to common assumption, an endoscopy is not required to diagnose IBS. Based on something known as the Rome criteria, a diagnosis is made (the kind, and duration, of symptoms). Additionally, you’ll be pleased to learn that there is no proof to suggest an elevated risk or susceptibility to acquiring cancer.
3. Maintain a food diary. You can use this to determine which foods make IBS symptoms worse. Many people may have greater stomach discomfort when they consume caffeine, high-fat foods, milk products, or artificial sweeteners. It could be beneficial to recognize certain foods and cut them out of your diet.
4. Consume a balanced diet. Wholegrain breads, fiber-rich foods, fruits, and veggies should all be part of this.
5. Maintain a diet of small, frequent meals. Alternately, consume fewer of your daily three meals. Large meals may worsen other IBS symptoms, such as cramps and diarrhea.
6. Drink a lot of water and exercise frequently to help promote digestive function.
7. Take medication. Fiber products sold over-the-counter, such as Metamucil, can aid in controlling constipation. The kind and brand that are ideal for you should be discussed with your doctor. For patients with more severe symptoms, newer medications that target the intestines directly to relieve abdominal pain and regulate constipation are typically advised.
When to visit a physician
Consult your doctor to evaluate whether your symptoms are caused by IBS or something else if:
- You are older than 50, with constant or severe symptoms
- The pattern of your symptoms has change
- Your symptoms are associated with “alarm symptoms,” such as weight loss, progressive pain, or bleeding.