Approximately 12 percent of people in the United States have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder that affects the large intestine, also known as your colon.
“Patients typically experience abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, cramping and flatulence,” Sanjana Iddyadinesh, DO, a family medicine physician in our Greenville market, shares.
The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but it has been linked to things like oversensitive nerves in the gut and food passing through the gut too quickly.
Females are more at risk of developing IBS than males, along with those who have a family history of IBS and are under the age of 50. This disorder sadly can be difficult to diagnose, but there are a few things doctors see as red flags.
“One of the main things we look for is does the patient have recurrent abdominal pain that occurs at least an average of one day per week in the last three months,” Dr. Iddyadinesh shares. “We also check for abdominal pain that is related to having a bowel movement.”
Some people can control their IBS symptoms by limiting stress and making lifestyle changes. Dietary changes, such as limiting sugar intake among other things can also help.
“Avoiding lactose, gluten and gas-producing foods can help keep IBS symptoms at bay,” Dr. Iddyadinesh adds.
And, if needed, different medications can treat those who suffer from more severe symptoms.
“We recommend anti-spasmodic medications for the spasms that cause pain in the abdomen,” Dr. Iddyadinesh says. “We also recommend anti-constipation/diarrhea medications.”
If you have irritable bowel syndrome, it is important to remember that it is a chronic condition that needs to be managed long-term.
“IBS doesn’t cause any changes in the bowel tissue and doesn’t increase your risk of colorectal cancer,” Dr. Iddyadinesh states.