Listening to your gut, literally, can help you avoid the discomfort of a common condition. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be uncomfortable, even painful, and it’s on the rise, affecting more people. It’s is a relatively common problem, but Millennium Physician Group Gastroenterologist Julian Sison, D.O., explains it’s important to listen to your gut’s grumbling to save you a ton of discomfort down the road.
“I believe during the Pandemic, we have seen a rise in irritable bowel syndrome,” he explains. “Given the anxiety and stress towards the current pandemic.”
IBS causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. It’s a chronic condition that affects up to 15% of Americans.
“There is no test for irritable bowel syndrome. It’s mainly a diagnosis of exclusion and whether or not you meet the diagnostic criteria,” explains Dr. Sison. “That criteria includes abdominal pain one time a week for the last three months, along with a change in your bowel habits.”
He adds it’s all about balance, “Sometimes even having an infection prior, in the past can also cause an imbalance of your gut and that’s when people are prone to getting symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.”
Research has found that stress and anxiety can trigger overactivity in your gut, increasing IBS symptoms.
“Because of the stressors in ourselves because when we’re a little bit irritable, then our bowels can become irritable,” says Dr. Sison.
Reducing stress as well as managing your diet and taking medications if necessary can help reduce IBS symptoms.