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What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a chronic problem that affects the digestive system and its functions. If you are a sufferer, you are not alone. IBS is estimated to affect up to a staggering 20% of the UK’s population. About half of people with IBS consult their GP and 20% of these are referred to a consultant. IBS is not a specific disease but understood to be a multi-factorial condition with a variety of factors contributing to its expression. Anybody can develop IBS, at any age, but women are more likely to develop the condition than men, and it often develops initially in young adults.
Symptoms can vary from person to person but commonly include bloating of the abdomen and abdominal pain, accompanied by altered bowel habits such as constipation or diarrhoea but the symptoms can be more wide ranging than this such as lethargy, nausea, food sensitivities and anxiety. It is important to consult with a GP and have a diagnosis of IBS confirmed, and to rule out other conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
What causes IBS?
The rise in IBS symptoms could be link to a number of complex reasons. Important factors to consider, which may lead to and maintain the symptoms of IBS, are dietary and genetic factors, psychological dysfunction, hormonal imbalance and infection and inflammation. It is often noted by patients that stress exacerbates their IBS symptoms. However the cause of IBS still remains unclear.
IBS can cause wider reaching problems if unresolved, but here are some useful tips to help manage the symptoms:
Lifestyle changes and stress reduction
Other considerations depending on the individual presentation of symptoms would be:
Having IBS doesn’t mean having to suffer. It’s not always possible to avoid IBS triggers but understanding what sets it off can help to manage it. Everyone is different and it’s all about finding what works, and how to live life symptom free.
Got a question?
The brand you can talk to:
We have a team of Nutritionists at the end of our advice line, open to you, for product support and advice (5 days a week). 0121 433 8702 or email@example.com
Or head to our advice page where you can find Healthnotes.
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