It’s National Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month and we are spreading the word here at West Gastroenterology in Los Angeles. This month was created in order to give the public a better understanding on IBS and the symptoms that come with it in order to encourage proper diagnosis in the future. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS, is a chronic condition that affects far more people than you may imagine. In fact, nearly 23 percent of the population has been diagnosed with this condition, with many more that have no idea they are living with an actual medical condition, regardless of the symptoms they experience on a weekly, or even daily basis in some cases.
Why are so many people living with undiagnosed IBS?
The reason that so many people are living with IBS without any indication is due to the lack of tests that exist for the purpose of diagnosing this condition. Plain and simple, they have no way of determining whether the symptoms a person is experiencing is indeed IBS or something else. Additionally, many people have dealt with the symptoms of IBS their entire life and have just come to terms with the discomfort and more that they are frequently ailed with.
What are the symptoms of IBS?
While many people experience different combinations of the following symptoms, experiencing one or more is a pretty good sign that you may be living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or that at the very least, you should see your gastroenterologist. The symptoms of IBS are:
- Cramping and abdominal pain
- Excessive gas
- Diarrhea or constipation – sometimes alternating
- Stool that contains mucus
Treatment and Control of IBS
One of the most frustrating aspects of IBS is that as of right now, there is no actual cure. However, there are several ways that patients who are suffering with this condition can get control over their symptoms. The most common way patients do this is by changing their nutritional habits. This may mean adding certain foods to their diet while removing others. Additionally, many physicians will suggest that those who are living with IBS begin using probiotics and additional medications that are meant to improve gut health. Lastly, counseling can also be suggested if the patient’s symptoms tend to flare up in times of high stress or anxiety.
Additional Facts to Remember about IBS
While doctors are still not entirely sure why IBS occurs in some and not others, they do know that this condition is linked to cancer and colitis. On the other hand, by eating well and staying healthy, IBS does not pose any threats as far as cutting your life short is concerned. While it is a long-term condition, Irritable Bowel Syndrome will likely not cause you to live any differently than you would otherwise once you learn how to manage your side effects. If you think you may be suffering from IBS, contact West Gastroenterology in Los Angeles today. We may be able to help you get your symptoms under control or find out what else could possibly be ailing you.