Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

If you have stomach pain or discomfort for at least three times a month for several months, you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Signs of IBS can vary widely from having hard, dry stools one day to loose, watery stools on another. Bloating and stomach cramps are also symptoms of IBS.

What causes IBS isn’t known, but treatment of symptoms centres largely on diet, such as eating low-fat, high-fiber meals and avoiding common trigger foods (dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and foods that produce stomach gas). Stress can also trigger IBS so consider cognitive behaviour therapy or mindfulness to help reduce the symptoms.

Self-help tips

It may take you a while to find the right food, medicine or lifestyle changes to help you manage your IBS, but these are some self-help tips:

Useful links