Do you suffer from undiagnosed digestive problems? In the past, you may have chalked those issues up to your diet or the stresses of everyday life. No big deal, right? But could there be something else going on? Let’s find out!

Consider below the characteristics of digestive problems caused by stress and diet. Take note of how many of the symptoms you experience. Then, consider the signs of a more serious problem — Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This examination will help you to take appropriate action to resolve the digestive issues that cause you so much discomfort.

“I Think it’s My Diet!”

Everyone is different. Therefore, some people may find that they are more sensitive to certain foods than others. This could mean that the body has a hard time processing certain things or that the digestive system becomes irritated by them. As a result, among other things, they may experience:

  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Bloating, belching or gas after eating
  • Undigested food in stool
  • Desire to skip meals to avoid discomfort

Do these symptoms sounds familiar? If so, there may be something in your diet that just doesn’t sit right with your body.

For the most part, you can determine this by paying close attention to when your symptoms present themselves. Once a possible cause is identified, avoid that food or drink for a time. Do your symptoms eventually decrease or cease? If yes, great! If no, there may be something else going on. Like what?

“It’s Got to be Stress!”

Do your digestive problems seem to be linked with times of high pressure or anxiety? In the short term, stress can lead to nausea, stomach aches and diarrhea. Most often, after the stressful situation or period has passed, these symptoms disappear.

However, if stress is a constant factor in your life, it could aggravate or worsen chronic issues such as heartburn and…IBS.

“Could it be IBS?”

Irritable Bowel Syndrome results in:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
  • Bowel movements that feel uncontrollably urgent or incomplete
  • Severe stomach cramps
  • Clear or white mucus in the stool

IBS is a long-term disorder. The symptoms are severe and sometimes debilitating; they don’t usually come and go. If you’ve experienced these symptoms for  12 weeks out of the past six months , you may be suffering from IBS. Of course, it may be difficult to look back and see if you meet that criteria so it would be wise to see a doctor if your symptoms are recurring.

Worldwide, approximately 10 to 15% of the population is affected by IBS. In the Unites States, it’s estimated that 25 to 45 million people have the condition. Out of those millions, two-thirds are female. Needless to say, research has revealed that women have a  higher risk .

Individuals under the age of 50 and those with a family history of IBS are also more likely to be diagnosed with this syndrome. If you fall into one or more of the above categories, you have extra reason to seek a medical evaluation. Doing so will put you one step closer to receiving treatment for and getting some relief from your digestive problems!