It is a condition that people live with for years. Symptoms usually come and go during this period. They can range from mild to harsh, affecting daily life. Some people's symptoms improve over time, while those of others worsen. Sometimes, IBS disappears on its own.People can develop it at any age, but it is most common for symptoms to start between the ages of 20 and 30. It is very rare for IBS to start later in life. Over the age of 40, you are at higher risk for other bowel conditions that can cause the symptoms. Therefore, it is important to check for any changes. Women are twice as likely as men to report symptoms of IBS.
Symptoms of IBS
- Pain or discomfort in your abdomen (stomach). You may feel like having constipation in the glower abdomen or in the middle of the abdomen. The pain may get worse after eating and you may recover after defecation or it may sometimes get worse
- Changes in bowel habits such as having to go more or less often than usual. You may have constipation or diarrhea or a combination of the two. You may pass a small amount of mucus
- Your stomach may feel bloated. It gets worse during the day and may get better when you defecate or break wind
- You will often find that your symptoms worsen during stress and after eating certain foods, especially fatty foods. IBS can cause other symptoms as well. These include:
- Feeling very tired
- Not feeling well
- Back pain and other muscle or joint pain
- Frequent headaches
- Problems with your bladder, especially at night, when urinating more frequently and urgently
- Difficulty controlling your bowel movements
These symptoms can also be caused by problems other than IBS. For example, IBS shares some of the symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
If you have frequent bowel symptoms such as those described above, contact your doctor. It is important to see your doctor if you have bowel symptoms for the first time and you are over 40 years old. If you have other symptoms -- such as bleeding from your bottom or significant weight loss -- you should make an urgent appointment with a physician.
CAN TREATMENT HELP?
If you have had symptoms for a year or more and other treatments have not helped, you may require therapy. Therapies include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Hypnotherapy, and Psychotherapy. These treatments may help you heal and better cope with your IBS symptoms.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS OUR TREATMENT?
We are psychotherapy specialists, trained to help people overcome difficulties they face by using highly effective types of psychotherapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy, hypnotherapy, solution focussed brief therapy and experiential therapy.
Medication is not usually recommended in the treatment of mild to moderate psychological problems. However, in some cases, it may be helpful to consider a combined approach and our psychiatrists would be able to advise you on this.