Raising Awareness of IBS During April: Learn the Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Numerous adults are affected by frequent stomach discomfort and bowel difficulties. What they may not understand is this could be a symptom of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. This disorder affects 10 – 15% of people and is incurable. At Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Chicago, IL, it’s our aim to raise awareness of this condition during the month of April, which has been designated at IBS Awareness Month. Just because there is no permanent solution, though, you do not have to live with chronic discomfort.


Can we define IBS?

IBS is a persistent gastrointestinal ailment that involves the large and small intestines and impacts digestive function. Simply put, the intestines and brain have difficulty functioning together, and it causes the digestive tract to become sensitive and the colon muscle to contract more than usual.

These challenges can induce symptoms, such as gas, gut discomfort, cramping, constipation, loose stools, and other symptoms. If you are afflicted with this disease, you won't likely encounter IBS symptoms every day. In truth, some days may be perfectly symptom-free, while other days may bring symptoms that are worse — it honestly depends on the type of IBS you suffer from. The types of IBS are:

  • IBS with mixed bowel habits
  • IBS with constipation
  • IBS with diarrhea

The IBS specialists at Illinois Gastroenterology Group regularly provide IBS treatment to Chicago, IL patients. We can determine what type of irritable bowel syndrome you have and help you experience relief.


How is IBS diagnosed?

If you're having symptoms of IBS, it might be wise to get the help of a GI specialist near you. Our physicians can help you determine if your symptoms are irritable bowel syndrome or another problem. Before a physical exam, we’ll ask a few questions to help us analyze your symptoms and health history. In some instances, we might suggest a blood test or stool specimen exam as a method to eliminate any conditions that might be misidentified as irritable bowel syndrome. Typical signs of IBS include:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Swelling
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Urgent bowel needs

Once we obtain adequate evidence that you suffer from IBS, our gastrointestinal specialists in Chicago, IL can establish the best irritable bowel syndrome treatment to meet your health requirements.


How is IBS addressed?

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, so it might take some experimentation to identify an IBS treatment that works for you. Despite that, many people realize that they can make some eating and physical activity modifications and obtain great results. Normal changes that often have a positive impact on IBS symptoms include:

  • Starting a regular exercise regimen
  • Increasing liquid consumption
  • Avoiding all kinds of caffeine
  • Increasing fiber consumption (more veggies, fruits, grains, and additional fiber, like Metamucil®)
  • Consuming minor meals more frequently instead of three larger meals
  • Quitting smoking
  • Consuming fewer dairy products

It’s also smart to keep a food journal. This can help you identify which foods provoke irritable bowel syndrome symptoms so you can work on avoiding those foods in the future. Furthermore, if you take any medications, we may look at those to see if any adjustments can be made to the type or dosage.


Relief from irritable bowel syndrome is within your reach

If you suffer issues from irritable bowel syndrome, like abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and gas, it can be difficult to plan trips or activities, as this condition can disrupt even the most special events. We propose visiting our gastrointestinal physicians in Chicago, IL promptly so we can help you identify and alleviate your irritable bowel syndrome troubles. While there is no cure, it is possible to minimize your symptoms so you can do what you love. To learn more about IBS or IBS treatments, please contact Illinois Gastroenterology Group today.