Have you ever experienced bloating, abdominal cramping, pain or distention? Do you consider yourself sensitive or intolerant to certain foods? Do you avoid eating foods that you know are healthy, simply because they cause abdominal symptoms that aren't worth the discomfort? You could be suffering from IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, and some of the foods you're avoiding may be the solution, not the problem. Although IBS doesn't affect life expectancy, surveys have shown that people affected by the condition would give up 25% of their remaining lives in exchange for a permanent cure. This is proof that this condition is relentless and reeks havoc on people's quality of life.
IBS is a disorder of the GI tract characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. In North America, approximately 10-15% of people fit the criteria for the diagnosis, although we know that up to half of the people with compatible gastrointestinal symptoms will remained undiagnosed. People affected by this disorder will often self-treat, meaning that they'll purposely avoid certain triggers or describe themselves as being intolerant or allergic to certain foods, not realizing that the avoidance of some of these foods might actually be contributing to their symptoms or making them worst. I'll explain this counter-intuitive statement later!
HOW IS IBS DIAGNOSED?