Have you been experiencing symptoms of diarrhea that come and go, accompanied by gas and bloating? The symptoms you feel may vary. You’re unsure if you need to undergo treatment for Ulcerative Colitis in Lehi or other locations just because a colleague diagnosed with the disease suffers from similar symptoms. You notice the problems arise when you’re feeling more stressed than usual.

It may or may not be IBD

While it varies from person to person, you could be suffering from IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. It is not the same as irritable bowel disease (IBD), of which Ulcerative Colitis is a common subtype.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Unlike inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which can be diagnosed with blood tests, a colonoscopy, and a few other medical tests, IBS is not detectable with tests. The main difference between the two is the absence of inflammation in the gut lining, which is the hallmark of IBD.

To rule out IBD, you will still need to undergo certain tests. If the tests ordered by the doctor come out with normal results, be thankful. However, you’re not out of the woods yet. What about the frequency of bowel movement, the intensity and location of abdominal pain, and the physical characteristics of your stool? Did the symptoms arise six months ago? If yes, you will receive a diagnosis of IBS if the symptoms you have also been complaining about have been present weekly for a period of three months. Now, you must deal with IBS and do what you can to improve your quality of life.

Stress relief and mental health therapies

Irritable bowel syndrome is believed to arise from stress, which makes mental health therapies essential components of management. Don’t be surprised if the doctor refers you to a cognitive behavioral therapist. The approach has been helpful in changing thought patterns that worsen the symptoms of IBS. Relaxation and other de-stressing activities will likely be recommended for you as well.

A healthier diet and lifestyle

Man eating healthy

Diet is a key influence in the development of IBS symptoms. By avoiding gluten and eating more fiber, you are helping your gut cope with the haywire immune response. Maintaining proper nutrition is important if your goal is to overcome IBS and lead a productive and comfortable life. Ask your doctor and a nutritionist for advice on food items to avoid so that flareup of symptoms would be less frequent.

Some people experience a worsening of IBS after taking alcohol, milk, or chocolate, as well as certain fruits and vegetables. In addition, ask about probiotics that can help your digestive tract cope. Ask your doctor how long and how often you must take probiotics.

Other lifestyle changes that could improve IBS symptoms include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, reducing stressors, or modulating one’s response to stressful situations.

Before you take medicine for frequent bouts of diarrhea, consider seeing a gastroenterologist — a physician who specializes in managing the medical conditions of the digestive system. You may already be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and need to manage the symptoms more effectively.