Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition that can present itself in different ways and may even change throughout your life after diagnosis. The three different types of IBS are IBS with constipation, IBS with diarrhea and IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea. In addition to the constipation or diarrhea, side effects may include gas, abdominal pain or cramping, bloating and mucus in the stool. You may also experience backache, nausea and fatigue. The good news is that unlike other chronic colon conditions, such as inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, IBS does not put you at a great risk for developing colon cancer.
Irritable bowel syndrome is diagnosed by your physician, and there are many different options available to treat your symptoms. Over-the-counter medications like fiber supplements treat constipation and antidiarrheals like Imodium treat diarrhea. This may be enough to manage your day to day symptoms. Often patients are able to control their IBS symptoms with dietary and lifestyle changes. Avoiding foods like dairy, gluten, fried and greasy meals, caffeine and alcohol may decrease the number of flares you have and allow for OTC medications to be sufficient treatment. There are prescription medications to help control muscle cramps and pain that your doctor may feel are right for you.
Living with IBS can be difficult due to the constant symptoms and the unexpected urgency to need to use the bathroom. Changing your diet to avoid triggers may help to reduce symptoms and urgency. Adding exercise to your routine may help your IBS symptoms because it reduces stress and helps fight depression, which is common in IBS patients.
Symptoms of rectal bleeding, blood in your stool, progressive abdominal pain and weight loss are not symptoms of irritable bowel disease and should be evaluated by your physician. If you have been diagnosed with IBS but feel your symptoms are not under control or if you feel like you may have IBS, schedule an appointment with the one of the doctors at Concorde Gastro to discuss your symptoms and find out what treatment options may be best for you. We want you to live your healthiest life!