Basic Tummy Trouble or IBS: How to Tell the Difference

Basic Tummy Trouble or IBS: How to Tell the Difference

Tummy trouble is no fun, especially when you aren’t sure of the cause. Is it just a passing issue or something more serious, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

While IBS is common, affecting up to 45 million people in the United States, it’s important to know that it’s manageable. If it turns out that IBS is at the root of your symptoms, there’s hope. And regardless, you shouldn’t let ongoing digestive symptoms or pain go unaddressed.

Dr. Sreelatha Reddy and the team at Houston Gastrointestinal & Liver Clinic, P.A. in Sugar Land, Texas, apply their wealth of knowledge and experience to diagnose and treat IBS and other digestive issues so you can lead a fuller life.

Here, we explore the difference between basic tummy trouble and IBS and ways we can help.

IBS basics

IBS affects your large intestine, bringing on a range of symptoms, such as:

IBS symptoms seem to stem from problems in the communication between your bowel muscles and nervous system — making the muscles more sensitive and prone to irritation.

While no one knows exactly what causes these problems, certain foods, infections, hormonal changes, and stress may trigger flare-ups. 

IBS vs. tummy trouble

Most everyone experiences IBS symptoms on occasion. It’s only when they become chronic or severe that you may have IBS. If you experience abdominal pain — and potentially additional symptoms — one day a week, on average, for three months, you may be diagnosed with IBS.

If you only experience symptoms like cramping or diarrhea after consuming a certain food, such as dairy products, you may be lactose intolerant. For that reason, Dr. Reddy and her team may run tests at your exam to confirm or rule out IBS.

Other conditions that may get mistaken for IBS include:

Symptoms associated with IBS could also indicate more serious conditions, such as endometriosis, diverticulitis, or cancer.

How to manage your tummy trouble

If you’re dealing with lasting or serious abdominal pain or digestive issues, medical care is important. If you’re dealing with IBS, Dr. Reddy may recommend you avoid or limit gluten and gas-producing foods. Managing stress and taking probiotics or fiber supplements may also help. 

If you’re in the thick of a diarrhea flare-up, you may need to temporarily limit fiber until your symptoms subside. Regardless, getting properly diagnosed can help ensure that you get the care and relief you need.

To learn more about IBS or get to the root of your tummy trouble, call Houston Gastrointestinal & Liver Clinic, P.A. today or request your appointment online.

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