Whether your IBS symptoms are recent, or you have been suffering for a long time, specialist healthcare is available to help reduce, or relieve the pain and discomfort you are experiencing. Diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the first step to getting your health back on track, as well as ruling out other gastroenterological conditions in the process, where similar symptoms apply.
Generally, symptoms include:
- Bloating, which feels uncomfortable and swollen
- Excessive wind
- An urgent need to go to the toilet, and a sense of relief afterwards
- Abdominal pain and cramps, that feel like your stomach is contracting
- Change in bowel habits, from constipation to diarrhoea, or a combination of both
- Hard or loose stools on a regular basis
- Passing clear or white mucus in your stools
- Feeling low of energy
- Feeling of nausea
These symptoms can also leave you feeling unwell in general and wider issues can arise, such as:
- Feeling low of energy, due to lack of nutrient absorption, or just from managing symptoms
- Feeling of nausea
- Frequent urination, and need to pee urgently, or incontinence
- Painful sex
People that suffer with IBS commonly have bouts of diarrhoea and constipation. Diarrhoea is generally caused when food moves too quickly through your digestive tract and results in the liquid from food not being extracted sufficiently by the body.
The reverse happens with constipation, in that the food moves slowly through the digestive system, and in turn, too much liquid is extracted making stools too hard.
Other thoughts relate to:
- Increased sensitivity of the gut
- Certain food and drinks that trigger symptoms
Consultation with a specialist that can conduct the necessary diagnosis tests is the first step.
Your specialist will conduct a consultation, examination and direct test of stool, blood, endoscopy or X-rays.
Treatments may include:
Life style changes, such as:
- Change in diet to ensure the correct level and type of fibre intake
- Change in eating habits
- Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight
- Reducing stress levels
- Antispasmodics, to reduce stomach cramping
- Laxatives, to ease constipation
- Medicines, to help with diarrhoea
There isn’t a one-size fit all with IBS treatment. It is a case of working with your doctor and a registered dietician to find the solution that works best for you.