The majority of people have experienced stomach problems at some point. Often it will be from overeating or some spicy food. Many individuals have food intolerances or allergies, and this can cause a stomach ache or discomfort.

There are many tips for dealing with stomach problems, including consuming peppermint, avoiding alcohol, or cutting down on hot food. However, sometimes these issues come from more than just eating something disagreeable to the person eating.

Irritable bowel syndrome is more than just an upset tummy and is extremely common in the US.

There are up to 45 million people in the states alone who are suffering from the symptoms of IBS. This means that perhaps 15% of the population are having to try and live with this condition, and around two-thirds of them are female.

What defines IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that affects people’s digestive systems. It is far more than just a stomach ache and can cause many uncomfortable and painful symptoms.

Unfortunately, while you can take measures to alleviate the symptoms and control the condition, there is no cure for IBS. Even though IBS is a very common ailment, the medical industry has so far found no solution. IBS is usually a lifelong condition that patients have to cope with. 

Is it true that IBS strikes women more often than men?

Out of every three people with irritable bowel syndrome, two of them are likely to be female. 

Not only are females two, or even, three times more likely to get IBS than males, but the symptoms can differ too. It is more likely that IBS symptoms in women will manifest in psychological issues such as depression. Menstruation also affects IBS symptoms in women due to falling hormone levels, and a higher sensitivity to pain.

Typical IBS symptoms include bloating, backache, and heartburn. Psychological issues, especially around menstruation, also need to be monitored. Anxiety and depression are routinely reported with female patients. There are also many reports of female patients experiencing a lesser quality of life. 

Do women get worse symptoms of IBS than men?

Not only is the condition more likely to occur in women, but The National Center for Biotechnology Information or NCBI, states that females suffer far worse IBS symptoms.

In women, the symptoms mentioned above are likely to be worse than in men. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as dyspepsia, indigestion, and constipation, are more chronic in females than males with IBS.

Some reports have shown that one possible reason for women having worse symptoms than men, is due to how the intestinal nerves work differently in different genders. 

What are the treatments for IBS?

There are three distinct types of irritable bowel syndrome. One is IBS with diarrhea, the second is with constipation, and the third is with mixed bowel habits. These are known as IBS-D, IBS-C, and IBS-M, respectively.

Add into this that people are all different, and it is easy to conclude that some patients will respond better to some treatments than others.

Some women find that drugs such as Lotronex, and Amitiza, can help, while others prefer a more holistic approach.

There are many holistic treatments using herbs to help conditions such as IBS.  Yoga, and peppermint oil, are said to help with many patients. As is hypnosis, and acupuncture. Many other people find help through prescription drugs. Others find adjusting their lifestyles and diet can help.

What lifestyle and diet changes can you make to improve IBS symptoms?

While some drugs for IBS are specifically for females only, such as Lotronex, there are dietary changes that anyone can try.

Many foods irritate the stomach and digestive system. Cutting out alcohol, coffee, and processed foods can aid in lessening some of the symptoms of IBS.

High levels of protein, dairy products, and refined grains are known to exacerbate IBS symptoms. But, drinking more water, whole grains, and fruit and veg can help.

As for lifestyle changes, yoga (as mentioned above) is very beneficial for many IBS sufferers. Generally speaking, exercise can be good for helping IBS patients lead a happier life. Low to moderate-intensity activities are recommended, such as walking or swimming. 

Sadly, there are millions of people still having to live with symptoms of IBS. Fortunately, there are various ways to alleviate the symptoms, and improve the lives of these patients, male and female.

Healthline reports that there are a number of symptoms, and can include nausea after eating, and more frequent bathroom visits. Avoiding triggers, cutting out foods that irritate the bowels, can help reduce these symptoms. Consulting medical professionals can also help patients to carry on normally as much as possible.

If you think you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned, then visit your regular doctor to discuss. Unfortunately, symptoms of IBS won’t disappear on their own, but you are not alone, and there is a lot of support available.