IBS Awareness Month…. What is it and how can I feel better?

Monday 22nd April 2024 | Physical Health Conditions

April is not just about Stress Awareness Month… it’s also Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month where we talk about the signs, symptoms and living with IBS as well as raising awareness of the condition. IBS is a common condition of the digestive system with at least one third of the UK population experiencing symptoms.

Although not confirmed, IBS is thought to be caused by the gut and the brain overcommunicating to each other (talking to each other a bit too much!!) which means that our digestive system can often feel unsure of what it needs to do.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

  • Constipation, diarrhoea, or a mixture of both
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal bowel habits
  • Experiencing more wind and bloating than usual
  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling nausea
  • Experiencing backache
  • Experiencing a change of symptoms with your bladder (might be urinating more often than usual or experiencing a sudden urge to urinate)


How does IBS impact my mood?

The symptoms of IBS can come and go over time and can feel frustrating and stressful to manage. We may feel anxious about the foods we consume, leading to us overpreparing food or avoiding eating with others. We may experience shame and embarrassment around our symptoms which can impact our relationships and lead to avoidance of going out or using public toilets. Those with IBS may also experience anxious or negative thoughts related to a strong fear of experiencing an accident leading to us avoiding any food or fluids before leaving our home. These situations can feel upsetting, frustrating and anxiety provoking but there are treatments that can help.


Why do we need to talk about this!?

Very often there are many misunderstandings and presumptions made about IBS, that can be upsetting for those experiencing the condition. We need to talk about our bowel and toilet habits (we all have our own experiences of going to the toilet and it’s a very natural thing that we all have common) but it helps us to raise awareness and seek support if we feel something isn’t right.


What treatment is available for those who are experiencing IBS?

There is no one treatment fits all… as we are all very different. However, medical treatments can be helpful including medication along with diet and lifestyle changes. It’s important to seek advice from your GP regarding any medication as your GP needs to check that it’s safe for you to take (at Lifted Therapy we do not provide advice on medication). However, psychological therapies can also be helpful particularly, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT involves learning how your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviours affect each other and can provide practical techniques to help you feel better.

CBT helps you to understand more about how your body works, your own warning signs and how your thoughts and behaviours affect your symptoms. This can help you by:

  • Reducing your gut symptoms such as bloating, pain, constipation, and diarrhoea
  • Develop stable, healthy eating patterns
  • Help you manage any unhelpful thoughts
  • Help you with accepting any uncomfortable or difficult emotions
  • Manage stress
  • Find new ways of coping


If you think CBT could be helpful or you’re not sure and want some further advice and information, you can book a free 20-minute telephone appointment with us online by filling in our online booking form. All information is kept confidential.