How Can I Recognize IBS Symptoms?
Irritable bowel syndrome, most commonly referred to as IBS, is a condition that affects the functioning of the gastrointestinal system. There is often no obvious cause for the symptoms, so it is usually described as a functional disorder, rather than a disease.
There are different categories of IBS, and your exact symptoms will depend on which type you have developed. This can mean that it is difficult to identify a case of IBS, as no two patients will present in the same manner. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that you should watch out for, as they may indicate that you have developed irritable bowel syndrome.
- Changes in your bowel habits will be one of the most obvious indicators that something is wrong. This may present as either diarrhea or constipation, or you may find instead that you are alternating between the two. These classifications of the condition are known as IBS-D, IBS-C and IBS-A, respectively. There is also a category that is sometimes referred to as IBS-PI, which means that you have developed the symptoms after experiencing a gastrointestinal infection (PI means post-infection).
- In addition to the changes in bowel habits, it is extremely common for IBS patients to experience abdominal cramps and pain in this region of the body. This can sometimes be relieved by opening the bowels and passing stool, particularly if you have the form of IBS that primarily causes constipation. Bloating and swelling of the abdominal area may also occur, which can add to the discomfort.
- Some IBS patients will feel as though they need to pass stool frequently, even if they have just done so. A feeling that the bowels have not been completely emptied may also be experienced. These feelings and sensations will often not be related to the amount of feces in the rectum, and even though you feel an urgent need to go to the toilet, there may be no biological reason for this.
- IBS can also cause mucus to be found in the digestive system, so you may notice this being passed out of the body during a bowel movement, along with the stools. This is a relatively common symptom of IBS, though it does not generally happen in people without a gastrointestinal disorder.
If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms, and they have not resolved naturally within a week, then you should book an appointment with a local Los Angeles colorectal surgeon. There are several colorectal surgeons located in and around the city who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, so it would be advisable to seek out one of these. Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the conditions that is diagnosed primarily on the symptoms you present with, so you might want to think about keeping a diary of your symptoms, if you feel that you may have developed the disorder. You could also include details about what you have eaten and whether your symptoms were more or less severe, as food can be one of the main triggers for IBS.