The Mail on Sunday

Is my sore back a result of IBS?


I’VE suffered with IBS for many years, causing constipati­on, bloating and cramps. I also have back pain which is worse when my IBS is bad. Are they connected? IRRITABLE bowel syndrome, otherwise known as IBS, is very common. As many as one in five people suffer with it and symptoms can be debilitati­ng.

Bloating, stomach pain, diarrhoea and constipati­on happen frequently, usually every day.

But it is also associated with symptoms you wouldn’t necessaril­y associate with the bowel.

This includes tiredness, headaches, bladder issues, sexual dysfunctio­n and, yes, back pain.

Symptoms of IBS can come and go and are dependent on triggers that make them worse. These can be dietary such as caffeine or alcohol, or emotional such as stress and anxiety.

For those with both IBS and chronic back pain, symptoms of both are likely to flare up at the same time even if they are not directly linked.

Symptoms of any condition can cause stress, which in turn generates a flare- up of problems caused by another illness. Pain conditions in particular, including back problems, are very sensitive to emotional stress.

Importantl­y, IBS can mimic other, more serious conditions. The combinatio­n of IBS and back pain could disguise similar symptoms of endometrio­sis or Crohn’s disease, for example.

It is essential that these conditions are ruled out as part of the diagnostic process for IBS. I DON’T have access to a computer, never mind the internet, but my GP says I must order my repeat prescripti­ons online. Surely they can do it over the phone instead? IT IS not standard procedure to issue prescripti­ons over the phone. Most GP surgeries do not have the staff to facilitate it, increasing the risk of serious errors.

In most cases, the patient fills in a prescripti­on request slip at the surgery, in writing, and it is signed off by a GP in two to three days.

Patients on repeat prescripti­ons have a repeat slip which they fill out and return to the surgery for the GP to sign.

Anyone with a regular prescripti­on should also speak to their pharmacist about what is known as EPS – the electronic prescribin­g service.

This means that patients no longer need to collect a paper prescripti­on from the GP surgery. Patients can fill in an online form, detailing their prescripti­on and dosage, and the medicine is sent directly to a pharmacy of your choice.

Check with the pharmacist to make s ure t hey s t ock your repeat medication.

Patients can also have repeat prescripti­ons delivered with pharmacies such as Lloyds.

These are at- home services specifical­ly designed for those who are housebound or having difficulty accessing their repeat prescripti­ons. You do not need online access but can arrange this monthly by phoning your local Lloyds branch.

For those with online access, repeat prescripti­ons can be requested through downloadab­le phone applicatio­ns such as the NHS app or Evergreen.

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