(BPT) – From the beach to the backyard, road trips to staycations and so many celebrations, summer is peak season for enjoying time with friends and family. You want to feel your best no matter where you’re going, but digestive problems like stomach pain and cramps, bloating as well as urgent bathroom visits can halt summer fun fast.
Many people dismiss their digestive issues as part of life, but these symptoms may be indicators of more serious gastrointestinal conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, often referred to as IBS. IBS is a common disorder that affects the stomach and intestines, also called the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation – or both. IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States, according to estimates from the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. IBS comes in different subtypes including IBS-C (constipation) and IBS-D (diarrhea).
Ignoring or self-managing your symptoms can delay diagnosis and development of an effective treatment plan. According to ‘Patient Perspectives: Impacts of Living with IBS,’ a recent report from gastroenterology company Salix Pharmaceuticals, more than half of people with IBS waited a year or more before mentioning their symptoms to a provider. Nearly one in three (32%) felt awkward talking about their symptoms to their doctor, and 43% were not aware that IBS is a chronic condition, meaning it’s something people live with and need to manage.
Open communication with your doctor is key to assessing symptoms, enabling a diagnosis, and developing a treatment plan. The survey found that 9 out of 10 IBS patients acknowledged the importance of their health care provider taking the time to talk about additional symptoms and how those symptoms impact daily living. In addition, 1 in 5 survey respondents are not aware that there are prescription options available to address IBS symptoms. Keeping a log of all the symptoms you experience over time and a list of questions can help facilitate the conversation with your doctor and make the most of your appointment.
Don’t spend your summer trying to self-manage your IBS symptoms. It’s important to recognize your symptoms and talk to your doctor to get an assessment of what could be going on, and to figure out a treatment plan that is right for you. You have more important things to focus on – like enjoying life.
To learn more about IBS symptoms and treatment options for adults, visit Salix.com.