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IBS Awareness Month 2024: Signs that you are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The chronic nature of IBS and the challenge of controlling its symptoms can be frustrating for both patients and healthcare providers. However, some treatments and therapies can help.

Written By : Health Desk Edited By : Kristina Das
New Delhi
Published on: April 15, 2024 14:56 IST
IBS Awareness Month 2024
Image Source : FREE Signs that you are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition of the digestive system. Its primary symptoms are abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea).

According to Dr Naveen Polavarapu, Senior Consultant Gastroenterologist, Liver Specialist & Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopist & Endocrinologist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad, IBS is very common. An estimated 10 to 20 per cent of people experience symptoms of IBS, although only about 15 per cent of affected people seek medical help.

Some of the signs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often begins in young adulthood and is more common in females than in males. The most common symptom of IBS is abdominal pain in association with changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea and/or constipation).

Abdominal pain — Abdominal pain is typically crampy and varies in intensity. Some people notice that emotional stress and eating worsen the pain and that having a bowel movement relieves the pain.

Changes in bowel habits — This is the other symptom typical of IBS. Changes in bowel habits can include diarrhoea, constipation, or alternating between diarrhoea and constipation. If diarrhoea is the more common pattern, the condition is called "diarrhoea-predominant" IBS; if constipation is more common, the condition is called "constipation-predominant" IBS.

Diarrhea — A person with irritable bowel syndrome may have frequent loose stools. Bowel movements usually occur during the daytime, and most often in the morning or after meals. Diarrhoea is often preceded by a sense of extreme urgency and followed by a feeling of incomplete emptying. About one-half of people with IBS also notice mucus discharge with diarrhoea.

Constipation — Constipation of IBS can be intermittent and last for days. Stools are often hard and pellet-shaped. You may not feel empty after a bowel movement, even when the rectum is empty. This faulty sensation can lead to straining and sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods

Several different intestinal disorders have symptoms that are similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Examples include malabsorption (when the intestines cannot absorb nutrients normally), inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease), celiac disease (in which the body is unable to break down a protein called "gluten"), and microscopic colitis (a condition that involves inflammation of the colon).

Because there is no single diagnostic test for IBS, many clinicians’ approach involves comparing your symptoms to formal sets of diagnostic criteria. However, these criteria are not accurate in distinguishing IBS from other conditions in everyone. Thus, a medical history, physical examination, and select tests can help to rule out other medical conditions.

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