Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can differ markedly from one person to another but may include:
1. Abdominal cramps or pain.
2. Diarrhea or constipation, or alternating bouts of these over several months.
3. Excessive gas or bloating.
4. Nausea, particularly after eating.
5. Headaches, fatigue, depression, or anxiety.
6. A feeling that bowel movements aren’t complete.
What to do now
If you have symptoms of IBS, appointment with your doctor. You should get a diagnosis to rule out more serious disorders. In the meantime, self-care can help relieve your discomfort:
1. If you’re suffering from diarrhea or constipation. Experiment with changes in your diet. Try cutting down on fatty foods or avoiding possible irritants such as eggs diary products, coffee, and spicy food. Try eating smaller meals four or five times a day to make digestion easier.
2. If you smoke, quit.
3. Include exercise and relaxation in your daily routine.
When to call a doctor
Call for an immediately appointment:
1. If you have pain in the lower-left side of your abdomen, fever, and (possibly) a changes in the frequency of bowel movements; you may have diverticulitis.
2. If you have a fever and diarrhea, or awaken at night with diarrhea, and you have been losing weight unexpectedly. Such symptoms may be signs of inflammatory bowel disease.
3. Have a check-up of your stool to learn whether there is blood or mucus in it, or if the frequency or consistency of your stools has changed; this could signal colon polyps or colon cancer.
4. If your symptoms interfere with your normal activities.
How to prevent it
Because the causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unknown, the best advice is to take care of your overall health: Eat sensibly and take steps to ease the stress in your life.