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Updated by Surgical Associates of Palm Beach County on Jun 10, 2020
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5 Facts About Dealing With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What do you do if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome? Understanding how to handle IBS can be helpful to those who suffer from it. Read on to learn more.

1

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disease affecting the intestines, and more people than you would think suffer from it. It’s fairly common, causing abdominal pain and bowel issues, but it’s hard to pin down what’s causing IBS and how to treat it.

Doctors diagnose IBS by eliminating other things that cause the same symptoms. Changing your diet or taking medications are common steps to take before determining whether you have IBS. Additionally, a person must have the condition for at least six months, and at least three times per month. IBS is not a curable disease, but it is manageable through a variety of lifestyle changes.

2

Signs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

Irritable bowel syndrome causes abdominal pain at varying levels of intensity and causes constantly changing bowel habits. An IBS flare-up can last anywhere from a few days to months, and can also include symptoms like gas, heartburn, nausea, indigestion, and bloating, although this is less common.

IBS pain usually occurs after a person has eaten, and gets worse or intensifies during bowel movements, which could range from diarrhea to constipation.

3

What’s the difference between IBS and IBD?

IBD is inflammatory bowel syndrome and can have similar symptoms to irritable bowel syndrome. But they are not the same condition, and IBD is much more severe. IBD can cause inflammatory bowel disease, and could cause permanent damage to the intestines, bleeding, and ulcers.

4

How do you treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS treatment is typically handled with changes to a person’s lifestyle and diet. High fiber diets are usually good in managing IBS — and fiber supplements can be helpful if a person takes them daily.

If IBS is causing diarrhea, a constipating agent may be helpful. Also, drinking water, eating smaller meals, and eliminating certain trigger foods that continue to cause problems can mitigate symptoms.

If you are suffering from IBS, you can try gradually increasing fiber in your diet, with fresh fruits and vegetables, and supplements. You can also try to reduce your stress, and avoid spicy or fried foods, alcohol, and milk products.

5

Talking to a Doctor About IBS

Diagnosing IBS is a time-consuming process, so it’s important that you mention any symptoms that may be “off” or causing concern, as soon as they start. While you may not get an immediate answer, you can start to test whether certain foods or activities trigger discomfort and pain associated with IBS. These triggers will eventually help you determine a treatment plan that can mitigate your symptoms and help you prevent IBS from flaring up regularly.

For more information on irritable bowel syndrome and how to handle it, contact an experienced Palm Beach surgeon today.