Do I Have IBS?: The Signs and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome… it’s the topic we don’t want to, but definitely need to talk about.

It’s more common than you may have thought, did you know around 10-15% of Americans have IBS? If you’re finding yourself running to the toilet, or never going to the toilet and suffering uncomfortable cramps, you may have IBS.

The good news is, IBS symptoms can usually be managed with dietary and lifestyle modifications. With the correct treatment, people see reductions in symptoms almost immediately.

Read on, for our full guide to recognizing the main signs and symptoms of IBS.

Physical Symptoms of IBS

As the name suggests, the main symptoms of IBS relate directly to bowel movements. But, the signs of IBS can vary from person to person. A rule of thumb: if digestion causes you significant discomfort, or you are experiencing changes to your normal habits, there may be an underlying issue to investigate.

Look out for these main symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Changes in frequency and consistency of bowel movements
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Excess gas

Of course, everyone experiences these symptoms sometimes and it’s not always something to worry about. Think about it, if you ate half your weight in takeaway foods the night before, is it really that surprising if you have some less-than-pleasant symptoms the next day? But, when your symptoms persist or become unmanageable, that’s when it’s time to seek medical guidance.

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Sometimes physicians will prescribe medications to help manage symptoms but they will also recommend you keep a food diary to identify possible food intolerances. Around 70% of people with IBS identify certain foods that trigger their symptoms, but if you’re unsure of your trigger foods, look at these health tests to get more informed about your food intolerances.

Knock-On Effects of IBS

If you think you may have IBS there are other symptoms you should be aware of that may have an adverse effect on your health. The main knock-on effects are fatigue and poor sleep quality, but it can also have more serious effects on your mental well-being.

IBS and mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are linked. Although it isn’t always clear whether mental health problems cause the IBS or the other way around. Either way, gastrointestinal issues and mental health perpetuate each other in a vicious cycle.

To live your best life, it’s important to try and moderate your lifestyle to look after both the physical symptoms and the knock-on effects of IBS. Generally, it is advised to identify food intolerances, consume a healthy diet (low FODMAP works for many), and to remain active.

Get Ahead; Treat Your IBS Today!

So now we’ve identified the main symptoms, are you thinking ‘do I have IBS?’. If you’re unsure, the next steps are simple: get yourself to a doctor for a chat, invest in food intolerance testing, get active, and modify your diet.

You should see a reduction in IBS symptoms almost immediately.

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