April is IBS Awareness Month

IBS Awareness Month

What is IBS?

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system.
  • It causes symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. These tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time.
  • It’s usually a lifelong problem. It can be very frustrating to live with and can have a big impact on your everyday life.
  • There’s no cure, but diet changes and medicines can often help control the symptoms.
  • The exact cause is unknown – it’s been linked to things like food passing through your gut too quickly or too slowly, oversensitive nerves in your gut, stress, and a family history of IBS.

Common irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms

The main symptoms of IBS are:

  • stomach pain or cramps – usually worse after eating and better after doing a poo
  • bloating – your tummy may feel uncomfortably full and swollen
  • diarrhea – you may have watery poo and sometimes need to poo suddenly
  • constipation – you may strain when pooing and feel like you cannot empty your bowels fully

There may be days when your symptoms are better and days when they’re worse (flare-ups). They may be triggered by food or drink.

What can trigger IBS symptoms

IBS flare-ups can happen for no obvious reason.

Sometimes they have a trigger like:

  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • certain foods, such as spicy or fatty food
  • stress and anxiety

Other symptoms of IBS

IBS can also cause:

  • farting (flatulence)
  • passing mucus from your bottom
  • tiredness and a lack of energy
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • backache
  • problems peeing, like needing to pee often, sudden urges to pee, and feeling like you cannot fully empty your bladder
  • not always being able to control when you poo (bowel incontinence)

General tips to relieve (IBS) irritable bowel syndrome symptoms


  • Cook homemade meals using fresh ingredients when you can.
  • Keep a diary of what you eat and symptoms you get – try to avoid things that trigger your IBS.
  • Find ways to relax.
  • Get plenty of exercise.
  • Try probiotics for a month to see if they help.


  • Do not delay or skip meals.
  • Do not eat too quickly.
  • Do not eat lots of fatty, spicy or processed foods.
  • Do not eat more than 3 portions of fresh fruit a day. (a portion is 80g)
  • Do not drink more than 3 cups of tea or coffee a day.
  • Do not drink lots of alcohol or fizzy drinks.

For comprehensive information on IBS, including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and managing daily life, please visit the following links. These resources offer detailed guides on understanding IBS, its symptoms, and how to effectively manage the condition with the help of healthcare providers.


IBS Awareness

American College of Gastroenterology

National Institute Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases

Mayo Clinic Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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