Irritable bowel syndrome (commonly referred to as IBS) is a relatively common disorder that affects a person’s large intestine. Symptoms of IBS include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating gas, diarrhea, and constipation. While the symptoms of IBS are undesirable, the fortunate aspect of IBS is that it does not cause permanent damage to the colon as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis do. For many people, IBS can be controlled by a specifically managed diet, lifestyle changes, and limited stress.
Most people go through different stages of IBS. It will be worse at times, and then the symptoms will lessen. Some people only experience mild signs and symptoms, while others experience severe signs and symptoms that can be disabling. IBS is considered to be a chronic condition because it occurs off and on for years, and for some it is a lifetime condition. It is important for people to see their doctor if they experience symptoms of IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome can occur with other more serious diseases, therefore it is important to discuss all symptoms with a physician.
While it is not known what causes IBS, it is known that the contractions of the intestines are stronger and last longer than normal which causes pain and bloating. Certain foods are culprits for many people. Keeping a food journal and recording what a person eats and the symptoms afterwards can help to identify foods that worsen their IBS. Stress also tends to aggravate IBS symptoms, as well as hormonal changes in women.
Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Your doctor can rule out more serious conditions, and can help you find ways to cope.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Bradley Bongiovanni, Wholistic Medicine Specialists of Atlanta