Irritable Bowel Syndrome or ‘IBS’ as it is known, is a common, long term condition of the digestive system. Symptoms include pain, bloating, wind and an altered bowel habit, constipation, diarrhoea or both.
It is not a condition which leads to serious health consequences, however the symptoms can be incredibly distressing and have a huge impact on the work, social lives and emotional well- being of those with the condition.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Abdominal pain which can often be relieved once bowels have been opened
- Bloating or distension
- Excessive wind
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Clear or white mucus with the stool
- Feeling of urgency to open your bowels, or inability to fully empty your bowels
What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
There is no clear cause for IBS. It is generally accepted that people with IBS have developed a sensitive gut. Sometimes people with IBS report that it has developed following a gut infection such as gastroenteritis, other times people recall always having the symptoms.
Stress and anxiety are often factors which make IBS symptoms worse and often people feel that eating certain foods can trigger their symptoms leading them to wonder whether a food allergy or intolerance is the cause.
Is it Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
If you think you may have IBS, it is important to visit your GP, as the symptoms of IBS are very similar to other digestive disorders, such as coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, colitis or diverticular disease . Your GP can rule out other causes for your symptoms and diagnose whether you have IBS. It is very important that you have further tests before you make any dietary changes to treat your symptoms. IBS can be quite difficult to treat and treatments tend to focus on diet and lifestyle changes, there are also some medications which some people find can help to ease symptoms.
How Irritable Bowel Syndrome is Treated?
Many people have successfully treated their IBS with dietary changes, in particular the low FODMAP diet in recent years had proven to have a very high success rate in treating the symptoms, if undertaken with the support of an appropriately trained Dietitian, Mairi Wilcock has undertaken training on the low FODMAP process and has several years’ experience of supporting her clients through this process.
You can find additional information here about the low FODMAP diet.