IBS is a common digestive problem that can affect anyone of any age -- even children -- though, two in three cases are women. Though its exact cause isn’t known, IBS may be the result of how your gut, brain, and nervous system interact. This is because each of these areas contributes to a normal bowel movement and its sensations.
Dr. Hardeep M. Singh is an experienced gastroenterologist practicing in Orange County, California, and serves the Santa Ana, Irvine, and Newport Beach communities. If you’re having digestive problems, he can work closely with you to determine whether or not they may be due to IBS.
Understanding irritable bowel syndrome
IBS is a chronic condition affecting your colon. Also known as the large intestine, your colon works continuously to remove waste from your body. Its main job is to turn the food you’ve eaten and digested into stools so they can leave your body. To do this, your colon has to reabsorb electrolytes and water. This is why dehydration can cause constipation or hard stools that are difficult to pass.
Because irritable bowel syndrome affects your colon, the most significant signs of the condition are lower abdominal pain and changes in the form or frequency of your bowel movements. For most men and women, these symptoms are unpredictable and can affect their daily lives.
IBS is also known as spastic or irritable colon and spastic or mucous colitis.
Recognizing the symptoms of IBS
When you have IBS, your symptoms can vary from minor to severe. In most cases, they last at least three days each month for a minimum of three months.
The most common symptoms of IBS include:
- Pain and cramping
- Gas and bloating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Alternating between constipation and diarrhea
- Changes in your stools and frequency
- Mucus in your stool
- Moderate pain relief after a bowel movement
- Food intolerance
- Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
- Anxiety and depression
In women, IBS also appears to be associated with hormones. Not only do menopausal women have fewer issues with IBS, but those who are pregnant or menstruating often experience more pronounced or severe symptoms.
Because several different bowel diseases can cause similar symptoms to IBS, it’s essential to contact Dr. Singh if you’re experiencing digestive problems or changes in your bowels.
Managing irritable bowel syndrome
After reaching an IBS diagnosis, Dr. Singh works closely with you to develop the most effective management strategy. There isn’t a cure for IBS, but Dr. Singh can help you control your symptoms through a combination of personalized approaches, including his custom-designed diet plan, Healthier You.
Additional methods for managing irritable bowel syndrome include:
- Stress reduction techniques
- Regular exercise
- Reducing caffeine intake
- Eating smaller meals
- Drinking more water
For severe IBS cases that don’t respond to conservative treatments, Dr. Singh might recommend prescription drugs, anti-diarrhea medication, or fiber supplements.
To see if your digestion troubles are from IBS, call Hardeep M. Singh, M.D., or schedule an appointment online today.