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Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a startlingly common condition but symptoms vary among sufferers. The disease can significantly alter a person’s everyday life, affecting their work performance, relationships, and their ability to enjoy leisure activities. IBS can affect a person’s emotional and mental wellbeing because of the inherent stress related to this type of health difficulty.

IBS sufferers are sometimes unable to digest certain foods such as wheat products (containing gluten) or milk (due to lactose intolerance). This irritation can lead to poor digestion, excessive gas, bloating, and constipation or diarrhea.

Methods for Managing IBS

The first line of treatment should be a positive change in diet. For instance, people suffering from diarrhea might want to try a low-fiber diet while people suffering from constipation probably need to increase the amount of fiber they consume. Obvious irritants should be avoided. For example, an entirely wheat-free diet may be appropriate. It is important for each person to discover which foods trigger their bouts of discomfort. It’s often a case of “trial and error” to determine which foods causes problems and which seem to be beneficial.

Sometimes a food diary can help you keep track of such concerns. Probiotic supplements (to supply bacteria aiding in digestion) may be helpful as well. It’s important to recognize that stress (feeling tense, troubled, angry, or overwhelmed) can stimulate colon spasms in people with IBS. Therefore, adopting effective methods of stress management become vital for improving the overall quality of life.

What are Common Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Many people may be experiencing several classic symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and yet remain unaware anything is wrong. Nearly everyone, at some point in their life, will experience occasional bouts of diarrhea or constipation. Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome also differ from person to person, but some underlying threads link them together. For example, the specific symptoms are often interrelated in that they occur primarily within the intestinal tract.

A few symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are listed below.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Loose bowel movements
  • More frequent bowel movements
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Not feeling “empty” after completing a bowel movement
  • Blood in the stool
  • Persistent fever
  • Sudden or significant weight loss (suggests underlying inflammatory disease or possibly a tumor)
  • Nocturnal bowel difficulty (especially if the symptoms wake a person from sleep)
  • A family history of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • New onset of symptoms after age 40
  • A mass discovered during an abdominal exam or other abnormal results

Abdominal pain can affect a person’s ability to work, rest, exercise, eat, or even engage in social activities. Fluctuating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (such as diarrhea and constipation) can significantly hinder a person’s ability to travel, attend family events, visit public areas without restrooms, or even watch a movie or public sporting event without missing part of it.

With symptoms such as pain, fever, constipation, or chronic diarrhea, IBS can also create difficulty with maintaining employment. Frequent needs for sick days or an inability to fulfill physical job duties can distort the perception of an employer, especially when explaining what’s going on is already an embarrassing proposition at best.

Many aspects of life, such as emotional health, the security of providing for your children, and just the ability to pay bills on time and avoid debt can be hindered by ongoing or chronic symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So take steps to avoid compromising your career fulfillment and personal enrichment.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome should focus their efforts on avoiding food triggers, getting plenty of exercise, managing stress, and modifying their diet by consuming organic, raw foods and drinking more water. You may have to live with IBS, but that doesn’t mean it has to become a dominant or central part of your life.

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