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Do I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome, commonly called IBS, affects between 25 and 45 million Americans. While it's incredibly common, it's really not well-known.

Which is why our team at AFC Urgent Care Chelmsford wants to share some insight about the condition, including its common symptoms and its risk factors. Read on as we take a look.

What Are the First Signs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Typically, the first symptom—and the most common—is abdominal pain and cramping. This symptom occurs in most people who have IBS, regardless of the type of IBS they have.

Beyond pain and cramping, though, a person usually experiences either diarrhea or constipation. Occasionally, someone will have a type of IBS that causes both symptoms, but that's more rare. Other symptoms can include changes in bowel movements, gas and bloating, food intolerance, and sleep difficulties.

Foods that Trigger IBS Attacks

  • Fiber-filled foods
  • Food and drinks with chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, fructose or sorbitol
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Large meals
  • Fried and fatty foods

What Is the Main Cause of IBS?

Researchers still aren't quite certain what causes IBS, actually. In some cases, the condition develops after a person contracts gastroenteritis. Changes in the microflora of the gut are also thought to be associated with the condition.

Muscle spasms in the intestines, abnormalities in the nervous system and inflammation in the intestines are also among the potential causes that may play a factor in the development of IBS. While we are all at risk of developing IBS, certain groups are at a higher risk.

Risk Factors for IBS

  • Being female
  • Being between teens and age 40
  • Having a family history of the medical condition
  • Dealing with trauma

Do you think you might be experiencing the symptoms of IBS? Visit AFC Urgent Care Chelmsford today for a medical evaluation. No appointment is necessary!

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