Do I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

When your doctor first tells you that you suffer from IBS, you might laugh it off or think that this will pass without much work on your end. It’s just another syndrome the 21st century came up with to describe normal things that happen after a night of munching down on greasy spicy foods. But once you’ve been experiencing the trademark “mild symptoms” of IBS for months on end, you’ll realize why so many people are looking for relief.

Symptoms of IBS

If you’ve already been diagnosed with IBS, you probably already know these symptoms well. However, if you haven’t yet spoken to a doctor about IBS, then these are the things to watch for. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s likely that you, along with 25-45 million others, are suffering from IBS. If you already know that you suffer from IBS, and you’re searching for relief, find more in-depth information on treatment and quality probiotics at Health Form.

Common Symptoms

The most common symptom of IBS is stomachaches and discomfort while going to the bathroom. Of course, everyone experiences this once in a while. What separates IBS from typical digestive issues is that people with IBS experience chronic pain, abdominal cramping, and discomfort. If you’ve had one bad stomachache, you shouldn’t be too worried about IBS yet. But if that stomach ache has lasted weeks, it’s time to start treating this as a syndrome and not a passing discomfort.

Common symptoms include:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Both of the above
  • Bowel movements that are difficult to pass
  • White or clear mucus in your stool

These are not unique to IBS, so it’s important to visit a doctor to confirm if this is a result of IBS.

If you’re trying to self-diagnose, which is never recommended but very understandable, then it’s important to know how doctors distinguish whether or not you have IBS.

How to Know if it’s IBS

Doctors check three things to determine if a patient is suffering from IBS. First, they check if a bowel movement relieves your aching and suffering. Second, they examine your stool to see if it looks different. Third, they determine if there’s a change in how often the stool comes out. If you qualify for two out of these three criteria, most doctors will diagnose your troubles as IBS.

Officially, according to the Rome II criteria, patients must suffer from these symptoms for at least 84 days during the past six months. Doctors, of course, are not going to neglect your treatment just because you aren’t reached an arbitrary time limit. The gist of this criteria is simply that the patient must be suffering chronic digestive trouble in order for their issues to be qualified as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

I’ve Been Diagnosed With IBS, What Now?

There’s no simple prescription that can cure IBS in every person. Each patient requires a unique treatment which they will determine with their doctor and, if initial treatments are unsuccessful, a gastroenterologist as well.

There are a few common treatment options for treating IBS. The first thing that you will learn will be your triggers. Triggers are foods, beverages, behaviors, or events that can initiate or exacerbate your IBS symptoms. Your mental health has a powerful impact on the health of your digestive tract, especially if you suffer from anxiety. Your doctor will also likely prescribe medicine for you or recommend over-the-counter drugs to help manage your symptoms. You will need to change your diet as well.

The actual treatment of IBS is a complex and holistic process. It requires the patient to alter their treatment, diet, and lifestyle. Of course, if this all seems far too much of a burden for you, you can always just pop some probiotics and avoid the foods that trigger your IBS. Remember, IBS is not something that can simply be cured, it is a condition which one must learn to live with.