April is IBS Awareness Month!

It seems that every passing month offers a new perspective on one of many digestive health-related topics. April is no exception—it is IBS awareness month! Irritable bowel syndrome can sound like a daunting disorder because it is common and encompasses many different symptoms. Affecting the large colon, IBS can cause cramping, stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and constipation. Yikes!

The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but factors that seem to trigger symptoms are food, stress, hormones, and other illnesses. In times of high stress symptoms are more likely to be aggravated. Women are twice as likely as men to have Irritable bowel syndrome, which contributes to the belief that hormonal changes influence this condition. Acute episodes of gastroenteritis (infectious diarrhea) or bacterial overgrowth can also trigger IBS to rear its ugly head.

If you have been diagnosed with IBS you are aware that it is a chronic condition that requires long-term management of symptoms. One positive thing about this disorder is that although symptoms are inconvenient and uncomfortable, it does not cause bowel tissue to change or increase one’s risk of colorectal cancer.  Luckily, severe signs and symptoms only affect a small number of people with irritable bowel syndrome. Some patients find they can control their symptoms with diet change, lifestyle and stress management. Others require prescription medication and counseling.

 

When To See a Doctor…

Up to 1 in 5 American adults have IBS-related symptoms but less than 1 in 5 seek help from a doctor. Adults with this disorder should know the following symptoms may indicate a more serious condition, such as colon cancer:

  • ·        Rectal bleeding
  • ·        Abdominal pain that is most severe at night
  • ·        Weight loss

Your doctor can help relieve symptoms and rule out severe conditions so you know exactly what is really going on with your colon. Call our office today at 336-768-6211 to schedule your appointment!

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