Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects about 12% of all adults in the U.S., with women being twice as likely to experience this gastrointestinal disorder. Researchers have not found the exact reasons as to why people get IBS, but there are treatment plans available to help manage it. Plenty of people are currently walking around undiagnosed and merely living with this disorder, however, there’s no need for you to be one of them! So, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of this disorder to help you decide whether or not it’s time to come see us as your primary care physician to help you overcome it.
- Cramping in the lower abdomen is caused because IBS affects how the gut and brain work together. Sometimes the brain is signaling the gut to contract more than they need to for a normal bowel movement, causing your lower abdomen painful cramping.
- Bloating and Gas cause your gut to feel full and appear round. One theory is that IBS is related to your gut bacteria which can cause certain toxins to be released in the form of gas.
- Brain Fog is caused by intestinal gas and bloating, so it’s no surprise that this is also a symptom of IBS. Brain fog consists of mental confusion, problems concentrating and impaired judgement.
- Diarrhea and Constipation are two of the main symptoms of IBS. For a normal bowel movement the gut contracts and relaxes rhythmically. But the rhythm is disrupted by IBS either by speeding up or slowing down the gut muscle contractions. Unfortunately this can cause diarrhea sometimes, but constipation at other times. So you may be diarrhea-predominant or constipation-predominant. When you are constipated, your gut muscles contract less often than is needed. If you have hard, dry stools, difficulty passing stool, or fewer than three bowel movements a week, then you may have constipation-predominant IBS.
- Food sensitivities are very common in people who have IBS. In particular, there is a type of carbohydrate that causes irritation and inflammation in your gut. These include such foods as: onions, garlic, lentils, beans, almonds, cashews and avocados. These foods can trigger IBS and should be avoided.
- Feeling stressed out or fatigued. Unfortunately, IBS is definitely worsened when you feel stressed out or allow yourself to get fatigued. Your nervous system controls your gut, so it makes sense that it responds to your psychological stressors. On the back side of that, IBS makes you feel very tired or fatigued as well.
- Joint pain is common in people who have IBS. Researchers are not entirely sure why this is, but think it may be due to IBS causing increased inflammation in the body.
There are a number of treatment options available to help people with IBS manage their condition. This is a long term condition which can affect your well-being if you do not seek treatment. Call us today to find out how our concierge medical practice can help alleviate these symptoms and keep you in optimal health! (239) 466-6855!