People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome generally experience symptoms that cause discomfort. When these issues occur, people often seek the assistance of a doctor. A physician can assess a patient’s condition to make an IBS diagnosis. After diagnosis, the next step involves treatment to relieve distress.
A physician will assess a patient’s symptoms to determine whether IBS is possible. Anyone who experiences issues such as bloating, excess gas, and pain in the lower abdomen might be feeling signs of a possible problem. In addition, marked changes in bowel movement patterns and mucus present in stools could also indicate a problem. The doctor will ask questions to learn about the level and timing of symptoms. Generally, someone is more likely to be experiencing irritable bowel syndrome if these issues have been a problem for at least six months. Another common way to assess symptoms is the frequency of abdominal pain. If this type of discomfort occurs at least three days out of each month, lasting for a minimum of three months, a problem could be present. The doctor will ask additional questions about this discomfort to further focus the diagnosis. IBS could be the cause of the distress if having a bowel movement relieves the pain or if the discomfort is connected to a change in bowel movement frequency. Discomfort linked with a change in consistency or appearance of stools is another potential factor.
IBS usually involves a change in bowel habits over a period of time. Some people experience an increase in frequency, as happens with diarrhea. Other people become constipated, and frequency spaces out and becomes longer. Stool size or consistency can also change, varying between extremes; some people feel an urgent need to use the bathroom, while others strain uncomfortably to pass stool.
Someone suffering from IBS may experience other unrelated signs of a problem. Some people feel depressed or anxious. Others notice urinary issues, including problems emptying the bladder completely. Heart palpitations may occur, in which it feels like the heart is skipping a beat or fluttering. Headaches and backaches are common complaints among patients. Some people also have trouble sleeping, or they notice a lack of sexual desire with the onset of irritable bowel issues. Finally, an unpleasant or unusual taste in the mouth is reported by some patients. People might notice fluctuations of these issues, with an increase in severity after eating or during times of anxiety.
Anyone who suspects this illness should consult with a physician for an assessment and possible diagnosis. The sooner a diagnosis occurs, the sooner treatment can begin to help a patient feel better.