Stomach troubles   

Stomach troubles

A quarter of the women in the UK experience digestive problems, a survey reveals, with women twice as likely as men to suffer from constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Anxiety and depression may account for the association with IBS, but constipation has a simpler cause - they don't drink enough water.

US research shows people miss work for IBS more than anything else except colds. If you have symptoms, it's important to see a doctor to exclude serious bowel conditions. IBS is uncomfortable, but doesn't lead to serious complications.

Surprisingly, two-thirds of people with these symptoms suffer in silence, though a lot can be done to help.

If you answer yes to both questions below, you may have the complaint. In the past three months, have you experienced recurrent symptoms of:

• Abdominal pain or discomfort which is relieved by defecation; and/or associated with a change in frequency of stool; and/or associated with a change in consistency of stool?

• Two of the following at least 25 per cent of days or occasions: altered stool frequency (over three movements per day or fewer than three per week); altered stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery); altered stool passage (straining, urgency or incomplete evacuation); passing mucus; bloating? 


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