Close to 10% of the population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. This digestive disorder can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, impacting how efficiently food is processed and eliminated from the body. IBS is not the same for everyone, but there are some common symptoms. Here are the most common symptoms associated with IBS:
- Painful, abdominal cramping. Cramps in the abdomen, usually in the lower region is one of the main symptoms of IBS.
- Diarrhea or constipation. IBS can be either diarrhea-predominant or constipation-predominant. While these bowel issues are on opposite ends of the spectrum, they both can indicate IBS. Some people will alternate between diarrhea and constipation.
- Gas and bloating. Those with IBS can have trouble digesting certain foods, causing gas, bloating and cramping in the bowels.
- Fatigue. Many people with IBS struggle with fatigue. Insomnia is also common with IBS, which can contribute to lack of energy.
- Change in stool. IBS can cause stool to change from loose and moist to hard and dry. Constant changes in bowel movements can be a sign of IBS.
- Food sensitivities. It is very common for those with IBS to have food sensitivities that trigger symptoms. Lactose, legumes, fructose and wheat are common IBS food intolerances.
- Anxiety or depression. Some people with IBS can have higher levels of cortisol, which can contribute to stress, anxiety and depression.
IBS can be a frustrating disorder to live with, but there are options for treatment. If you believe you may have IBS, seek the help from a gastroenterologist. Diet changes, medications and certain therapies can help control IBS and reduce the symptoms for a more manageable, comfortable lifestyle.
Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David P. Yamini, MD
Westside Gastro Care
2001 Santa Monica Blvd #1286
Santa Monica, CA 90404