Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a very common condition that affects around a third of the population. Those who suffer from IBS will see changes in either the frequency or form of their bowel movements and will often experience abdominal discomfort or pain.
Unfortunately, it’s a condition that can be hard to pinpoint for many. It can be triggered by a range of changes, including diet, stress and poor sleep. However, there are plenty of ways to make positive changes to your diet and lifestyle to alleviate some of the symptoms.
Read on to discover more about IBS, including the causes, symptoms and how to ease the condition.
Symptoms and causes of IBS
The main symptoms of IBS include stomach pain and cramps that worsen after eating, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. There may be days where these symptoms feel better but can worsen on others due to certain foods or drinks. Other symptoms can include flatulence, fatigue and tiredness, backache and nausea.
Unfortunately, the exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome remains a mystery. However, there are a range of factors linked to the syndrome. These include biological issues, including oversensitive nerves within your gut and a family history of IBS, along with dietary changes, stress and food passing through your gut too quickly.
What can you do if you have IBS?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of IBS, it may be time to visit your GP. They’ll be able to diagnose the condition and rule out other illness that have similar effects on the digestive system.
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to the condition. The best action to take is to identify triggers within your diet that can cause flare-ups. Often, food intolerances can be a leading cause, alongside other foods that your stomach may struggle to break down.
First, look at the foods you’re eating and consider moving to an ‘IBS diet’ that involves avoiding specific types of food. Certain carbs are notorious for causing IBS flare-ups which can be found in particular fruit and vegetables as well as dairy and more starchy products such as wheat and rye.
Then, identify if you have an intolerance to foods as this will ensure you know which foods to cut out and can help you make a significant positive impact on your symptoms.
Do I have IBS?
If you suffer from IBS symptoms, food intolerances are a big no-go. But first, you need to find out which intolerances you have. The easiest way is with a quick, simple test that you can do at home. At Test Your Intolerance, we offer a comprehensive Intolerance Screen Test which analyses against 63 of the most common food intolerances that you may find in your diet. This test analyses the blood samples against raised IgG4 antibodies to give you accurate results in under a week, ensuring you can get to the root of the problem as soon as possible. Raised IgG4 antibodies indicate a food intolerance or sensitivity which could be giving you a delayed reaction. These are difficult to self-diagnose since they can occur hours or even days after consumption of an offending food.