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April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the lower part of your digestive system. This disorder can cause discomfort, diarrhea and other digestive symptoms. IBS is a common, chronic (long-lasting) condition. For many people with IBS, diet and lifestyle changes are enough to help manage the disorder. In some severe cases, medication or other medical treatments may be necessary.

Common symptoms of IBS include:

  • Abdominal (stomach) pain that goes away after a bowel movement
  • Changes in the shape of your stool following abdominal pain

  • Bloating (feeling like your stomach is full of gas)

  • Gas

  • Mucus in stool

  • Changes in the frequency of bowel movements following abdominal pain

  • Feeling like you haven’t completely emptied your bowels

The exact cause of IBS is unknown. However, symptoms have been linked to several factors, including:

  • Abdominal infection

  • Stress

  • Disorder of the gut-brain axis (issues with the communication that happens between your nervous and digestive systems)

  • Family history of IBS

Treatment for IBS may differ based on your symptoms. A provider may recommend:

  • Dietary changes

  • Avoiding certain foods

  • Certain medications to relieve symptoms

There is no specific test to confirm that you have IBS. If you are experiencing IBS symptoms, your provider will review your medical history, conduct an examination and may order tests to rule out other causes and conditions. A provider will make a diagnosis based on the symptoms happening in your digestive system.

For information about Irritable Bowel Syndrome, visit here

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