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One way or another, most everyone has heard of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), but not everyone knows how common this condition really is. At The Colony ER Hospital, we see patients routinely who have symptoms that could be related to IBS.  Some of these patients present with a preexisting diagnosis of IBS.  Many others, however, visit The Colony ER in hopes of discovering a cause for their symptoms. Our own Dr. Robert Holland says, “Irritable Bowel Syndrome is more common than people think and can often be tricky to diagnose.”

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition that affects the large intestine and causes pain associated with bowel movements. When chronic and/or severe, IBS has the potential to pose a serious health risk. Sometimes, symptoms of IBS can be an indication of a larger health issue.

The Symptoms:
  1. Abdominal Pain. Abdominal pain is a hallmark of IBS.  Abdominal pain that is always associated with bowel movements could be related to an underlying diagnosis of IBS. However, unexplained abdominal pain that does not resolve should always be evaluated by a medical provider.
  2. Excess Gas. Everyone feels gassy from time to time. Maybe your weakness is chili, or maybe it is too much cheese. For some it could even be leafy greens, but in all of these cases there is a direct cause for those uncomfortable gas pains.  Some patients may have food sensitivities. These sensitivities to certain foods can be present from birth or even develop later in life. Although Excess gas is often just due to the occasional benign reaction to something your tummy didn’t agree with, it is a very common complaint in patients with IBS.
  3. Diarrhea. We all know that diarrhea is an obvious sign of digestive distress. Sometimes food allergies or conditions like lactose intolerance can cause bouts of diarrhea, but just like with excess gas, if you are suffering from frequent diarrhea associated with abdominal pain, IBS could be an underlying cause.
  4. Constipation. Constipation is a miserable symptom that most will experience at one point or another in their lives. Patients with IBS suffer from frequent diarrhea, constipation or intermittent episodes of both along with abdominal pain. Anyone with constipation that does not resolve with routine remedies should see their doctor to rule out an underlying cause such as IBS.

Although most cases of mild abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation are self limited and are not due to an emergent condition, episodes that are prolonged, severe or associated with other symptoms such as rectal bleeding, persistent vomiting, fever, or rapid weight loss should be urgently evaluated to rule out a potentially serious underlying condition.  For patients with IBS, these symptoms can be a lifelong problem for which there is no cure. However, there are treatments available that can help alleviate these symptoms. If you think you may have symptoms consistent with IBS, talk to your doctor.

The Colony ER Hospital is open 24/7 and the doctor’s there are always available to complete medical screenings. If you’re suffering from severe and/or persistent gastrointestinal symptoms, then The Colony ER Hospital is ready to help!

Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on The Colony Emergency Room Hospital or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.