Date Posted: 1st April 2018
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is thought to affect at least 20 per cent of the UK population, leaving many struggling with symptoms including stomach cramps, bloating and sometimes other non-intestinal symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and anxiety.
April is IBS Awareness Month and although it is considered a benign condition, it can cause debilitating symptoms for some. It’s important to understand what IBS, is as there is no cure, as well as how to help control the symptoms as sufferers may be embarrassed to talk about it.
There are many causes for IBS; it is often associated with increased sensitivity of the nerves surrounding the bowel, it can be triggered following an infection, such as gastroenteritis, changes to the composition of “good bacteria” living in the bowel, as well as due to sensitivity to certain foods and other metabolic and hormonal disturbances.
Given the change in bowel habit that is often associated with IBS, it is not uncommon for patients to worry that they may have other more sinister conditions. However, part of the diagnosis and investigation for IBS is to exclude these conditions through blood tests, scans and understanding your symptoms.
Diet and lifestyle changes can lead to better overall symptom control for patients. To identify what might be triggering your symptoms, consider keeping a symptom diary and adding notes when you notice any reactions to certain foods, medicines, exercise and stress.
At St Joseph’s Hospital, we have experienced male and female GPs who will be able to assess your case and suggest investigation and further tests if appropriate, and discuss treatment options. We recognise that despite being a common condition, many people may be embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with their doctor. We can arrange confidential face-to-face appointments or telephone appointments at your discretion.
For more information about treating IBS or any other bowel condition, please contact us.