If you suspect you’re experiencing symptoms of IBS, such as bowel cramps or stomach cramps , you should see your doctor. IBS is fairly common, and GPs advise and treat sufferers frequently.
So there's no reason to feel embarrassed – your GP will happily discuss it with you.
The ABC of IBS
The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence advises GPs to check patients for IBS if they experience any of these ’ABC’ symptoms for six months or more:
There are other symptoms, which include excess wind and gas, feeling like you haven’t fully emptied your bowels, nausea or tiredness that can indicate IBS.
Abdominal pain or stomach cramps
Change in bowel movements – diarrhoea, constipation or both
Characterised by passing looser, more watery stools than is normal for you, diarrhoea is often a symptom of gastroenteritis, and is a symptom of IBS.
Do you feel full of air, uncomfortable and self-conscious? Bloating has many causes and can be a symptom of IBS, but it’s also easy to treat.
Passing wind is natural – we all do it. However, if it’s excessive or difficult to control, it can affect your confidence around other people, and might be a sign of IBS.
Stomach cramps or bowel cramps are normally short lived and caused by a minor upset, however if they last for more than a few days, with other symptoms, they may be a symptom of a long-term condition, such as IBS.
From a survey carried out for Johnson & Johnson, over half of IBS sufferers experience constipation. The exact cause of constipation can be hard to identify, but there are ways to treat it.