Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, more commonly known as IBS, affects the digestive system and causes on-going discomfort and suffering.
It can be caused by a family history, but the exact cause is not yet really known. It is however related to sensitivity in the gut to things passing through. Unfortunately, there is not a known cure, although symptoms can be greatly improved with an affective management plan.
An IBS management plan could involve things like a change in diet, and/or certain prescribed medications.
Those who live with IBS can find it very frustrating due to the discomfort it causes and the fact that there is no known cure.
Symptoms of IBS
IBS is a common condition that affects the digestive system. Symptoms which can be temporary, or last for longer periods of time can include:
- Stomach cramps
Living with IBS
Unfortunately, IBS can be a lifelong problem. This can be very frustrating to live with and can have a huge impact on everyday quality of life.
Sometimes a result of family history, there is no known cure, but diet changes and medicines can often help control IBS and allow for normal life to carry on.
What to Do
We would encourage anyone with concerns about IBS to see their GP to ensure an effective management plan is put in place as soon as possible.
Patients should be very careful about making a self-diagnosis of IBS because other, more serious, conditions can present with similar symptoms. The symptoms of IBS can be identical to Coeliac disease (which is an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye). So if a patient thinks they have IBS, it’s really important that they’re screened for coeliac disease as per NICE guidance.
Some great diet tips can be found via the NHS website here.
Word from our GP
“IBS does not result in blood in the stools, appetite loss or weight loss, so if patients get any of these symptoms they should see their GP urgently."
Things to remember
- Your diet can have a huge effect on the severity of IBS. Please see you GP for help with your diet.
- Living with IBS can be difficult and has been known to lead to other mental health problems such as depression. Please do not suffer in silence. If IBS is affecting your metal health, please seek support from your GP.
- Drinking plenty of water is essential. It will keep you hydrated and can also ease constipation.