Couple making pasta

Managing IBS is a Pain in the Butt!

CDHF

Written by: CDHF

Updated: November 28th, 2022

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic gastrointestinal disorder that involves problems with motility (how the bowel moves contents through our intestines) and sensitivity (how the brain interprets sensations in the bowel) leading to abdominal pain, changes in bowel patterns and other symptoms.

Although often disruptive, debilitating and embarrassing, it may be of some comfort to know that IBS is not life-threatening, nor does it lead to cancer or other more serious illnesses.

IBS is defined by the presence of:

Recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort 1 days/month in the past 3 months associated with two or more of the following:

So, who has IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is thought to affect up to 18% of the Canadian population – having one of the highest prevalence of IBS in the world (1). IBS affects significantly more women than men and is one of the most common causes for work and school absenteeism. While IBS does not cause any permanent damage to the bowel or lead to cancer or any other major illnesses, living with IBS is painful, and puts a great deal of stress on people who suffer symptoms. The good news is, that even though IBS is a chronic and long term condition, it is manageable over time. The symptoms of IBS typically do not get worse, and with an effective treatment plan, as many as one-third of IBS patients may eventually become symptom-free.

Often, symptoms alone can provide doctors with the information they need to diagnose IBS. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and take a complete medical history that includes a careful review of your symptoms. For this reason, it is important to be candid and specific with your doctor about the problems you are having. A set of specific symptom criteria (referred to by physicians as the Rome Criteria) has been developed to help physicians diagnose IBS. The Rome Criteria is as follows:

Rome IV Criteria

In May 2016, the Rome Foundation released the new Rome IV criteria for diagnosing IBS. All around the world, physicians follow this organization’s lead when diagnosing IBS.

According to the Rome IV diagnostic criteria, IBS is characterised by recurrent abdominal pain for, on average, at least one day per week in the last three months, associated with two or more of the following:

Everyone is different. So are your poops. It’s important to note that the change in your stool could be constipation for some people, diarrhea for others, or alternate between the two. Subtypes of IBS are recognized by the Rome IV criteria based on the person’s reported predominant bowel habit, when not on medications, as follows:

Symptoms:

I’ve been diagnosed with IBS.. now what?

If you’re anything like us and skipped right to the part of the post where we tell you how to fix it, we mentioned above that IBS is manageable, and there are many different ways that it can be treated.

Often diet and lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on gut health. Getting exercise and participating in managing stress through activities such as yoga or meditation can have a huge impact on a patient’s quality of life.

Food intolerances have been linked to IBS symptoms for many years, however conflicting information often creates confusion and frustration as to what foods IBS patients should include, or avoid, in their diet. Recent research has identified key strategies for the successful dietary management of IBS.

Click here to learn more ways to manage IBS.

You’ve got this!

IBS can be stressful as you struggle each day to manage your symptoms, so be sure to ask for help if you’re feeling mentally bogged down and lean on your personal support systems when you need them. Remember, you can do this!


References:

  1. Lovell RM and Ford AC. Global prevalence of and risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome: A meta-analysis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jul;10(7):712-21.e4.
  2. Lacy, B. E., & Patel, N. K. (2017). Rome Criteria and a Diagnostic Approach to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Journal of clinical medicine6(11), 99. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm6110099
  3. Altobelli, E., Del Negro, V., Angeletti, P. M., & Latella, G. (2017). Low-FODMAP Diet Improves Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients9(9), 940. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9090940

Related Articles:

View all News & Articles

Toilet paper with smiley face

Is my Poop Healthy/Normal?

Nutrition and diet consultation at home

CDHF Partners with NutriProCan IBS Program Designed to Relieve or Resolve IBS Symptoms

Man sitting on toilet, frustrated with IBS

What does IBS-C feel like? How do I know If I have IBS-C?

How to Treat and Manage IBS-C

Women looking up with question marks above her head

Dysbiosis and IBS

Peppermint

Peppermint Fixes More Than Just Bad Breath

Women lying on pillow holding stomach in pain

Managing IBS

Toilet paper roling on a green background

Understanding IBS

Healthy foods laid out on table

Evidence Based Ways to Manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Pink suitcase with microbe background

IBS Survival Guide

Mediaplanet: Did You Know Women are 2x More Likely to Have IBS Than Men?

Couple on a date

Dating with IBS

yoga class

The Importance of Managing Stress for People who Suffer from IBS

Women pondering with question marks

Top IBS Questions: Answered!

Women shaking her head

Think You May Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Hand squeezing a grapefruit

Diets Used for IBS

Functional Foods with Added Probiotics

Women holding her stomach in the bathroom with toilet paper in her hand

Women and IBS

Women talking to another women in an office with a lot of windows

Mental Health, IBS and Removing the Stigma

Women and male bathroom stall

Managing your Digestive Health in the Workplace Webinar

How to Manage IBS Animation

CDHF Talks: IBS and the Gut Microbiome

Hands on top of other hands supporting one another

IBS, IBD & Mental Health Webinar

Beginning frame of Living with IBS Animation

Living Positively with IBS Animation

Doctors smiling and shaking hands

Understanding IBS-D Webinar

white toilet on pink background

Living Positively with IBS-M

Women looking at her clothes in her closet

Dressing with IBS and other Digestive Health Issues

Green toilet paper on a purple microbe background

Why does IBS Affect more Women than Men?

Pink pills on a blue background

Did You Know That Some Probiotics May Help With IBS?

Candy

Trick or Treating Safely with Digestive Conditions

Toilet paper with flowers

Could I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? 5 Questions to Discuss

Individually prepped meals

What I Eat in a Day with Celiac Disease & IBS

Kids running outside with pool floaties on vacation

The Facts on Diarrhea when Travelling

Women speaking to collegue in an office

Tool Kit for Educating your Employer on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Toilet paper rolling out with a purple background

Why is there Blood in my Stool? Rectal Bleeding

Someone counselling an individual

Long Term Benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for IBS

Man clutching stomach

How a Gut Infection can Lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

lab dishes

A New Bacterium on the Block: How Brachyspira may be a factor for IBS

How to use CDHF’s myIBS App

Fecal calprotectin stool test

What is the Fecal Calprotectin Test?

sign that says keep moving forward outside

My Long-Complicated Journey with my Gut and IBS-C

Writing in notebook at a desk

My Experience with IBS-C as a Registered Dietitian

Hands circling around the gut

IBS, The Microbiome and a Novel Virtual Tool

celiac vs ibs

Celiac Disease vs IBS

Couple making pasta

Managing IBS is a Pain in the Butt!

Work colleagues

IBS Doesn’t Work at Work

Women drinking wine with pink microbe background

Alcohol and IBS

peppermint

Patient Experiences using IBgard to Combat Symptoms of IBS

stack of toilet paper

TRULANCE® (plecanatide tablets) for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation in Adults Is now Available to Canadians

Bio-K+ IBS Pro

Bio-K+ IBS Pro – CDHF Certified Product

IB Gard box on kitchen counter

IBgard® – CDHF Certified Product