Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
What is IBS?
The irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive disorder that causes abdominal pain, cramping, and discomfort. People may experience different degrees of discomfort depending on their condition.
When the digestive system functions normally, food is pushed through the intestine by the muscles contracting and relaxing. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) occurs when this process does not occur correctly, resulting in unpleasant symptoms.
The exact cause of this long-term condition is unknown, but treatments are available to help manage it. Unfortunately, there is no known cure at present.
Whenever you suspect that you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), it is essential to speak to a doctor. They will ask about your symptoms, such as how often and long they last. They may also ask about any lifestyle factors triggering the symptoms, such as dietary choices or stress levels. Once these factors are discussed, the doctor can determine the best treatment for your IBS.
Generally, IBS can be categorised into three types:
- IBS with diarrhoea
- IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhoea
- IBS with constipation
These categories can overlap - different people can experience different symptoms. In general, IBS symptoms include:
- Feeling as if you haven't emptied your bowels completely
- Needing to go to the toilet urgently or repeatedly after emptying your bowels.
- Pain in the stomach or cramps that subside after going to the bathroom
- Stomach swelling and bloating
Symptoms vary from person to person, and you may experience some or even all of them.
To diagnose IBS, doctors will usually assess your symptoms and family history and rule out other health conditions that present similar symptoms. Since no specific test exists to diagnose IBS, the condition is diagnosed through a variety of factors.
With Mobi Doctor, you can see a doctor from the comfort of your own home, so you don’t have to be self-conscious or embarrassed talking about your IBS. The doctor will want to know if you have had any of the following systems for at least six months or more:
- Constipation or diarrhoea are signs of bowel change
- After going to the bathroom, stomach discomfort or pain subsides
- The symptoms become worse after eating (this may only happen with certain foods)
Further testing may be recommended.
There needs to be a clear understanding of what causes IBS. The following are thought to increase your chances of getting IBS:
- Stress, anxiety or extreme emotions
- Food intolerances
- Being oversensitive to pain
- Overactivity in your brain
Although IBS cannot be cured, individuals can usually lead a normal life and manage its symptoms through diet and lifestyle modifications. In some cases, medication or psychological treatment may also be recommended for symptom relief.
Several treatments can help manage IBS, including:
- IBS diet - designed especially for you
- The FODMAP diet
- Techniques for stress reduction
- Prescription drugs
- Psychological treatment
A customised treatment plan will be developed for you to ensure that it effectively manages your IBS symptoms. You can learn more about the various ways to treat IBS.