A stomach issue can be IBS or something more serious

When you have an upset stomach it’s hard to tell what’s really going on. You may feel bloated and have gas, you may have slight pain or an uncomfortable feeling, or you may have diarrhea or even constipation. It could be caused by a reaction to something you ate, or it could be a food sensitivity or allergy. It can come on suddenly and go away just as fast or it can linger. With so many variables it’s hard to know when to seek medical treatment.

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is very common. It’s a series of symptoms that can occur together and may include abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of IBS are:

  • Cramping and abdominal pain
  • A bloated feeling
  • Constipation or diarrhea or sometimes with alternating bouts of each
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Gas

There is no cure for IBS but symptoms can be managed with medications, diet, and exercise. April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month, and we encourage you to seek medical treatment if you think you have IBS. You don’t have to suffer in silence. With the proper treatment plan, you can manage IBS and gain control over your daily activities without worrying about having any embarrassing issues. Our qualified doctors and nurses at Surepoint Family Medicine can help.

Close up of hands of the doctor touching the abdomen of a patient in the emergency room

When to seek emergency treatment

Some symptoms warrant a trip to an emergency room, and some don’t. You could have IBS or it could be something more serious. Only a trained medical professional will know for sure. If you experience sudden, intense abdominal pain, abdominal pain that worsens, rectal bleeding or vomiting, you should seek emergency medical treatment. If you think it’s an emergency, go to Surepoint Emergency Center. We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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