Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS Symptoms: Common & Unusual IBS Symptoms

IBS Symptoms: Common & Unusual IBS Symptoms

Plus What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Vancouver Dietitian IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition characterized by chronic abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. The exact cause of IBS is not known, but it is believed to be the result of an interaction between various factors. IBS is one of the most common gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, affecting about 20% of the general population.

Common IBS symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea and feeling bloated. There tend to be one or two predominant symptoms or triggers for IBS, which can make it harder to diagnose. However, with the right dietary and lifestyle changes, most people with IBS can manage their symptoms and reduce the frequency of flare-ups.

Even though IBS is not a life-threatening condition, it can be disruptive to one’s quality of life. Fortunately, there are several simple habits that can help relieve IBS symptoms and reduce flare-ups. Here’s what you need to know about IBS symptoms, IBS triggers and IBS treatments.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common GI condition that causes abdominal pain, bloating and changes in bowel habits.
While there are many possible causes of IBS, they are mostly unknown. The best way to diagnose IBS is to rule out other possible causes of abdominal pain.
Other possible causes of IBS include:

  • Infection – This is a rare cause of IBS and can be ruled out by testing stool samples for bacteria and parasites.
  • Psychological factors – This is a common but rarely addressed cause of IBS.
  • Stress – This is another common trigger for IBS, but it is important to note that not everyone who experience stress will develop IBS symptoms. Vancouver Dietitian IBS.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Abdominal Pain – This is the most frequent symptom of IBS. Women are especially likely to experience abdominal pain.
Some people with IBS may also have a bloating sensation or a change in bowel habits such as increased frequency of bowel movements or rectal pain. Other symptoms of IBS include:

  • An urgent need to have a bowel movement – This is often described as a “constipated feeling” or “back pain while going to the bathroom.”
  • Diarrhea or constipation – Diarrhea is usually loose and unformed, while constipation is usually hard.
  • Feeling bloated – This symptom is usually mild and may not occur for all people.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Triggers

It is important to understand the triggers for IBS. These can vary from person to person, but some common triggers for IBS include:

  • Stress – This is a common trigger for IBS, but not everyone who experiences stress will develop IBS.
  • Stomach virus – This is a common cause of diarrhea, one of the main symptoms of IBS.
  • Infection – This is a rare cause of IBS and can be ruled out by testing stool samples for bacteria and parasites.
  • Seasonal changes – This is more common in the winter months and may include the flu or other viral infections, which can cause loose stools.
  • Dietary factors – These include high intake of certain types of foods, such as dairy products, chocolate, citrus fruits, caffeine, sugar and high-fiber foods.
  • Exercise – This is a common factor for many people with IBS.
  • Altered Bowel movements – This is common in the elderly and is usually due to medication or other factors.
  • Mental and emotional factors – This is a common but rarely addressed cause of IBS. Ottawa Dietitian IBS.
IBS Diet

There are a number of dietary and lifestyle changes that can help relieve IBS symptoms and reduce the frequency of flare-ups. Some of the most common IBS diet recommendations are:

  • Low-Fiber Diet – This recommendation is based on the theory that some people with IBS have a “flattened” gut (low fiber diet).
  • Low-Sugar Diet – A low-sugar diet may help relieve IBS symptoms.
  • High-Fiber Diet – Fiber can be beneficial for people with IBS, as fiber provides bulk and eliminates constipation.
  • High-Water Diet – A high-water diet may help with bloating, which is often a sign of water retention.
  • Medications – Taking medications for IBS can be difficult and may not be necessary for the majority of people.
IBS Treatment

There is no cure for IBS, but treatments can help reduce the frequency of symptoms and ensure a good night’s sleep. Some common treatments for IBS are as follows:

  • Dietary changes – These can include a low-fiber diet, low-sugar diet, high-fiber diet, high-water diet and medications.
  • Lifestyle changes – These include regular exercise, a good night’s sleep, stress management and a journal to track symptoms and triggers.
  • Dentist appointments – Regular check-ups at the dentist can help with pain and discomfort, while dental work can be beneficial for some people with IBS.
Summary

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common GI condition that causes abdominal pain, bloating and changes in bowel habits.

Common IBS symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea and feeling bloated.

It is important to understand the triggers for IBS. These can vary from person to person, but some common triggers for IBS include stress, virus, seasonal changes, dietary factors and exercise.

There are a number of dietary and lifestyle changes that can help with IBS symptoms and reduce the frequency of flare-ups.

Vancouver Dietitian IBS and Ottawa Dietitian IBS Ashley Charlebois is a Registered Dietitian.

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