What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is a general term meaning there is a common gut disorder. Many things can contribute to causing IBS such as:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Diet related such as intolerance to foods
  • Bad bacteria in the gut
  • Overactive muscles of the gut

IBS Symptoms

The main symptoms of IBS can be a bloated feeling, pain and discomfort and the type of stools produced. Some sufferers of IBS can have diarrhoea (IBS-D), some can be constipated (IBS-C) and some can alternate between constipation and diarhoea (IBS-A).

What can be done?

First be sure to get a proper diagnosis by your GP/Doctor to confirm you have IBS. They will ask questions about your diet, lifestyle and give you a physical exam. They may decide to ask for further tests to be done to eliminate anything that could be more serious such as Chron’s Disease or Colitis. They may also refer you to a gastroenterologist who specialises in digestive and gut related issues. You may be offered various ways to help eliminate or reduce your symptoms such as medication, diet changes or lifestyle changes such ensuring you do more exercise.

Although IBS can be embarrassing, annoying and something you wish you didn’t have it helps to realise that at least you don’t have a more sinister problem. The fact that you are diagnosed with IBS means that what you have is not life threatening. Although it seems IBS cannot be completely cured, it can be managed and the symptoms can be reduced so much that it could be called cured. It may take some time to find out what works for you - trying various medications, diets and trying to fit in more exercise - but if you keep at it you should be able to find relief and improve your life a great deal.