Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be a very difficult condition to live with, therefore it is vital that you’re able to recognise the symptoms so you can receive professional treatment.
At the London Gastroenterology Centre, we work to ensure that our patients receive the right advice in order to live a life that is not ruled by the symptoms of IBS. If you believe you have any of these symptoms, it is important that you consult a medical professional as soon as possible.
Abdominal pain and cramping are the symptoms most commonly associated with IBS. These symptoms can be made worse after eating or during periods of high stress.
This pain may be relieved following a bowel movement, however it’s important to see your GP if you suffer with this symptom regularly. While abdominal pain is a symptom of IBS, it can also be caused by a variety of other conditions, including Crohn’s disease, a stomach ulcer or acid reflux.
Diarrhoea and Constipation
Changes in your bowel movements can be a sign of IBS, and how these are affected varies between sufferers. While some sufferers have frequent diarrhoea and sudden urges to go to the toilet, other sufferers will have constipation that will vary in severity. In some cases, a patient may suffer from both of these symptoms.
In cases where you have diarrhoea, it is important to drink as much water as possible to prevent dehydration. You can also use products such as Hydralyte, which is available in pharmacies. Remember, changes like this can be signs of more serious conditions, including bowel cancer. If you are experiencing frequent changes or inconsistencies in your bowel movements, you should consult a medical professional as soon as possible.
Abdominal Bloating and Swelling
Noticeable bloating and swelling of the stomach can also be a symptom of IBS. This may be alongside increased flatulence, and may require urgent medical attention depending on its severity.
It is important that you do not discount swelling or bloating in your stomach, especially if it is severe, as this can also be a symptom of serious conditions such as appendicitis or a stomach ulcer. You should visit your GP as soon as possible, or in more urgent cases go to your local Accident and Emergency unit.
Suffering from IBS can cause some patients to feel tired or lethargic, as it can disrupt your sleep and drain your body of essential nutrients.
Lethargy can make you feel very drained and leave you struggling with everyday tasks such as going to work; however a qualified medical specialist can offer you solutions following an IBS diagnosis by your GP.
A common side effect of IBS is nausea, brought on by consistent stress on the abdominal area and frequent needs to use the toilet. During periods of nausea, you must make sure to drink plenty of liquids and, if you find that it helps, you can take anti-nausea medication after speaking with your pharmacist.
Nausea can be a side effect of a variety of conditions, from pregnancy to gastroenteritis and some forms of cancer. If you are experiencing frequent nausea, consult your GP urgently.
IBS can be a very difficult condition to live with; however, with the right advice and lifestyle changes, you can make your condition far easier to live with.
These changes vary, from adjustments to your diet to further investigative procedures such as a colonoscopy. If you have been diagnosed with IBS, you don’t have to suffer in silence. At the London Gastroenterology Centre, we can help you to manage your IBS in London and the surrounding areas. For more information, contact us today by calling 020 7183 7965.