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Is It Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system. It can be tricky to recognise in yourself sometimes because each symptom on its own can be reflective of a number of other things. The main symptoms of IBS are also that of many food intolerances, as well as the menstrual cycle, where many women would experience a flare up of their IBS symptoms.

The symptoms of IBS include:

  • cramping
  • abdominal pain
  • bloating and gas
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea

So when do you see a doctor rather than just manage the symptoms on your own? You can check the specifics of your symptoms on the NHS website or just speak to your GP if you have any questions or concerns.

Good news? (sort of) In most cases, IBS can be managed by changes in your diet and rarely causes severe symptoms. It can of course still cause a significant disruption to your life, in which cases therapy has been a very useful and beneficial tool for sufferers.

There’s no set way that will help every single person with IBS, but there are some general ways that can help you manage your symptoms:

  • Cook using fresh ingredients
  • Keep a diary of your symptoms and what’s happening around that time, for example what you ate or drank, to help you find your triggers
  • Try to avoid your triggers when you know what they are
  • keep a diary of what you eat and any symptoms you get – try to avoid things that trigger your IBS
  • Exercise regularly
  • Try probiotics
  • Find ways to relax and reduce/manage your stress

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