April: IBS Awareness Month

April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. The entire month is dedicated to raising awareness about this common but little-understood gastrointestinal problem by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (IFFGD), a non-profit organization.

According to Healthline, this condition affects between 6-18% of people worldwide, and usually affects women more often than men. Some of the most common symptoms of IBS are:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating and gas
  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • A change in regular bowel movements
  • Increased stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Some combination of any of the above

People who struggle with IBS often find that it disrupts their daily routines because of constant discomfort. While it is not clear what exactly causes IBS, in most cases, a change in your gut bacteria, increased stress levels, or a change in diet could spur the disorder. Stress has not been confirmed as a sole cause of IBS, but it will worsen IBS symptoms.

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (IFFGD), which established April as IBS Awareness Month, wants to increase the dialogue between people who suffer from IBS and their gastroenterologists. There is a stigma surrounding IBS because there is shame associated with the symptoms, but IFFGD seeks to break down this stigma so people can get treatment. Since 1997, the motto for this event has been “Don’t Suffer in Silence.”

Luckily, there are ways to treat symptoms of IBS. If you suspect that you might be suffering from this disorder, making an appointment with your gastroenterologist is the first step to feeling better. Often, they will advise a change in diet, greater water intake, and over-the-counter laxatives. They may also ask that you identify the stressors in your life and make a plan to reduce them, as this may alleviate some of your IBS symptoms.

Speak With a GastroCare LI Specialist Today

GastroCare LI provides gastrointestinal screenings – such as colonoscopies, capsule endoscopies, and lactose intolerance screenings – to help identify what may be causing your IBS. Schedule an appointment with one of our experienced New York gastroenterologists by calling (516) 265-7049, or contact us online.