Irritable bowel syndrome, also commonly referred to as ‘IBS’ is a common digestive system condition. It can cause a number of symptoms. These symptoms tend to come and go over time and can last for days, weeks and even months at a time. Although the exact cause is unknown, it is linked to a few different factors. If you are experiencing recurrent irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, it may be time to see a specialist.
For those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, they may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Stomach cramps / pains which can be triggered after eating certain foods
- Consistent bloating / swelling of the stomach
- Excessive flatulence
Less common symptoms which can be caused from the above symptoms can be issues such as:
- Feeling lethargic / lack of energy
- Feeling sick
- Heartburn / acid reflux
All of the symptoms associated with IBS can unfortunately affect day to day life and can cause stress on individuals.
What causes irritable bowel syndrome?
It is extremely hard to know what causes irritable bowel syndrome, however, certain lifestyle choices and habits can contribute. Factors that can affect IBS include:
- Food: Food groups such as wheat, dairy, citrus fruits, beans, carbonated beverages and certain vegetables can trigger IBS symptoms.
- Stress: Stress can have negative impacts on the body in numerous ways, this includes irritable bowel syndrome.
- Severe infection: Infections such as Gastroenteritis can cause IBS to develop. It can also be associated with a surplus of bacteria in the intestines.
- Nervous system issues: If there are issues with the nervous and digestive system, this can cause discomfort when your abdominal stretches from gas or stools.
How to manage irritable bowel syndrome symptoms
There are many things you can do to manage and avoid irritable bowel syndrome symptoms such as:
- Cooking at home using fresh ingredients as much as possible.
- Keeping a note of what you’re eating, to see which food irritates your stomach the most (this allows you to avoid trigger foods).
- Try to find ways to keep calm and to relax.
- Try to exercise regularly.
- Don’t skip meal times.
- Do not eat too quickly.
- Avoid spicy, fatty and processed foods.
- Do not eat more than 3 portions of fruit a day.
- Avoid drinking more than 3 cups of caffeinated drinks a day.
- Avoid drinking fizzy drinks and drink as little alcohol as possible.
The best way to help relieve constipation is by trying to drink as much water as you can, as this helps your poo become softer and hydrates your body. Eating high fibre foods such as oats, carrots, peeled potatoes and linseeds. You can also ask your pharmacist about any medication that could also help to relieve constipation.
When to see a GP or medical professional:
If you have concerns about your irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and are worried about symptoms worsening, then please contact us for more advice and support. We have a wealth of medical experience and knowledge in IBS to help with your concerns.