Are you dealing with bloating? Do you find yourself dealing with unexplained abdominal discomfort or embarrassing gas after mealtimes? If so, it could just be what you ate or it could be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). From the office of our Hillsborough and Flemington, NJ, gastroenterologist Dr. Anubha Sinha, here are the warning signs of IBS and when it might be a good idea to see a doctor about your symptoms.
What is irritable bowel syndrome?
IBS is a condition that affects bowel movements and can lead to abdominal pain. What triggers IBS symptoms can vary from person to person. Common triggers include poor sleep, stress and diet. You could be dealing with IBS if you regularly experience,
- Abdominal pain and cramping (a classic symptom of IBS)
- Mucus in the stools
- Gas and bloating (other very common symptoms)
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Trouble sleeping (e.g. insomnia; restless sleep)
If you’ve been experiencing unexplained and persistent abdominal pain it’s a good idea to see Hillsborough gastroenterologist Dr. Sinha who can determine if you are dealing with IBS. Since many of these symptoms can be indicative of other diseases it’s important to find out what’s going on as soon as possible.
What causes IBS?
While the cause of IBS is unknown there are certain factors that can affect your likelihood to develop IBS including,
- Changes in your gut bacteria
- Certain infections (e.g. severe gastroenteritis)
- Intestinal inflammation
- Intestinal muscle contractions
How can I manage my IBS symptoms?
There are a lot of simple lifestyle modifications you can make to reduce your IBS symptoms. This includes,
- Following a low-FODMAP diet
- Exercising regularly
- Staying hydrated
- Taking laxatives (when dealing with constipation)
- Alleviating stress
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks (which can overstimulate the digestive tract)
Those dealing with mild-to-moderate IBS can often control these symptoms with simple lifestyle changes; however, those with more severe cases may require certain medications like Lotronex or Xifaxan, which can relax the colon or reduce the bacteria overgrowth in the gut that is responsible for diarrhea and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Hunterdon Digestive Health Specialists has offices in Hillsborough and Flemington, NJ, to provide comprehensive gastroenterological care to patients of all ages. If you suspect that you might be dealing with irritable bowel syndrome then schedule a consultation with us today.