Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a common condition that affects the digestive system. The symptoms vary from stomach cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. The severity of these symptoms will vary from person to person. A typical episode of IBS can last for just a few days. For others, these episodes can be prolonged-lasting up to a few months at a time. Experiencing bouts of IBS is often linked with times of stress, or from eating certain trigger foods. Sadly, Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a life-long condition, although symptoms have been known to improve over a number of years.
What exactly causes IBS is still unknown, but most experts believe it is related to an increased sensitivity of the gut and a reduced ability in digesting food. This can lead to a sufferer becoming more susceptible to stomach pain, resulting from either diarrhoea or constipation. This is due to the food passing through the digestive system either too quickly or too slowly. Psychological factors are also believed to contribute to IBS, for example; stress.
IBS cannot be cured, however, there are a number lifestyle choices that will help to manage the condition effectively. These include; identifying and avoiding food/drink triggers, increasing the amount of fibre in your diet, regular exercise and avoiding stress where possible.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not uncommon. The condition is estimated to affect up to one in five people at some point in their life. It typically develops between the ages of 20 and 30 and around twice as many women are affected as men.