On this page I have created a downloadable IBS patient information sheet as well as providing answers to commonly asked questions about the condition.
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It stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a condition of the bowel defined by symptoms rather than by investigation findings.
The main symptoms are abdominal pain with constipation, diarrhea or a combination of the two which you should have had for at least 3 months.
There may be other symptoms including bowel mucus, bloating, nausea, urine frequency, indigestion, tiredness, early satiety to name just a few.
As of this moment, we don’t know the cause for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
There are many theories including altered brain-gut function, infectious causes, foods, environmental causes and genetics.
However, none of these are certain.
It can affect men and women although it is slightly more common in women and affects up to 25% of the world’s population at some point in their lives.
It is most common between the ages of 16 to 50, although it can occur at any age.
Yes, the symptoms can be seen in other bowel conditions so you are likely to require some investigations before the diagnosis is confirmed.
Other bowel conditions can present with similar symptoms including:
The type of investigations you need will vary from one person to another, depending on your age and history.
Most doctors will do some baseline blood tests including one that checks for celiac disease. They might also do a camera test, known as a rigid sigmoidoscopy, to exclude inflammatory bowel disease.
More complex tests such as colonoscopy, barium enema and CT scanning might be used if you don’t fit the normal pattern of symptoms, perhaps have a family history of bowel cancer or are over the age of 50 years.
No, the condition is not serious and won’t affect your life span, nor is it associated with any life threatening conditions such as cancer.
It can have an impact on the way you conduct your life though, although there are plenty of ways that you can treat it.
Having established that you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the type of treatment really depends on how severe your symptoms are, your wishes and the response you get to the more commonly used methods of managing your condition.
For a lot of sufferers, just knowing that you have the condition and having an IBS patient information sheet may be all you need as symptoms may be quite minor
You might find using the most common methods of modifying your diet, reducing any stress in your life and improving your overall lifestyle might be all that is needed.
Your doctor might offer you drug therapies, particularly if you have troublesome abdominal pain or excessive diarrhea or prolonged constipation.
Alternative therapies are popular too. Hypnotherapy is an evidence-based treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and can work well for some people. Other therapies including homeopathy, herbal medicine and acupuncture have also been used.
To download your FREE information sheet, just fill in your details below.
If you know anyone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, please give them a copy too! If you are attending your doctors surgery, ask the receptionist to leave copies in the waiting room as this condition is so common.
The more people are aware, the better!