Does My Belly Pain Mean I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The bowel is an important component of the digestive system that helps the body absorb nutrients and fluids from foods. If your bowel is irritated, as can happen with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it can cause painful and distracting symptoms that interfere with your daily life. Bergen Medical Associates offers comprehensive gastroenterology care in the Northern New Jersey area and helps diagnose and treat patients with conditions like IBS. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that indicate you should get checked out by a specialist.

Person lying on the sofa experiencing stomach pain

What Are the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that causes debilitating and distressing symptoms that can affect a person’s daily life. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut way to diagnose IBS because the causes aren’t well-known. Therefore, doctors diagnose IBS based on the presence of symptoms and the exclusion of other diagnoses. If you’ve been experiencing stomach issues and are wondering if it could be IBS, here are the common symptoms:

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms of IBS and patients can experience different types. Pain is often present when passing bowel movements or after eating certain foods and can range from cramping and sharp pains to fullness and distention. Some patients even experience a burning sensation. If you have stomach pain that often interferes with your day-to-day life, contact your doctor to talk about IBS and other possible diagnoses.

Bloating and Gas

Bloating can often happen after a large meal or during your menstrual cycle, but if you experience persistent bloating that doesn’t seem to go away, it could be due to IBS. The same is true with passing gas. IBS can lead to both an increase in bloating and gas, as the bowel isn’t functioning correctly. These symptoms can be distressing, and it’s best to contact your doctor if you experience them long-term.

Altered Bowel Behaviors

Another common symptom of IBS is changes in the frequency or appearance of your bowel movements that persist. This can be diarrhea, constipation, or a mix of the two. These symptoms can be distracting and painful and cause you to miss work or social events. If you often experience them, you should talk with your doctor to discuss IBS.

Other symptoms people with IBS report include mucus in stool, urgent need to use the bathroom, and feeling of incomplete bowel emptying. Irritable bowel syndrome can typically be indicated when a patient has these symptoms for at least three days per month, for more than three months.

Whether it’s IBS or not, it’s best to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms. Sometimes what seems to be IBS could be inflammatory bowel disease, which can cause more serious problems so it is wise to have your doctor check you out. Bergen Medical Associates has a full staff of board-certified gastroenterology practitioners who can help you diagnose, treat, and cope with your irritable bowel issues.

Request an Appointment with Us Today

If you experience the mentioned symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome frequently, you should schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist to get checked out. Bergen Medical Associates has been serving Northern NJ with high-quality medical care for more than 25 years and is the trusted place to go for comprehensive and compassionate care. Contact us today to request an appointment at one of our six convenient locations.

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