Does your stomach regularly hurt? It could be irritable bowel syndrome

13, Apr 2022

Do you struggle with chronic abdominal discomfort and the urgency of bowel movements?

You may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

IBS commonly goes undiagnosed. After a lifetime of suffering from bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation, sufferers sadly believe they have a sensitive stomach and don’t know to seek medical attention.

IBS Awareness Month aims to increase education, diagnosis and treatment. So, reduce your irritability, improve your lifestyle and get involved.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic disorder of the large intestine that affects nearly 10 to 15 percent of the general U.S. population, more commonly affecting women than men.

It mostly affects people who are 45 years of age or younger. The cause of this syndrome is still unknown.

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IBS affects the digestive system causing abdominal discomfort, bloating, cramping, gassy feeling, diarrhea and constipation for several weeks to months.

IBS symptoms can flare up unexpectedly and change over time, significantly interfering with day-to-day functioning. The exact etiology of this condition remains unknown, although research is ongoing.

To diagnose IBS by exclusion, patients may undergo testing to rule out other ailments. Testing includes blood tests to check for celiac disease, anemia, inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders, stool samples to detect ova and parasites, blood in the feces, or bacterial infection.

A verbal questionnaire to evaluate underlying psychological reasons such as anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions help determine any contributing factor for IBS symptoms.

A colonoscopy rules out other serious large intestinal disorders.

Although there is no general rule of what to eat and avoid in treating IBS, maintaining a  food diary helps understand what triggers symptoms.

Avoiding food containing wheat, nuts, chocolates, carbonated drinks, dairy products, beans and cabbage may be helpful.

Taking probiotics and homemade fresh-cooked meals help with the overall health of your digestive system.

Avoidance of drinking alcohol or carbonated drinks and unhealthy processed food also help prevent IBS symptoms.

Avoid eating too quickly and avoid having too much delay between meals.

Exercising regularly and eating breakfast have been shown to decrease constipation.

Stress-reduction techniques, such as yoga and meditation, are instrumental to pain relief.

Some IBS  symptoms can be relieved by modifying the diet and taking certain medications such as anti-diarrheal agents, antispasmodics, prescription laxatives and certain prescription medications.

There is no cure for IBS. Many physicians treat IBS symptoms more holistically to provide the most comprehensive approach to achieving relief.

If you suspect having IBS, consult your doctor. The month of April is recognized as IBS awareness month.

So, educate yourself and others about the awareness of the symptoms and get medical assistance with the condition if needed. Identifying the “IBS spectrum” of symptoms and underlying possible comorbid psychological disorders plays a vital role in subsequent diagnosis by exclusion followed by proper management of symptoms.Take the first step to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

To learn more about how to manage your IBS, contact Dr. Sue Mitra, Board Certified in Internal Medicine, at 321-622-6222. You can also visit her at and schedule an appointment.


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