01 April 2019
In the Healthcare calendar, April brings us Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) awareness month. The focus is to raise awareness about IBS symptoms and encourage those who have digestive symptoms to seek medical advice. Another aim is to reduce the stigma associated with both IBS and bowel related illnesses, encouraging individuals to talk about the condition and the difficult problems they face.
We spoke to Consultant Gastroenterologist, Dr Robert Mead, about the symptoms of IBS, more worrying symptoms that we need to look out for and how he can help you. “An individual with IBS will experience discomfort on a daily basis, although the frequency and severity of symptoms can vary from day to day and from one individual to another. Bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, cramping pain, urgency and fatigue are the most distressing symptoms. These are usually worse in the morning, after eating, or with anxiety, therefore certain foods or situations may trigger IBS. Sometimes small changes are all that are needed to reduce the impact of these symptoms. Everyday life choices such as dietary measures, regular meals, undertaking exercise, limiting alcohol and caffeine intake may help. Careful choice of medications and a dietician review for consideration of a Fementable Oligo- Di- and Monosacharrides and Polyols (FODMaP) are more advanced measures. Individuals experiencing the above symptoms longer than 6 months, should consider an assessment for IBS and discussion of treatment options.”
It is incredibly important not to make a self-diagnosis. These symptoms may be a sign of IBS, another bowel disease or simply a bodily change. It is particularly important to be aware that any of the following new symptoms may suggest a more serious conditions and a medical review should be sought urgently:
- A change in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhoea, frequency)
- Unexplained weight loss and fatigue - Tummy pain and bloating
- Passage of blood and mucous
Please ensure you get the correct diagnosis by visiting a specialist, such as Dr Mead. Call our self-pay team today on: 01582 788 412 and they will be happy to help.