Type Irritable Bowel Syndrome into any search engine, and you’ll be inundated and likely overwhelmed with the tonnage of information! Everything from symptoms, treatments through to foods to avoid, links to other health conditions and offers to help set you free from the painful and often embarrassing symptoms.
But what is IBS? What are the symptoms? And most importantly—what can be done to ease them?
The term Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) refers to a group of symptoms, which together form a syndrome. It is one of the most common disorders seen by gastroenterologists, with 10-20% of adults meeting the diagnostic criteria.
What are the symptoms of IBS?
- Recurrent abdominal pain, on average at least one day per week for the previous three months.
- Abdominal pain would be accompanied by, and associated with, one or more of the following symptoms,
- Change in frequency of bowel movements.
- Change in the stool form.
What causes IBS?
If you think you have IBS, then just remember that the IBS symptoms are common to many other medical conditions and so the best option is to see your GP to rule out other possible medical causes.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with IBS, the first line of treatment is a referral to a dietitian for dietary management.
They will assess your diet for overall nutritional balance, fibre, bowel stimulants such as FODMAP’s and lifestyle factors. If factors like stress need to be addressed, they will refer you to the relevant health professional.
What are the treatments for IBS?
- Dietary Modification
- Gut-Focussed Psychological therapy
- Gut-Centred Hypnotherapy
Source: Dr. Rebecca Burgell, Dr. Peter Gibson, Dr. Jaci Barrett, Caroline Tuck, CK Yao