Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of those conditions that conventional medicine doesn’t always fix. In fact, it typically takes about six years for a patient to be accurately diagnosed!
One of the reasons that Adam Learner, LAc, and his team at Family Acupuncture and Wellness practice functional medicine is that a holistic approach is often best for people who have IBS. This is true of this and other conditions which can be difficult to pinpoint and equally difficult to treat when the symptoms are considered in isolation.
Because the symptoms of IBS can vary so much from person-to-person, we find that some of our patients are surprised to learn they have the condition, even if they’ve been having problems for years. Here are five signs that could indicate you have IBS.
1. Abdominal pain
If you have unexplained pain or consistent discomfort in your abdominal area, it could be a symptom of IBS. Most people experience a lessening of pain after a bowel movement. For most people, the pain is either in the lower abdomen or all over, but it’s not usually only in the upper part of your abdomen.
It could be a cramping pain, or a general ache with intermittent cramping. Some people say the pain is similar to gas pains.
2. Changes in your bowel movements
You may have diarrhea, constipation, or both. You may notice mucus in your stool. The type of changes you experience depend on the kind of IBS you have, as well as other factors.
For example, women may have different symptoms during their periods, indicating that hormone changes are a factor.
3. Bloating and gas
You may not just have pain as if you have gas, you may actually have gas more often than before. Because your digestive tract doesn’t function properly when you have IBS, it can take longer to digest your food and more gas production could happen.
Gas can lead to bloating, which can be quite uncomfortable. Some people report that bloating is the most persistent symptom of IBS they have.
4. Actively avoiding some foods
The majority of people with IBS have foods they can’t eat without increasing their symptoms. Many people avoid several different foods in order to avoid symptoms. Researchers don’t fully understand these food intolerances, but the fact they increase symptoms is clear.
IBS can interfere with your sleep, and even if it doesn’t, it can cause fatigue. Unfortunately, poor sleep can cause increased digestive issues, leading to a spiral of bad outcomes.
How we can help
At Family Acupuncture and Wellness, we take a whole-person approach to your treatment. You can expect us to do bloodwork, talk to you about your medical history and current symptoms, as well as ask many questions about your overall lifestyle.
We may suggest dietary changes, acupuncture, massage, or other modalities to help you reduce stress, avoid uncomfortable IBS symptoms, and generally enjoy a higher quality of life.
If you’re tired of digestive issues interfering with your life, pain and discomfort, or feeling as if something is wrong, schedule an appointment. Our experts are happy to discuss your situation, and make suggestions about effectively managing your health.