Irritable bowel syndrome! What are the signs and symptoms of IBS and how can we treat it?

Irritable bowel syndrome!
Irritable bowel syndrome!

It’s common.  Very common. In fact up to a fifth of us suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in the course of a year.   In the UK IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder.   But less than half of us will seek help from our doctors when the symptoms of IBS appear.

The aim of this blog is to stop you suffering in silence by providing an overview of IBS and how it may be treated.  We also hope that you will share some of the reasons that prevent you going to a doctor for relief from IBS symptoms.

So if you think you may have IBS please visit your family doctor as soon as possible.  While it is not a serious threat to your health the symptoms can be both painful and troubling.

So what actually is IBS?

Well as we said IBS affects the digestive system.  The typical signs and symptoms include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.   If you feel less pain after having gone to the WC to evacuate your bowel than this may be a sign of IBS.  For most people with IBS symptoms appear in their twenties and thirties.

What gives rise to IBS?

We’re still not sure of the exact causes but there do seem to be a number of factors.   Firstly many patients with IBS have previously had some kind of food related illness. It could be something like food poisoning. The other major factor seems to be stress.  If you do suffer from stress then you might be interested in our previous blog

There is no cure to IBS but many people find that changes in diet and lifestyle can be helpful.  In certain circumstances your doctor may prescribe medication.

As we said one of the things which interests us about IBS is that people suffer from it without getting medical help.  It would be great if you could use the comments box below to talk about why you did not get in touch with a medical professional about your IBS symptoms. You might like to think about some of the following questions:-

1)      What were your original symptoms of IBS?  Do you have IBS all the time or does it come and go?

2)      Have you seen a doctor or nurse about your irritable bowel syndrome? If not why not?

3)      What sort of treatments have you used and how effective were they?

4)      How has IBS impacted upon your lifestyle?

Many thanks in advance!


I have had IBS since 19, caused by an eating disorder.  Was an athelete 5/10 140 an told to get down to 125, so I did.  Eating disorder lasted 10yrs with most of my bowel being removed.  IBS diff. effects your life, not knowing when you are going to need the restroom but always bloating, exp after eating.  As I get older, the bowel gets slower an I have had MS since 03.  So there are stomach an intestine issues to deal with..spasms!  I believe now it is more MS than with anything.


I started with the symptoms of IBS upon starting at high school (about age 13). It generally consisted of the urgent need to go to the toilet as well as stomach cramps and twinges along with bloating. I visited the doctor and was told that this is just my bowel growing and that I would grow out of this and if this did not happen then I had IBS. 8years later and I am still suffering as the symptoms have worsened since leaving school starting full time employment. I suffer the most in the morning and by lunchtime it has generally calmed down and I can continue with my daily routine. As you can possibly imagine this has been very difficult with work commitments etc and having to plan my entire life around toilets. I have tried various diets and none of these have helped with the symptoms.