Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder of the large intestine that affects 15-20% of adults in the United States. While the causes of IBS are poorly understood, we know it can lead to severe and chronic symptoms that can alter an individual’s quality of life.
The month of April is dedicated to raising awareness of this life-changing illness. IBS is diagnosed via symptoms and testing by a medical professional. If you suspect that you have IBS, speak to your doctor about testing and potential treatments.
What is National IBS Awareness Month?
IBS Awareness Month encourages healthcare organizations to focus on educating the public about the signs and symptoms of IBS. The goal is to encourage people to speak to their healthcare provider if they experience any known signs or symptoms.
Symptoms of IBS
The most common symptoms of IBS are bloating, cramping, and abdominal pain. Signs of IBS include a change in bowel movements, such as bloody stools or stools with mucus. Some people also experience rectal bleeding. There are three recognized subtypes of IBS:
- IBS-C: IBS-C is IBS with constipation. This is the most common type of IBS.
- IBS-D: IBS-D is IBS with diarrhea. Excessive gas is standard in this IBS variant.
- IBS-M/ IBS-A: IBS-M involves a mix of diarrhea and constipation. Some people refer to this class of IBS as IBS- A for alternating diarrhea and constipation.
If you have any of the above symptoms, see your healthcare provider. The appearance of these signs or symptoms is not enough to diagnose IBS; your doctor will need to perform additional testing for the diagnosis and recommend treatment.
Ways to Help IBS Symptoms
Because IBS varies in severity, treatment plans are done case by case. Some people can manage their IBS with lifestyle modifications and self-care, including exercise, a high-fiber diet, and relaxation techniques/ stress management.
Some cases of IBS require medications such as:
- Antidiarrheal medications.
Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for your IBS symptoms based on your case.
Products for Individuals with IBS
Whether you are caring for yourself or another individual, you should always follow your doctor’s recommendation in terms of what types of products can help with your IBS.
Helpful products for IBS can include:
- Fiber Supplements are great for IBS patients because they can soften hard stools and thicken runny stools. This makes fiber supplements a good choice for all IBS types.
- Stool Softeners: These help with difficult bowel movements.
- Laxatives: These also help with IBS-related constipation.
- Anti-Diarrheal Medications: These are great for IBS-D patients who suffer from diarrhea.
- Gas relief medications: These are helpful for individuals who suffer from excessive gas, which is especially common in IBS-D patients.
- Antispasmodic Supplements: These medications are rich in peppermint and other herbs that help reduce cramps and urgency for IBS patients.
If you are unsure which products would work best for you, contact your healthcare provider for advice. If you are looking for practical options for your IBS, Simply Medical has you covered. Check out our selection today!