Everything you need to know about Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long term medical condition that involves the digestive system. It causes discomfort, bloating, stomach pain and constipation or diarrhoea. If you think that you are suffering from IBS then you are not alone, as one in five people have IBS, with the first symptoms usually experienced between the ages of twenty and thirty. Below we explore common symptoms, diagnosis and management of IBS.

What are the symptoms?

This can vary considerably between individuals. Symptoms can often last for a few days, or weeks, with periods in between when there are no symptoms. A flair up may occur due to eating a type of food, or when under considerable stress.

The usual symptoms of IBS include stomach pain and bloating. You’ll also possibly notice changes in your bowel habits, and at times you may feel the sudden need to empty your bowels, and quickly. You may also pass mucus, which may feel very upsetting.

If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, then you need to make an appointment with your GP. If you have other symptoms that include sudden weight loss when you haven’t been trying to lose weight, swelling of the stomach, and bleeding from your bottom (anus), then you need to make an appointment with your GP for further investigations,

How is IBS diagnosed?

In most cases, IBS is diagnosed by your symptoms, as discussed above, and blood tests. What your GP will want to rule out is other more serious problems, as the symptoms of IBS can be similar to other issues such as coeliac disease. If your symptoms include sudden and dramatic weight loss with passing blood and mucous, then you will need further investigations such as a colonoscopy. This will check for any abnormalities that involve the gut.

Management of IBS

There are a number of ways that IBS can be managed. This is usually through changes in the diet and identifying any food changes by keeping a food diary. Exercise and adopting relaxation techniques can also help to relieve symptoms.

If your GP does recommend further investigations due to bleeding from the bottom and pain when using the toilet, then we can help you here at our London Clinic. For further information please do fill out our online form or give us a call today.

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