What’s your IBS TRIGGER: diet OR stress?
It’s uncomfortable and distressing — and you may even avoid situations because of it. Discover what sets off your Irritable Bowel Syndrome so you can develop strategies to ease the pain.
Around one in five of us are likely to suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) during our lives. For some, the symptoms are mild and short-lived; for others, IBS can be a chronic, debilitating and painful condition affecting their confidence and general enjoyment of life.
The actual causes are unclear, although a bout of gastroenteritis and issues with digestion are thought to help kickstart the condition.
We do know there are two main triggers for IBS symptoms: stress and diet (‘mood and food’). The good news is that by recognising what brings on the symptoms, many people can find ways to both relieve and manage their condition. IBS causes a spectrum of symptoms ranging from abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation, to an urgent need to go to the toilet.
It’s known as a ‘functional disorder’ of the bowel, which means that while you may experience even severe symptoms, there is no damage to your intestinal tract. Pain is eased by a bowel movement.
“People with IBS have a gut that’s quite sensitive to distension,” explains Dr Jane Muir, a nutrition scientist in the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University. A proper diagnosis of IBS must be made by a GP.