April is IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) Awareness Month, a time to recognize the significance of the treatment, diagnosis, and well-being of those living with this condition.
It’s estimated that 10-15 percent of adults in the U.S. have IBS, with only about half of those ever receiving a formal diagnosis. With so many affected, it’s essential to spread awareness so people can get the proper diagnosis and treatment they need.
Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about IBS — what it is, what the symptoms are, and treatment options that can provide relief.
What is IBS?
IBS is a common health condition that affects gastrointestinal functioning. It occurs about twice as often in women than in men and is most frequently experienced by people under 50.
If you struggle with IBS, it can make it tricky to go about your day-to-day life. Trips to restaurants, vacations, and work or school can be interrupted when you have to cope with unpredictable symptoms.
And because IBS affects digestion, it can feel off-limits to talk about — but it doesn’t have to be. People struggling with IBS deserve support and understanding, and that’s what IBS Awareness Month is all about.
What Are the Symptoms of IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms, although each person’s experience will vary. The symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Sensitivity to certain foods
- Unpredictable bowel habits
Add It In
Boost nutrition with healthy add-ins, such as these:
- Sprinkle ground flaxseed over your cereal, put it in your yogurt, or add to homemade muffins, and you'll get a good dose of omega 3s.
- Toss a handful of nutrient-rich spinach into your smoothie, soup, or curry.
- Add a few chopped nuts to cereal, pancakes, and oatmeal, or use them to top salads and veggies. Choose Brazil nuts for selenium, walnuts for omega 3s, and almonds for vitamins and calcium. Although nuts are a high-calorie food, they are fine in small amounts.
Prescription Drugs as Treatment
There’s no known cure for irritable bowel syndrome, although researchers are working hard to understand more about this disorder. Fortunately, prescription drugs have been able to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for those with IBS.
According to the Mayo Clinic, prescription drugs for IBS include:
Your doctor may also recommend anti-diarrheal medication such as loperamide, anticholinergic medication like dicyclomine, and pain medication. Beyond that, they may suggest diet and lifestyle changes to further ease your symptoms.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Since IBS is a chronic illness, a combination of medication and diet-related lifestyle changes are the best way to relieve discomfort.
You may find that certain foods can aggravate your symptoms. With that in mind, you could feel better when you cut out some of these things from your daily routine:
- Processed foods
- Carbonated drinks
By the same token, positive lifestyle changes may also offer you some relief. These changes include:
- Avoiding large, overfilling meals and opting for smaller, frequent meals instead
- Drinking plenty of water
- Keeping track of which foods are personal IBS triggers for you
Manage Your Stress
A little-known fact is that stress can actually worsen IBS symptoms. With that being said, it’s essential to take care of your emotional well-being if you struggle with this condition. Breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga are things you can add to your toolkit to help avoid stress-induced flare-ups.
The Takeaway on IBS Awareness Month
Talking about IBS doesn’t need to be taboo. The diagnosis and treatment of IBS need more awareness, and the people who cope with it deserve support.
If you’re one of the millions who struggle with IBS, continue to research and talk to your doctor about ways to manage symptoms. With the right medication and lifestyle changes, you can get your IBS in-check and do all the things you love worry-free again.
Save Money on Your IBS Prescriptions
If you struggle with irritable bowel syndrome, RxLess can help you get savings on your prescriptions. We offer discounts on pharmacy prices for drugs that are used to treat IBS.
All you need to do is search for your medication, show your offer to the pharmacist, and save money. Search for offers on your prescription today.