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Have you been experiencing abdominal cramps quite frequently? Well that could no longer be a case of occasional indigestion. That could already by a sign of irritable bowel syndrome. But being a syndrome as it is called, it means that it not only involves mere cramping of the abdomen, but it may consist of a group of symptoms which include any or all of the following: gas, bloating, irregular bowel movement, abdominal discomfort, constipation, diarrhea, or alternating diarrhea and constipation.
Common symptoms of IBS with constipation
When a person is constipated bowel movements are difficult to complete, Your stool could appear as small hard pellets which look more like what goats or rabbits would produce. Sometimes you feel like you have a distended stomach and you feel a sense that you haven’t emptied your bowel completely. Here’s the thing. If you suffer from constipation at least 3 days in a month, for more than three months, then it may be rational for your health care provider to diagnose your problem as irritable bowel syndrome.
People with IBS who suffer from constipation may be able to manage the symptoms through some dietary changes. And identifying the trigger foods could be crucial. Generally you need to stay away from carbonated beverages, alcohol, and coffee as well as refined foods like cookies, white rice, and chips. None of these will provide much relief in the bathroom. Instead, you want to look at eating more foods high in fiber. These include delicious apples, berrries and other fruits. Or carrots, green beans and other vegetables. Plus cereals, grains, nuts, peas, dried beans, and seeds. Drinking prune juice has also been found to help loosen the bowel. And most especially, make sure you’re drinking at least 8 glasses of water everyday.
People with IBS who are experiencing constipation may also be treated by taking laxatives. But this would be something to look to as a last resort.
Common symptoms of IBS with diarrhea
We all know what diarrhea is. Who at some point of their life, hasn’t experienced having diarrhea like with the flu? And you know the feeling that you feel when you need to go to the bathroom urgently. Just imagine how draining that would be for someone with IBS who has to experience that several days a week, week after week.
But then again, with proper IBS diet, the symptom of diarrhea can too be somehow relieved. Trigger foods that you mostly have to avoid are greasy, fatty or fried foods, carbonated drinks, coffee, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and dairy products like ice cream, cheese, and milk.
You may be better off eating frequent smaller meals than fewer larger ones.
Along with eating smaller meals more frequently you may want to get more soluble fiber such as barley, lima beans, rye, and wheat into your diet.
Water should also be a major part of your diet as well.
Finally anti-diarrhea medications may also be given for relief of diarrhea.
Other IBS Symptoms
It is also possible that an IBS sufferers may experience alternating episodes of diarrhea and constipation. Another symptom of irritable bowel syndrome is abdominal pain or discomfort that happens for at least 12 weeks (doesn’t necessarily have to be consecutive) in the last 12 months. Additionally, the abdominal pain and discomfort must at least have two of the following features:
*when it is relieved by having a bowel movement.
*that when it starts, there is also a change in the frequency of bowel movement
*that when it starts, there is also a change in the appearance of the stool
Other symptoms of IBS that must also be present include feeling of urgency to have a bowel movement, presence of mucus in the stool, difficulty to pass stool, bloating or swelling of the abdomen, and gas or flatulence.
Signs that are not characteristics of IBS
Good as it is to know the signs of IBS, if you experience things like weight loss, bleeding, fever, and persistent severe pain, these are not symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Instead, they could be indicative of other gastro intestinal problems like inflammatory bowel disease or in rare cases some form of cancer.
Your IBS symptoms are often worsened by diet and stress. Therefore, it is important that people suffering from IBS must make a conscious effort in changing their diet and managing stress. However, if you haven’t been diagnosed with IBS yet you are experiencing these symptoms, immediately consult your doctor so you can be diagnosed properly. With their help you can minimize these unpleasant symptoms and lead a more or less normal life.