Do you suffer from IBS without knowing it?

IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and affects 10% to 20% of the population at some point in their lives. Women are more prone to developing the condition than men, although it's not known why. IBS affects the gut and the digestive system. The symptoms of IBS vary from person to person; however, there are some common symptoms. These include abdominal pain, bloating, wind, episodes of constipation and diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, and feeling like you have not completely emptied your bowels when going to the toilet. Other symptoms include depression, lack of interest in sex, and passing mucus in your stool.

There are thought to be various factors which may promote an IBS attack. These are closely related to your diet, stress levels, and whether or not you exercise. Because IBS affects the gut, diet is vital to fighting off or improving the condition.

Of course, when it comes to diet again everyone is different, so food that triggers an attack for one person might not affect someone else. IBS sufferers should take special care not to miss meals and to eat slowly. Is it also advisable to steer clear of foods that are fried in oil, and cut down on fizzy drinks, caffeine, and sugary foods. So a solution could be to go for the healthier baked and boiled options and drink plenty of water.

If you're not sure whether or not you're suffering from IBS, keeping a food diary could help identify what's triggering the symptoms. Once you find out what's causing your IBS attacks it's easier to plan meals to avoid those food types. Don't forget, if this means a substantial change in your dietary pattern, it's probably wise to consult your doctor. If IBS is really getting in your way of life, though there's no known cure, GPs can prescribe medication to relieve some symptoms.

Stress and anxiety are believed to be common triggers for IBS. If you live a busy lifestyle and your job is demanding and hectic, it may affect your digestive system and cause an IBS attack. You may have all, or only some, of the symptoms and attacks can last from just one day to over a month.

If you do feel over stressed and have experienced IBS, it would be a good idea to practice techniques to reduce your stress levels and help you cope more effectively with stressful situations. Examples may include setting aside a few minutes quiet time each day, practising deep breathing or visualization, or taking up meditation. Exercise also reduces the symptoms of IBS. You should aim to be active for at least 2.5 hours each week. This could include any exercise from sports, swimming, and walking to getting more active in the garden or around the home.
So are you an undercover IBS sufferer? If you think the answer is a yes then go get it checked out or make some changes so that IBS isn't ruining your life.