Do you have IBS

Do you have IBS?

Are you one of the millions of people in the world who struggle with stomach issues? Do you avoid social events for fear that your stomach will act up and you will have to use someone else's bathroom? If this sounds like you, I encourage you to work with a health professional and no longer suffer in secrecy. 

A common stomach issue is irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. IBS is a problem in the large intestine, but fortunately, it does not harm your large intestine or lead to other health problems. The main symptoms include: bloating, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation. Although we do not know what causes IBS, most people who have IBS first notice their symptoms after a stressful event. Some people who suffer from IBS can see improvement after stress reduction or talk therapy. A few other things to try include: eating smaller meals, avoiding caffeine, and increasing fiber intake.

If you think you may have IBS, or a different stomach problem, I encourage you to keep a food diary. Include in your diary what you ate, if you had a reaction, what the reaction was, and how long after your meal your reaction started. Bring this with you when you discuss your stomach problems with your doctor. According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, 10 to 15% of the population has IBS, so please do not be embarrassed to discuss these issues with your doctor. Your doctor may decide to run additional tests to rule out any other diseases. If your doctor decides you have IBS, he or she will work with you to help relieve your symptoms, which may include prescribing you medications.