Let’s be honest. Although we love talking about poop here at our office, we understand that it’s generally looked down upon as a topic of casual conversation amongst friends. But don’t you sometimes wish it wasn’t so taboo? There are a lot of issues that can affect your bowels and digestive system, but since people don’t want to talk about them, it can sometimes make it hard to seek the proper help and medical attention. One particular condition that we treat which is often overlooked or ignored is irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
What Is IBS?
To start with, it’s important to know that IBS is a chronic condition which will need to be managed and maintained long-term in order to prevent the symptoms from flaring up again. It’s a disorder of the large intestine which can cause a whole range of symptoms. Some people who have IBS might get off easy and not feel significant pain or discomfort, while others can experience frequent and debilitating pain. These unsavory symptoms can include anything from diarrhea to constipation, and sometimes both. You may also feel gassy or have stomach cramps, and these symptoms may flare up more for women during their menstrual periods. Although IBS a fairly common digestive issue, doctors aren’t sure what the root cause is.
Who Gets IBS?
Technically, nobody is safe from experiencing IBS, but it is significantly more common amongst women than men. It often begins presenting around your mid-30s and is certainly more prone to develop in people who have a family history of the disease. While there is no specific test to determine if you have IBS, we usually diagnose it based on symptoms and may run some tests to exclude something else that may be more serious.
Why Would People Ignore Symptoms?
It’s a well-understood taboo that discussing one’s bathroom habits might not go over well in most crowds, so it seems understandable that it’s not something people want to discuss. IBS can pose embarrassing problems, force people to have to run for the bathroom at a moment’s notice, and frequently disrupt day-to-day activities. In addition to the stigma attached to IBS, some people might not understand the symptoms in the first place, making it hard to discuss with a doctor. Since IBS can vary from person to person, and even from day to day in the same patient, it can be tough to diagnose. It’s also simple to dismiss your problem as something you ate or write it off as a stomach bug that will pass.
What Should I Do?
While we’re not necessarily advocating you lead the charge to make poop a dinnertime conversation, we do encourage you to talk to Dr. Sameer Islam about your problems, and let us help you get to the root of them. If you think you might be suffering from IBS or have experienced a change in bowel habits, start recording your symptoms, potential triggers, what you’re eating, your exercise levels, and any other pertinent information. Book an appointment with us today so we determine what is causing your digestive issues.