How Do You Know You Have IBS?
How do you know you have IBS?
Well, most of us just “know” when we’re experiencing symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Most of us know when we’re not pooping right.
However, I didn’t realize that I had IBS until I was about 39 years old, and I’d been having symptoms of it for as long as I can remember, so don’t feel bad if this is the first time you linked your poo habits to an actual problem that can be fixed.
Here are the 5 most common symptoms of IBS, from my experience as a fellow sufferer and reports from my clients:
You frequently feel “fuller than you should” after a meal.
This is typically characterized as gas and bloating. You may not eat a ton, but you feel like you did. This feeling happens around 30 minutes after you eat and continues for a few hours.
Sometimes, this feeling is caused by SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth). SIBO doesn’t mean that you necessarily have too much bacteria in your gut. It just means that you have bacteria in the small intestine, where it doesn’t belong in great quantities.
When we have too much bacteria in the small intestine, where much of our digestion of food happens, the bacteria eat the undigested food and pass gas (fart). So, in this case, the bloat that we feel is a result of bacteria farting in the small intestine.
These are bacteria who aren’t supposed to be eating food at this stage of digestion. It’s like a dog eating people food. It’s not meant for them, and it doesn’t agree with their bodies.
You frequently pass smelly gas.
You know if this is you. People at work are aware of your problem, even, and they don’t understand why you can’t just hold it for the moment and let it go in the bathroom. This is the kind of nasty gas that not only packs a smelly punch but absolutely will not stay put until you get to the restroom.
I feel your pain. I’ve been there.
You have diarrhea once or more per month coupled with frequent constipation
Be aware that diarrhea once or more per month is not “normal.” It may be common, but it is not normal. It’s not just how your body works. You do not have to put up with this condition.
Frequent diarrhea (once or more per month) is a sure sign of IBS, and you can do something about it.
I’ll talk more about what you can do about frequent diarrhea in future posts, but for now, start with eliminating inflammatory foods.
The short list of common inflammatory foods includes processed sugar, wheat, dairy products, and eggs.
You are constipated 1 or more days per week
Many people who are constipated are not aware of their condition. This was me for the first 39 years of my life! This is because constipation doesn’t always look the same.
When you’re constipated, it literally just means that your body’s waste is moving very slowly through the digestive tract. The result of this is either:
- Passing 1 or more days without pooping
- Passing tiny little balls every day
You have the above symptoms plus headaches, fatigue, joint pain, malaise, brain fog, and other signs of inflammation
IBS is a result of inflammation in the digestive tract. This inflammation is usually shared by other tissues in the body, including the brain, joints, and muscles.
So, we feel tired, sad, confused, sluggish, and achy.
I want to emphasize here that IBS is a symptom of a deeper problem. It is a result of inflammation caused by some catalyst. It also causes further symptoms, but there is always a reason for it, possibly (usually) more than one reason. I’ll expand on the causes of IBS in future posts, but here I’ll list just a few:
- Insufficient beneficial bacteria
- Bacteria imbalance in the gut
- Parasites/ worms
- Food sensitivities
- Sensitivity to pesticides
Refer to my past post “What does your poop look like” to see if you’re one of the many people on this planet suffering from chronic constipation. More on IBS next week!