Drome Digest

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS is a group of symptoms that affect the digestive system. It is a common but uncomfortable gastrointestinal disease, or condition that affects the intestines.It is characterised by a combination of abdominal pain and altered bowel habits – either constipation, diarrhea, or both in alternation. Unlike other bowel-related conditions, IBS does not cause changes in bowel tissue or increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Types of IBS:

IBS  is classified based on how stools (poop) look on the days when one is having symptom flare-ups. People with IBS have normal bowel movements on some days and abnormal ones on others. The abnormal days define the kind of IBS a person has:

IBS with constipation (IBS-C): Most of the stools is hard and lumpy

IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D): Most of the stools is loose and watery.

IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M): Person has both hard and lumpy bowel movements and loose and watery movements.

Symptoms of IBS

The symptoms of IBS can vary widely from person to person but are usually present for a long time. The most common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  •  Excess Gas and Bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation — sometimes alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
  • Mucus in the stool


Symptoms of IBS can be triggered by:

Food- many people have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink certain foods or beverages. These include wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk and carbonated drinks.

Stress- Most people with IBS experience worse or more-frequent symptoms during periods of increased stress. But while stress may make symptoms worse, it doesn’t cause them.

Risk factors

Many people have occasional symptoms of IBS. Risk factors for IBS include-

Age-IBS occurs more frequently in people under age 50.

GenderIBS is more common in women.

Family history of IBS- increases the risk of having IBS

Anxiety, depression or other mental health issues can increase risk of having IBS

Managing and Treating IBS

While there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can often be managed by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress levels. Some common treatment and management strategies include:

  • Dietary Changes: Identifying and avoiding trigger foods can help control symptoms. Many people find relief by following a low FODMAP diet,(FODMAPs — fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) which involves limiting certain carbohydrates that are hard to digest.
  • Medications: Depending on the symptoms, your doctor might recommend fibre supplements, laxatives, anti-diarrheal medications, or even antidepressants in low doses to help control intestinal pain.
  • Probiotics: These can help some people by improving the microbial balance in the intestines.
  • Stress Management: Techniques such as counselling, mindfulness, and relaxation training can help manage symptoms exacerbated by stress.

Contact Drome Family Physicians if you are suffering from symptoms of Hemorrhoids.


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