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Video

Dr Christian:
I’ve had lots of enquiries on the site from people worrying about IBS. What causes irritable bowel syndrome? Well, the honest truth is we’re not quite sure. Depression and stress certainly can aggravate it, certain things that you eat, for certain people, can change the way your bowels work and irritate them, and also lack of fibre in the diet can be responsible too.

Why is it so difficult to diagnose, a lot of you want to know, and also you want to know if you can get a second opinion. Well, of course you can always get a second opinion for anything that you might be worried about. But it’s difficult to diagnose because everybody’s different, everyone’s symptoms are slightly different. Some people will be irritated by certain foods, by certain mealtimes. And for other people it can be a completely different set of foods—that’s what makes it so hard to pinpoint and diagnose accurately.

I’ve got a lot of comments from you about what other conditions might cause similar symptoms, so if it’s not irritable bowel, what else could it be? Well, I suppose top of the list has to be inflammatory bowel conditions, things like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s. These can cause painful cramps and a bloody, mucusy diarrhoea, they tend to be a lot more severe symptoms than those of irritable bowel.

It seems a lot of you actually have IBS and you want to know how you can control the symptoms, how you can improve it by using your diet. Well, actually, because everybody’s individual, you need to look very carefully at what you eat and work out what makes it worse, what really upsets you and what can you eat without any problems at all. And the best way to do that is to keep a diary over the course of a week or two, write down everything that you’ve eaten, and when your IBS is bad and when it’s much better. And that way you can work out what things you can eat and what things you should try and avoid.

Also you want to know what other treatments, apart from diet, are available to help IBS. Well, avoiding stress if possible—it’s not always possible, I know, but if you can manage to avoid stress or learn relaxation techniques, that’s very helpful. The final thing is exercise. The more exercise you can do, the healthier, actually, your bowel will be, and therefore your bowel movements.

Read the video transcript

Doctor Responses: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Dr Christian answers your most frequently asked questions about IBS such as: What causes it? Why is it difficult to diagnose? How can you treat it?

With thanks to the Baker Street Medical Centre

There is some evidence to suggest that certain types of yoga may help alleviate the symptoms of IBS. You can watch a yoga video tutorial for IBS here >

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So ever since I was a child I've only gone to the loo every other sometimes 3rd day, I always strained, after I'd been to the loo I'd by the next day feel like I needed to go and would feel gassy, bloated and uncomfortable. I split from my husband and had to sell our home two years ago so I've had some stress and since being single I'm out more drinking more alcohol and eating less healthier food, for about 18 months I've been going every day sometimes twice and it's a lot softer, I've had maybe two bouts of diarrhoea too, is this simply down to a change in diet and stress or could it be a sign of bowel cancer? Thanks





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Hi Christian my name is sarah, I am 24 and was diagnosed with gastritis, hiatus hernia, B12 deficiency and an ulcer at the entrance to the duodenum in February. After everything settled down for months recently I have started to have a sever swollen stomach, dizziness, diarrhoea sweating and fatigue. I am suspecting IBS is what is happening to add to the seeming ever growing list my gastric problems. But I don't know what to do about my diet anymore as the past month or so ANYTHING I eat triggers the symptoms I have described I already have cut out several things from my diet and it worked for a while but now I am at a complete loss as to what to do....help please





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Hi I've had yellow soft poo for a few days also tummy ache is this sign of infection or is it an ibs symptom pls.





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His I've been suffering with what the doctors think may be ibs but for over 2 years I bloat everyday and have abdominal pain/ constipation well 2 days ago I had a ct colonography the prep cleared me.out and suddenly no pain or swelling great I thought as soon as I ate my first meal back to being bloated and in pain and can't go I'm personally not sure this is ibs and could do.with other opinions I've had tests for coeliac disease it's not that or food related





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Hi. Dr. Christian. My name. Maxine. I am 44 year. Old. Female. I suffered. Ibs. Allways. On. Mondays. Any trimester of day. I. Noises. In my gut. And. I get. Diarrhea. Some times I get diarrhea. Sometimes. Myth poo is hard. Lumpy. Very soft. Poo. Sorry how thousand sounds rude. I got to put my finger. Up my bun too get the poo out. My gut area. Is bloated. Very gut pain dull pain. I. Hallway. Feel unwell. Afterwards. I feel ill afterwards. I suuffer. Anxiety. And. Depression. Which. I am going through bad. Bit. With. Sometimes. Makes vary. Unwell. In myself. Different. Ways. I feel unwell. Nearly. Every. Day. Please. Found. Help. Me with it all. Been. See my. Doctor. Giive me buscopn. Which. Dose not help. Think. Sometime my doctor. Listen. Me. Think you Maxine.





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Wonder if u can give me advice I always have trouble goin to toilet for 19yrs my belly swells up in pain hurts some times to pass wind.I've tried lactulous dosent wrk so I take duculax tablets b4bed that only thing wot helps me but bean told I should stop taking em plz help.





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Wonder if u can give me advice I always have trouble goin to toilet for 19yrs my belly swells up in pain hurts some times to pass wind.I've tried lactulous dosent wrk so I take duculax tablets b4bed that only thing wot helps me but bean told I should stop taking em plz help





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Hi Dr. I am 21 and I think I'm pregnant but i have negative test and I am having diarrhea and I have gas also my stomach is cramping,I throw up at times and I get really tire,also get really dizzy.today I went to the store I got a5 day early pregnancy test. And it said negative. But I think I am pregnant. I have no idea what's going on. And my last period this month, started on the 1st and ended on the 8th of Dec. But every since I have been having all theses symptoms. Please help me. I am trying to have a baby.





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I have really severe ibs and the doctors keep giving me all sorts of medication but none of them are working and the pain and problems are getting worse





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Hi Dr I am 31 years old. Since i was young i come to know that Im leaking gas constantly from my anus. I went to different hospitals and taken Ultra sound and full blood picture but nothing was seen. I have been trying to live with this condition as advised by doctor but now I am very tired as everyone knows that I am smelling bad. I have been using perfumes but they don't work. Please help me as this really affects my daily life.





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