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What Are The Symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Irritable bowel syndrome generally involves changes in the frequency of bowel movements (and usually a change in form as well), along with lower abdominal pain.
The most common factors which trigger these kinds of changes are stress, poor diet or sleep, or changes in one’s gut bacteria.
The exact cause of the problem can be different for each person however, so it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact food or source of stress that leads to the issue.
Here are some of the more common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome:
1) Stomach pain or cramping:
Stomach pain is likely the most common symptom, and a clear sign that something more is going on than a simple flu bug or overly spicy meal. In normal cases, the good bacteria in your gut releases hormones, nerves, and signals to help control digestion.
However those who suffer from IBS experience an interruption in these regulating processes which can lead to tension in the digestive tract’s muscles.
This pain is normally felt in the lower part of the abdomen, and disappears or at least decreases after a bowel movement. Modifying your diet, finding ways of reducing stress, or taking medications can help to relieve this kind of pain.
this symptom is also very common among those suffering from IBS (about one third of IBS patients suffer from it). Studies have shown that IBS patients suffering from diarrhea typically have double the number of bowel movements per week from adults without IBS.
These accelerated bowel movements, as we all know, tend to come on quite suddenly and can even lead to sufferers missing out on social events or even work for fear of the disaster of a sudden onset of diarrhea without a toilet nearby.
in some cases IBS can have the opposite effect, where bowel movements become few and far between. This is actually a more common symptom than diarrhea, as roughly 50% of IBS sufferers experience constipation.
What occurs with constipation – defined as having less than three bowel movements in a week – is that the bowels absorb too much water from the stool, making it dry and difficult to pass. Common solutions to this problem include drinking more water, eating more soluble fiber, taking probiotics, or exercising.
4) Alternating constipation and diarrhea:
some patients experience a teeter-tottering back and forth between the two previous symptoms. It also includes the abdominal pain. This is one of the more severe forms of IBS, with more frequent and more intense symptoms, and affects only about 20% of those who suffer from it.
5) Changes is bowel movements:
this simply involves what has been discussed already: either too little digesting and absorption of water leading to watery bowel movements, or too much brewing time and water absorption leading to dry and hard to pass stool.
If you find blood in your stool, this could be a symptom of a more serious medical problem than IBS, and you should consult a doctor immediately.
6) Gas and bloating:
the altered digestion causes by IBS can often lead to gas and bloating. This symptom tens to be one of the most persistent and nagging ones for those who suffer from IBS.
7) Food intolerance:
many patients report that there are specific foods that trigger their IBS symptoms. While the specific foods vary from person to person, the most common ones tend to be gas-producing foods like beans, dairy, whole grains, fruits, or processed foods.
more than half of those who suffer from IBS report having difficulty sleeping. Difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently, and not feeling well rested in the morning are some of the unfortunately common side-effects of IBS. There is an interesting connection between poor sleep and gastrointestinal symptoms which take place on the following day.
9) Depression and anxiety:
there is another unfortunate link between IBS and mental health. There is something like a chicken and egg scenario, however, so that it is not clear which of the two leads to the other.
In any case, however, a recent study has show that people who suffer from IBS are more than 50% more likely to have anxiety issues, and 70% more likely to suffer from a mood disorder like depression.
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