There are plenty of stress-inducing circumstances around us these days, and any of them can cause additional health-related problems. One thing is certain, is that not feeling well physically does not help mentally or emotionally handle the rest of the demands on our lives.
One of the misunderstood but somewhat common issues related to stress and diet is Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.
By discussing some of the symptoms, some of the remedies, and some of the warning signs that may signify that you need to contact your doctor, we hope to help reduce the stress that comes when dealing with health issues.
What is IBS?
Researchers are unsure about what causes IBS. It is thought to be primarily caused by diet but could be triggered by stress or changing hormones. The symptoms often include pain and cramps, bloating, possible diarrhea or constipation, and excessive gas. A warning sign would be if any of these last longer than a few days or are consistent in your life, of and on, for weeks at a time.
Surprisingly, IBS has also been associated with mental issues like fatigue, brain fog, and an inability to focus. It can also be associated with joint pain.
While not a serious illness, it can be quite interruptive and requires attention to help reduce the symptoms. Close to 12% of adults suffer from IBS in some form or another, and it seems to affect women more often than men.
Correctly Identifying and Managing IBS
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to distinguish IBS from other conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease since the symptoms or so common with bowel issues. Calling your doctor if you suspect IBS, specifically, if any of the symptoms seem to last or are repeated often, is the first step.
One of the key questions your doctor will want to review with you will be what type of foods you’ve been eating and see if there isn’t something that could be triggering your symptoms. Often it could be an unrecognized food allergy or reaction to something specific in your diet. That may also help differentiate your symptoms and identify the source of your discomfort.
Consider any recent life changes and the amount of stress you may be experiencing leading up to any onset of symptoms. Are there any correlations to be made? Any tracking or records of such levels of stress can help identify triggers and further point to a diagnosis.
The 3rd primary trigger could be hormonal, particularly with women. Do the symptoms you’re experiencing occur more often at specific points throughout a month? Shifting hormones can play a big role in your body’s reaction and response to other trigger factors affecting your gut health.
Scheduling an Appointment
If symptoms like bloating, pain, constipation or diarrhea, gas, or even seemingly unrelated symptoms like brain fog or joint pain seem to persist and are consistently disrupting your life, it may be time to discuss your issues with a doctor.
GI Associates has specialists readily available to help diagnose IBS or any related bowel issue and can help you develop a treatment plan to help you get back to your life.
For your convenience, consider scheduling a TeleHealth consultation via video, where we can discuss your symptoms and decide if an in-person visit is necessary to understand your issues.
Call 601-355-1234 or Request An Appointment online to be connected.