If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) you certainly aren’t alone!
IBS develops in as many as 1 in 5 Australians at some point in their lifetime and is twice as common in women as it is in men.
IBS Awareness Month in April aims to raise awareness about IBS. This event encourages people who have symptoms of IBS to seek medical advice. A further aim is to reduce the stigma associated with IBS by encouraging people to talk more about this condition.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the functioning of the bowel. IBS is a disorder in which a person experiences chronic, recurrent bowel problems and abdominal pain.
Bowel problems may include constipation, diarrhoea, pain or a combination of these.
How do I know if I have IBS?
The main feature of IBS is abdominal pain associated with a change in bowel habits.
Symptoms to look for include:
recurring episodes of diarrhoea or constipation
symptoms that alternate between diarrhoea and constipation
pain or discomfort that is relieved by passing wind or going to the toilet
symptoms are more common in women and may be worse around menstruation or at times of stress
IBS does not cause bleeding from the back passage.
IBS is usually diagnosed based on your symptoms and your medical history. There is no medical test that can be used to confirm a diagnosis, although tests (such as a blood test or a colonoscopy) may be required to rule out other conditions.
How is IBS treated?
It is important to have a doctor who can carefully explain your condition, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a management plan suitable for your individual needs.
Managing IBS may include one or all of the following:
reassurance that the symptoms are not due to cancer
changing your lifestyle and diet
reviewing medication that might aggravate diarrhoea or constipation
a good healthy diet, including dietary fibre
A person with IBS will experience intestinal discomfort on a daily basis. However, the frequency and severity of IBS symptoms are not predictable and can vary. If IBS is not managed, this disorder can be disruptive to all aspects of a person’s life.
It is important to visit your doctor if you have any concerns in this area. IBS cannot be cured, however once medical assistance is sought and the condition managed, IBS may give minimal or no disruption to a person’s life.
So, don't suffer in silence, please contact one of our medical practices today.
Delivering ‘high quality health care’ across the Central Coast