What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic digestive disorder characterised by a group of symptoms including pain, discomfort, and stomach cramping. It often affects the large intestines.

 

Your intestines’ muscles normally squeeze and relax in order to get food moving through it. But if you have IBS, the intestines’ movement is hampered. This causes the various abdominal symptoms you experience.

 

The exact cause of IBS is currently unknown. Treatment is focused on alleviating the symptoms each time a flare-up happens. Lifestyle changes are also followed to keep IBS at bay as much as possible.

 

You can readily speak to your Mobidoctor physician via an online appointment if you think you have IBS. You can discuss your triggering factors and symptoms, get an accurate diagnosis, and be given advice on how to start a treatment plan.

Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome is often characterised by bouts of diarrhoea and constipation. Some present with more diarrhoea; other cases have more constipation episodes. Sometimes, these two main symptoms alternate as well.

 

Other symptoms of IBS include the following:

 

  • Flatulence
  • Strong urge to empty bowels for several times
  • Strong and unstoppable urge to go to the toilet
  • Stomach swelling
  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps or pain, easing up after going to the toilet
  • The sensation of not having fully emptied your bowels

 

All of these highly vary depending on the person experiencing the illness. You can either experience some or all of the symptoms. Severity varies greatly as well.

 

Diagnosis

A diagnosis of IBS is usually made by identifying symptoms, checking your family history for IBS, and ruling out other digestive problems that have similar symptoms as IBS. Usually, your physician will ask you if you have experienced any of the following for at least six months or even more:

 

  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Bowel habit changes, such as more frequent bouts of diarrhoea and/or constipation
  • Stomach discomfort or pain that eases up after going to the toilet
  • Worsening symptoms in general or after eating particular foods

 

Mobidoctor’s physicians may talk to you about all of these and diagnose you with IBS through an online appointment system. They can also arrange for a specialist referral if they want further tests to be done for confirmation of your diagnosis.

Causes

IBS does not have any exact known cause. But there are a number of factors that may potentially trigger it to happen:

 

  • Food intolerances
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Extreme emotions
  • Brain overactivity
  • Oversensitivity to pain

Treatment

No exact treatment is available to fully cure IBS. The condition is chronic and is only managed through various interventions and lifestyle changes. At times, medication and psychological treatment may also be given to a patient.

 

Here are the treatment options commonly given to IBS sufferers:

 

  • Going on a FODMAP diet
  • Going on a special IBS diet tailored to your individual needs and symptoms
  • Regular exercise plans
  • Stress reduction techniques such as meditation and yoga

 

Your doctor will help you determine which treatment options and interventions are best suited for your personal IBS condition.