A very common illness that affects millions of Americans, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder that often goes undiagnosed. More than 80 percent of people with IBS never get diagnosed and live with the symptoms. Many people don’t know that they have the disorder and aren’t sure how to deal with it.

Here are the basics to IBS and ways to treat the digestive problem. Keep an eye out for these tell tale signs of IBS and determine if you have it or just a fussy tummy.

 

You have two or more symptoms

Most people with IBS have diarrhea, constipation or a mixture of the two.   SO how can we tell if we have the disorder or just a finicky stomach? To have IBS you must have two or more of the main symptoms.   The most common symptoms include: Diarrhea, Constipation, Gas, Bloating, Mucus in poop and abdominal pain. IBS is often diagnosed in your 20s, so be aware of your symptoms.

 

Your poop begins to look odd

You should be looking at your poop, I know its weird but you should be aware of any changes in your feces. Your poop will start to look different on a more consistent basis. If you notice odd-looking feces that lasts more than a day, you may have IBS. Keeping an eye on your feces sound gross but if you have a medical condition, you need to get over the grossness and act like an adult.

 

Pain in abdomen

Any pain in the abdomen can be serious so you should notice where and for how long the pain lasts. IBS cause pain all over the abdomen and is often not localized to one spot. So once again, it pays to pay attention to your body.

 

Doctor has ruled out other issues

Always consult your doctor if you have any sort of pain involved in your digestion. If a doctor has ruled out any other medical issues involving your digestion, you may have IBS. You may just have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease or even lactose intolerance. Its best to get this checked out before it gets worse.

 

None of the red flags appear

Red flag symptoms are serious ones that need to get checked out immediately like blood in stool or severe weight loss. Consult a doctor if you are awakened out of sleep because of abdominal pain. Blood in the stool could be any kind of gastrointestinal infection like Crohn’s disease, colon or rectal cancer.

 

What’s next?

Now that you definitely think you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome it’s time to get checked out by a doctor. Tell them about all of your symptoms and when and how long they last. These are all important factors to diagnose the syndrome. I kept a poop journal to chronicle my journey and to better document my symptoms, so that when I did eventually make it to the doctor, I was prepared.

 

IBS is difficult to diagnose and even harder to get under control. It takes a combination of dietary changes, adding fiber to your diet, taking medications and lifestyle changes to lower your stress levels.

Best of luck with your IBS and it may take some time but you will get it under control.