Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional gut disorder, meaning that it affects how the gut functions but doesn’t lead to physical damage. IBS is not a disease, but rather it is an umbrella term used to cover a collection of digestive symptoms that occur in the absence of any other causative disease.
IBS affects up to 20% of the world’s population and women are up twice as likely than men to report having symptoms.
IBS is characterised by
- Abdominal pain and/or discomfort (bloating)
- Altered bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation or both)
Symptoms of IBS
Symptom severity and frequency varies from person to person. In many cases, symptoms can be very distressing and can affect every aspect of daily life.
Classic symptoms are
- Heartburn & reflux
- Pain and cramps
There are also many extraintestinal symptoms associated with IBS such as
- Joint pain
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
- Poor sleep
- Skin sensitivities and acne
How is IBS diagnosed?
A diagnosis of IBS is made once your Doctor has ruled out other causative diseases such as IBD, bowel cancer and coeliac disease.
Symptoms must also fit the Rome IV Criteria:
- Abdominal pain for at least 1 day per week for 3 months, associated with 2 or more of:
- Changes to abdominal pain with defecation (pooing)
- Changes in stool (poo) frequency
- Changes in appearance of stools
What to do if you suspect IBS
As a qualified and registered Nutritional Therapist, I can help you identify the underlying root cause of your IBS symptoms and address underlying imbalances with evidence based protocols. In doing so I can help you manage/reduce your IBS symptoms and have a fighting chance of resolving it for good.
However, I am not a medical Doctor and therefore I can Not diagnose or prescribe. I partner with some brilliant Doctors and other practitioners that I can refer you to if appropriate. Your GP will be able to carry out the appropriate tests to rule out anything more serious.
Next up on the Blog – we will explore the main underlying causes of IBS.
If you’d like more information, do contact me – I am here to help.