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About Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS is a complex condition and we don’t really understand the cause. It usually means you have more sensitive bowels than most people and in many cases it can be aggravated by stress or other dietary factors.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The Facts

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is actually a very common condition. In fact, it is estimated that between 10-20% of adults experience symptoms at some point in their lives. Some people can suffer for years from the unsettling symptoms of IBS. The exact cause of IBS is not yet fully understood, but a number of factors can lead to bowel sensitivity. If you are experiencing typical IBS symptoms, it’s best to visit your GP to get a confirmed diagnosis.

What causes IBS symptoms?

Here are the most common causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

Stress: Stress and anxiety are generally agreed by doctors to be aggravating factors of IBS. For example, incidents such as divorce or work problems can have a dramatic impact on your body’s natural digestive rhythm.

Illness: If you have ever had a severe gastrointestinal infection, for example dysentery, you might continue to have bowel problems later.

Diet: Eating on the run usually has a negative effect on your bowels. If you eat a diet that’s low in fibre and high in fat, this can also easily disrupt your bowels normal rhythm.

Hormones: For women, menstruation and other hormonal changes can also cause or aggravate IBS.

The symptoms of IBS

The symptoms of IBS can vary from person to person. Here are the most common symptoms:

  • Cramp-like abdominal pain
  • Fullness and bloating
  • Gas or Flatulence
  • Persistent constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Passing mucus as well as stools
  • Feeling like you haven’t completely emptied your bowels

If you think you might be suffering from IBS, you should see your doctor to discuss the symptoms that you are experiencing.