How to know if you have IBS and what to do about it

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a term we hear more and more often, but what is it? Vitamin Me explains typical symptoms of IBS and what to do to help improve your gut health.

You are what you eat – and if you are eating foods that your body doesn’t agree with, it could upset your gut health balance and may lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects about 8% of South Africans. Understanding what it is, what causes it and how to treat it will make all the difference. VitaminMe explains typical symptoms of IBS and what to do to help improve your gut health: 

Think you might have IBS? Here are some tell-tale signs to look out for: 

  • Recurring diarrhoea
  • Constipation issues
  • Low energy
  • Anxiety or stress 
  • Cramps and abdominal discomfort
  • Bloated, gassy feeling
  • Weight loss
  • Anaemia
  • Bleeding rectum 
  • Sleep problems

What causes it?

  • Certain medication
  • Emotional trauma or stress (often during childhood) 
  • Bacterial build-up in the intestines 
  • Bad gastroenteritis (diarrhoea)
  • Nervous system issues 
  • Fluctuating gut microbes (fungi, bacteria and viruses)

Sound familiar? If so, you’re likely to be living with IBS. As the statistics show, you aren’t alone, so speak to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and to rule out any other potential issues. Taking the correct supplements to support your gut health combined with staying away from foods that might trigger your IBS (such as caffeine, fizzy drinks, alcohol and processed foods) while keeping your body active will help reduce symptoms and improve your overall well being. 

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