Do YOU have irritable bowel syndrome?
(Or is the doctor just too complacent to do a more thorough exam…)
I guarantee you that if you go into your doctors office and say any mild symptoms related to your gastro-intestinal region of the body, you’re likely to walk out with a diagnosis.
And for some, it’s absolutely correct. Nail on the head, and it’s amazing to find out what you are encountering.
However, that’s not always the case for most. Including some people like me.
And maybe even you.
So let’s dive into it and see what you think about it – because at the end of the day, you are the greatest advocate for your body, and sometimes you have to use it in the medical field to get the answers you deserve!
What Is IBS, Anyways?
IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Seems almost comical to imagine your intestines being irritable, taking on that human persona, and yet – that describes your intestines perfectly if you do experience IBS.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic, long term health condition specifically affecting the large intestine.
The large intestine is designed to have compulsions that push your food through it, while absorbing water and salts from materials not digested from your previous meals.
- If these contractions of the large intestine are slower, they likely result in a stall to using the restroom properly, leading to constipation.
- If these contractions of the large intestine are faster, they likely result in propelling the food through the intestines at too fast of a pace, resulting in diarrhea.
While not life threatening, it can result in uncomfortable, unwanted, digestive distress.
And the symptoms of IBS can range from mild to quite severe – depending on the case scenario.
12 Signs/Symptoms You Have IBS:
1. Sudden and Ongoing Changes in Bowel Movements
As described above, the contractions of the large intestine will change if one experiences IBS.
Think of this like if you’ve ever grabbed a squeezable ball.
If you grab on to part of it, it will push out the other side.
This is just like the large intestine.
So if these contractions are moving too quickly, the water is not being properly absorbed in the intestine, and will result in frequent diarrhea.
But on the opposite end, if the contractions are happening too slowly, you may find it harder to relieve yourself and experience constipation.
2. Bloating and Inflammation
Your gut is made up of your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
If there is any sort of disruption or irritation within those three regions, you are likely to experience bloating, and will happen frequently after meals.
Inflammation, on the other hand, is a direct result of your body reacting to the foods – but too oftentime gets mistaken for fat on the body.
For instance, for years I thought I had a rounder face, but in reality, I had pretty sharp cheekbones that were just covered by inflammation.
The best way to solve this is to check out how to eat an Anti Inflammatory Diet (which is truly the best diet for your gut, anyways!).
3. Constant Fatigue
Your gut controls everyting in your body, and I oftentimes refer to it as your “secret life hack.”
So if your gut is unhealthy, or fighting something, all of your body’s energy is going to rush to that region to try to help you to fight it.
But what that means is that you are being plagued by exhaustion, and the desire to just sleep.
This is your body communicating to you that you need rest – because rest is truly repair.
4. Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
I always tell people to please not stress about your stress, but don’t be afraid to address it.
But stress itself can cause the walls of the gut to be porous, resulting in what is known as a “leaky gut.”
The gut has been referred to as the body’s second brain for a reason – the number of hormones created and neurotransmitters regulated within the gut is insane!
The gut is also the number one center of production for the body’s serotonin hormone – known as the “happiness” hormone.
When I regulated my gut health, I was amazed how much (and how quickly) my mental health skyrocketed.
If this sounds like you, be sure to check out the Gut Health and Mental Health Connection: The Gut Brain Axis!
5. Bitter Tasting Mouth
While not experienced as frequently as some of the other side effects, this symptom is created by IBS.
If you have a potent, sour, ongoing taste in your mouth – this is likely due to the disorder (unless of course you are eating foods to cause it).
6. Acid Reflux
We have trillions of strains of bacteria that make up the walls of our gut.
We want this bacteria to be GOOD bacteria, but it all comes down to what we put into our body.
If we eat healthy foods, take probiotics, and nourish our bodies, these strains of bacteria will have a wonderful environment to thrive within.
But if our gut is unhealthy, the bad bacteria strains can produce gas that results in acid coming back up through the esophagus, resulting in possible heartburn as well.
7. Food Intolerances/Triggers
About 70 percent of people who experience IBS have said that they have intolerances, or triggers to food.
What this means is that certain foods are known to bother you personally.
The most common food intolerances are those to dairy and gluten, but a great thing to do is to track your foods.
This way you know how you felt after each meal, and can eventually narrow down your trigger foods to then avoid them.
8. Pain and Cramping
The gut and brain communicate with one another to send signals to stimulate and regulate digestion, hormones, and so much more.
If you are experiencing IBS, these signals are likely distorted, and off track.
One of the major side effects and telling tales is if you have pain and cramping within your abdominal region.
If this is the case, please make sure you consult with your doctor to hear their thoughts.
What to Do Next??
So whether or not you identified with the signs and symptoms of IBS, here’s the next steps to take.
1. Talk to your doctor
Even if this means getting a couple opinions, doing your own research, and advocating for your body.
2. Decide If It’s IBS or Another Gut Issue
A full comprehensive list of poor gut health signs can be found HERE. Perhaps it’s IBS. Maybe it’s leaky gut. Perhaps it’s both! If you’re not sure, take a breath and take it one step at a time.
3. Work to Restore Your Gut Health
Regardless of the gut issue, you likely need to take similar steps (unless you will also need treatments on the side) to heal your digestive tract. For a complete guide that takes you step by step, be sure to check out “The Ultimate Gut Health Guide: How to Improve Your Gut Instantly!”
My best advice is to take it one day at a time. It takes patience to learn what is best for you and your body, but the reward is far more wonderful than I could ever explain for when you do.
Plus, you deserve it! You really do!