It’s normal to have gas or digestive problems every once in awhile, especially after eating foods that the gastrointestinal system finds disagreeable. However, if you are experiencing bowel problems like diarrhea or constipation on a regular basis, then you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is an intestinal disorder that affects approximately 1 out of 6 Americans (1 out of 10 people worldwide).
Stomach pain or cramping
Frequent diarrhea or constipation
Mucus in the stool
Each person’s physiology is different. Some people experience only mild forms of these symptoms while others are completely disabled by them. Additionally, the symptoms may change over time. For example, a person could have persistent diarrhea during one episode but experience constipation during another episode. There may also be times when the condition appears to be in remission.
Unfortunately, irritable bowel syndrome frequently goes unreported especially if the symptoms are mild. A person may think he or she is only experiencing indigestion or other gastrointestinal irritation. Although IBS does not damage the colon and there is no risk of developing a more serious disease, it is still a good idea to get checked out by a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
IBS vs. Other Diseases
Irritable bowel syndrome shares several symptoms with other gastrointestinal disorders including Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis. This is the main reason why it is important to be examined by a qualified health care provider if you are experiencing symptoms of IBS. The doctor will perform tests to rule out these other diseases.
With the right treatment you can live a normal life with IBS. While prescription medications used to treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can frequently cause unwanted side effects, there are alternative treatment options that are less likely to do so. Read our reviews of best all-natural ibs medications you can use to treat IBS.