April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month and for this I thought I would write a blog post on IBS symptoms. It will allow my readers to get an understanding of what IBS does to the body and how it effects my daily life.
*Please note I am not a medical professional, and if you do experience any of the below symptoms, speak to your GP first, as you need to ensure that you can 100% rule out any other illness/symptom.*
In 1997 the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) designated April IBS Awareness Month.
The IFFGD believe that IBS symptoms are often ignored or undiagnosed, so they wanted to highlight IBS Awareness Month to the population and detail the symptoms with the three types of IBS.
Symptoms of IBS
These symptoms are pulled from the NHS website and are not all my experience. I will detail my experience below.
- Constipation — the stool comes out either lumpy or hard
- Diarrhea — the stool comes out loose or watery
- Alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
- Bowel movements that feel uncontrollably urgent, difficult to pass, or incomplete
- Clear or white mucus with the stool
The standard diagnostic guideline for IBS, called the Rome IV criteria, requires that you have these symptoms for at least 1 day a week in the last 3 months and that symptoms started at least six months prior.
Three types of IBS
- Constipation (C) – stomach pain, bloating and infrequent bowl movements
- Diarrhea (D) – stomach pain, urgent need to move your bowels, loose stool
- Mixed (M) – can be either of the above
- abdominal pain,
- infrequent stools,
- bloating and/or gas
- Abdominal pain
- Sudden urges
- Loose stools
- Frequent stools
- Feeling of being unable to completely empty during bowel movements
My IBS Symptoms
For me IBS started in the form of nausea and stomach pains. Most evenings, around dinner time I would feel sick, and nothing I did would curb the sick feeling. If it was a really bad evening, I would also get stomach pains and have to spend the evening in bed.
After a month or so of these symptons I went to my GP, I was put on anti sickness medication but this had no effect on me. I was then referred to a specialist and put through lots of tests. This was not the best time of my life, as you can imagine!
Another of my symptons was acid reflux, although at the time I was unsure what it was, as it felt like I had something stuck in my throat constantly. I do still get this sometimes even though I am on medication for it. I have found that Gaviscon is a life saver and always take this if I have acid reflux problems or feel sick.
Bloating is a constant symptom that I have and a lot of other people with IBS struggle with. There seems to be no real relief from this apart from peppermint tea and hot bottles. If you do have any other tips to relieve bloating, do contact me!
As I said earlier in the article – do not diagnose yourself, please go to your GP if you have any of these symptons.