April is IBS Awareness month, and it is only since taking an active interest in the food that enters my body and the reason I have to be so careful, that I have heard of this initiative. For the remainder of April (now that I am home from New Zealand) I thought it would be a good idea to have a look and review that syndrome that makes our bowels so irritable.
For my first article I have decided to simply look at the facts. The top 5 facts to be exact. Not many people really know the ins and outs of IBS, not unless they have it themselves. More often than not it is something that carries a certain stigma, and this shouldn’t be. It is something that can affect a person and their body, and just because the results of a flare up can be a bit on the unsavory side, doesn’t mean it should be poked fun of. So here are the top 5 facts about Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
- IBS is a common condition: That’s right people, it is a common condition and it is thought to affect 11% of the global population. That’s roughly 800,000,000 people! About 2 in 10 people in the UK suffer from IBS. If you’re sitting in a café area right now, or somewhere you can see roughly 10 people, at least 2 of those people will have IBS/IBS symptoms.
- It is a condition that affects the digestive system: This fact is known by almost everyone. The clue is in the name, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you didn’t know that your bowels were a part of your digestive system then I think you need to go back and do some homework. It is all linked. What does into your mouth inevitably comes out the other end, and it’s not pleasant.
- Symptoms of IBS can include stomach cramps, bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea. These symptoms can last over days, weeks or even months at a time. It all depends on the person. One person’s symptoms can be completely different to someone else with IBS. Other symptoms that can come along with IBS include food intolerance, fatigue and even anxiety and depression. Stress has also been seen to play a role in IBS.
- There is no cure: This fact saddens me greatly. Unfortunately, there is no cure for IBS, however managing your diet is one sure way of keeping it in check and keeping those symptoms down. There are also certain medicines you can take to help control it.
- Men also suffer from IBS: This is an important fact. Often people think it is just women that suffer, but men suffer just the same. It is true that more women suffer, about twice as many, however you can’t over look the men. IBS does not discriminate. The treatment and management of IBS between men and women is the exact same.
I hope these facts were of some use, and that you now have a better understanding of what IBS is. In my next article I’m going to do what I do best, and talk about my own personal experience with IBS. Tune in next time to read about how it all started.