Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)is a fairly common disease that strikes between 10 – 15% of the general population so there is no need to feel like you’re suffering alone. The month of April is recognized as IBS awareness month which the IFFGD organization declared.
During this time, we join patients, family members, and caregivers to increase public awareness about IBS and help destigmatize the different types of IBS— the theme for IBS Awareness Month 2023 along with the hashtags #IBSAwarenessMonth and #YouandIBS. We continue to focus attention on important health messages about IBS diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues.
Facts and stats about IBS
IBS affects approximately 20% of people in India.
Women are up to two times more likely than men to develop IBS.
People younger than 50 years old are more likely to develop IBS than people older than 50.
Up to 50% of people with IBS get care from a healthcare professional.
The ABCDs of IBS symptoms
Experts define IBS by referring to a group of symptoms. Sometimes called the ABCDs of IBS, these symptoms include:
A — abdominal pain
B — bloating
C — constipation
D — diarrhea
Other symptoms of IBS include:
Contact a healthcare professional if you have any of these symptoms because they may indicate a more serious condition:
changes in bowel habits lasting more than 6 weeks (especially if you are more than 50 years old)
unexplained weight loss
a lump in your stomach or swelling
a lump in your anus or swelling
Build a healthcare team for IBS
A great place to start is with your primary care doctor if you have one or another healthcare professional you trust. It’s important to share your symptoms. You may need a referral so that your insurance can cover the cost of other healthcare professionals you may need.
A treatment team to help with IBS may include:
A gastroenterologist: A gastroenterologist is a doctor that specializes in conditions that affect the digestive tract.
A registered dietitian: Nutrition specialists and registered dietitians can help you plan nutritious meals that help avoid your triggers and may relieve your symptoms.
Behavioral health and mental health professionals: Working with a behavioral or mental health professional can help you address stress, anxiety, and depression, for example, which can occur from your symptom causes or result from your symptoms.
There are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to IBS. A general guideline can be followed to ensure that symptoms are controlled.
Make sure the majority of food eaten is homemade or fresh.
Keep a diary of everything you eat in order to understand what triggers symptoms.
Take in probiotics to help with the overall health of your digestive system.
Eat unhealthy processed foods.
Drink alcohol or carbonated drinks
Eat too quickly or have too much delay between meals
If you think you may have IBS don’t be afraid to do your own research. There are healthy diet plans on the internet you can find as well as tips and techniques listed such as here in this article that should help prevent this dastardly condition.