It’s normal to have periodic digestive issues, such as gas, diarrhea, and constipation. When these symptoms become chronic or painful, however, they could be a sign of an underlying condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But how do you know if you have IBS and not just a sensitive stomach?
Our experienced team at Calvary Medical Clinic in Cleveland, Livingston, and Humble, Texas, can help identify and manage digestive disorders, such as IBS. Here’s what you need to know about IBS and what sets it apart from simply having a sensitive stomach.
Signs of a sensitive stomach
Having a sensitive stomach typically means your tummy gets upset easily. Symptoms often include:
- Gas or bloating
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Nausea or vomiting
- Indigestion, heartburn, or acid reflux
These issues typically develop because of eating certain foods, consuming alcohol, or being in situations that cause stress or anxiety.
One of the main things that typically sets apart general tummy troubles from IBS is pain. Pain is often a part of IBS, because IBS develops due to issue with the colon.
Signs of IBS
Your colon — also known as your large intestine or large bowel — is part of your digestive system. It absorbs water and electrolytes and turns food into stools.
If you have IBS, your colon doesn’t function properly, which affects how food and waste pass through your intestines. As a result, you can experience abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements. Sometimes, you might get moderate relief after passing stools.
In addition to pain, other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:
- Food intolerance
- Cramping, bloating, and gas
- Mucus in your stools
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Alternating between constipation and diarrhea
It’s also common to have fatigue or difficulty sleeping when you have IBS, along with mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. These symptoms can also be even more severe in women who are menstruating or are pregnant.
Managing digestive disorders
Between 25-45 million Americans have IBS, but there are several types of digestive disorders. So, the secret to controlling your symptoms starts with getting an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
During your appointment, we will perform a comprehensive physical exam and discuss your symptoms and medical history. We might also suggest additional testing, such as a colonoscopy, to check the health of your colon or rule out other underlying conditions.
Whether you have a sensitive stomach or a chronic digestive disorder, such as IBS, we can help manage your condition. There isn’t a cure for these issues, but taking the right steps can help keep your symptoms under control. These steps may include:
- Identifying food triggers
- Undergoing nutritional counseling
- Learning stress management techniques
- Taking medications to control bloating, cramping, and diarrhea
If you have digestive issues and want relief, book an appointment online or over the phone with Calvary Medical Clinic today.