If you think your partner might have IBS and you want to tactfully raise the topic without raising alarm, here are three steps you can take to help them feel better:
1. Recognise Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
“Irritable bowel” or IBS can be recognised by one or more of the following symptoms. If your partner suffers from one or more of these on a regular basis, it could be IBS.
- abdominal (gut) pain and discomfort
- wind (burping or flatulence)
- abdominal distension (bloating)
- altered bowel habit (ranging from diarrhoea to constipation, or alternating between the two)
2. Understand a bit about IBS
IBS is one the most common disorders of the gut and affects the health and well-being millions of people around the world every day. One in seven adults suffers from the debilitating symptoms. IBS is more commonly diagnosed amongst women than men, although men have just as many symptoms! IBS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50 years. Some of the factors contributing to IBS can be foods, stress, altered digestive bacteria, medications and caffeine.
There are two types of IBS – diarrhoea type and constipation type. Some unfortunate people have both! It is possible to suffer from both constipation and diarrhoea in quick succession because their causes are different.
If you suspect that your partner has IBS, get them to have a look at the free information and frequently asked questions on the Gut Feelings website.
3. Diagnosis and treatment
IBS can be tricky to diagnose because it relates to the functioning of the digestive system, not gut structure. IBS cannot be diagnosed via blood tests or exploratory investigations. Encourage your partner to talk to their doctor about their symptoms.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your partner’s gut symptoms are IBS-related is to trial a low FODMAP diet for two weeks.
If your partner has IBS symptoms, encourage them to start Stage 1 of the Gut Feelings program.
Blogged by Kerith Duncanson – May 2015