The month of April brings irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) into focus. This is a great time to increase your understanding of this gastrointestinal condition, learn more about managing it, and connect with resources that offer updated IBS information throughout the year.
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is known as a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. In the case of IBS, “functional” means that the nerves and muscles are actually dysfunctioning, causing sufferers a complex and frustrating array of symptoms including (but not limited to) cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, fatigue, and diarrhea. IBS is common, affecting up to one in five of adults in the United States. But because nothing abnormal is seen on tests when patients present with such various and complex complaints, IBS is not a risk for a life-threatening disease. However, it can have a negative impact on the quality of life for those who suffer from this widespread disorder.
With IBS, a true diagnosis can be tricky. And, because its symptoms vary, there is no one way to be relieved from the pain and/or discomfort caused by IBS. In many circles, IBS is associated with another intestinal disorder not widely recognized by traditional doctors—leaky gut (micro-gaps between intestinal cells causing permeation of undigested foods and proteins which cause inflammation)—which, in theory, share many of the same symptoms with IBS. At this time, many healthcare professionals and those in the scientific community believe the onset of dysfunction can be traced back to factors including (but not limited to) gut microbe imbalance, lactose intolerance, antibiotic overuse, parasites, food sensitivities, and maldigestion.
Until scientists come up with a way to resolve IBS, individuals suffering with IBS may consider talking to their gastroenterologist about food sensitivity tests and/or a stool test to analyze the microbiome of the gut; many sufferers of IBS have found relief in diet change and/or food elimination. There are also lactose intolerance tests, as lactose intolerance presents similar symptoms to IBS, and breath tests to look for bacterial overgrowth. It is important for individuals dealing with IBS to get informed and speak with their gastroenterologist about appropriate tests.
The month of April is a great time to reach out to others with your IBS story. Share, connect and learn from others in the IBS online support community on theGIConnection. Registration is easy and anonymous, join the conversation here.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Resources, Community, and More at theGICconnection.com
TheGIconnection.com Irritable Bowel Syndrome Information Center has current, evidence-based information to help you understand and manage IBS. Get the facts about the prevention, treatment, and living with IBS. Stay up to date with news, tips, and features designed to keep you informed about the most recent developments and advances.
Connect with others who understand your condition and can share experience and offer support at theGIconnection.com IBS Group. This is an online community for people with IBS as well as friends and family members. Post your question, share your story, and join the discussion.
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