How Do I Know If I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?


Posted By Author on April 26, 2023

Do you ever feel like eating or drinking “irritates” your stomach, causing you to painfully bloat, become annoyingly constipated, or send you running to the bathroom? If you answered yes to any of those, you might have irritable bowel syndrome. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS, is a common digestive condition that causes a variety of uncomfortable and inconvenient bowel issues. At Charleston GI, we’re here to help.

Our Charleston GI doctors offer the medical expertise to get your gut sorted out and understand what irritable bowel syndrome looks like for you.

Read on to learn more! 

Causes and Symptoms of IBS   

While there isn’t an exact cause for IBS, it’s believed to be the result of a combination of factors. Those factors can include:

  • Dysmotility: Issues with your GI muscles’ ability to contract and move food through your digestive tract.
  • Visceral hypersensitivity: Overly sensitive nerves in your GI tract
  • Brain-gut dysfunction: Miscommunication between the nerves in your brain and your gut
  • Stress
  • Family history

Symptoms of IBS can include the following:

  • Abdominal pain/cramps, typically in the lower half of your belly
  • Excessive gas
  • Bloating
  • Whitish mucus in your poop
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Lack of energy
  • Lower backaches

How is IBS Diagnosed and Treated? 

To determine whether or not you have IBS, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, how long they’ve been occurring, how often they occur, and if they are triggered by certain foods. They will also ask questions about your family history of gastrointestinal conditions.

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may order blood tests, a colonoscopy, x-rays, or other tests to rule out any other causes. Once other GI conditions are ruled out, your doctor will diagnose you based on your symptoms.

Treatment for IBS will vary from person to person, and it may take some time to perfect it for your needs. 

Diet

Doctors most commonly start with your diet and make changes based on what triggers your IBS symptoms. That may include avoiding gluten, eliminating dairy, trying a low FODMAP diet, or increasing your fiber intake. Before making any dietary changes, please consult a doctor.

Medications

Your doctor may prescribe laxatives to relieve occasional constipation, antidiarrheal medications, IBS-specific medications, dietary supplements, probiotics, or antidepressants/anti-anxiety medication if your symptoms are worsened by depression or anxiety.

Therapy

If your IBS is caused by major stress, depression, or anxiety, seeing a therapist or psychologist may be beneficial. With the help of a therapist, you can develop techniques to help manage your stress and any aspects of your life that may be resulting in increased stress or anxiety. 

What to Do   

If you think your symptoms might be caused by IBS, the first thing to do is call your GI doctor and schedule an appointment. It’s important to have the help of an experienced gastroenterologist, like our team here at Charleston GI, to make sure your symptoms are not caused by a different GI issue.

Once you’ve met with your doctor, follow their instructions for treatment, adjust your diet as directed, and call on them whenever something isn’t working for you or if symptoms worsen. At Charleston GI, we’re here for you.

Think You Have IBS? Contact Charleston GI Today!

Suffering from irritable bowel syndrome can be irritating not only to your gut, but also your quality of life. Here at Charleston GI, our  board-certified gastroenterologists are experienced in treating a wide variety of conditions, and we can help you with all the information you need to live comfortably if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.

We have four convenient Charleston area locations to choose from, in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, and Carnes Crossroads.

Charleston GI doctors are ready 5 days a week to offer you medical relief. There’s no referral needed, so schedule your appointment today! 

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