ZocdocAnswersDo I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Question

Do I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

I am 25 year old female, working in retail and standing 8h a day. My stomach is bloated and I experience lots of gases in the past 6 months. I tried dieting food, more home made and less processed, but it doesn't help. I am a vegetarian. The bloating makes me look like I'm pregnant :( It is very unpleasant, and I can't wear anything as it does not look nice. Also, it is very uncomfortable and sometimes its painful too. I stopped taking contraception but I do take Asthma medicine for the last 2 years. Also, I take vitamins regularly. I would sincerely appreciate your advise on this case.

Answer

The symptoms you describe sound very unpleasant and disruptive to your daily life. You should definitely see a physician to try and help identify what is causing your symptoms. If you start with your primary care physician, he or she may want to send you to a gastroenterologist (GI specialist). Irritable bowel syndrome is a not uncommon problem that does affect more women than men. Unfortunately there isn't a cure for IBS, but working with your physician you can learn to identify triggers that aggravate your IBS. In many cases, patients with IBS stay away from certain foods (often things that are spicy, caffeinated, acidic). There are also some medications that can help with the most unpleasant symptoms. However, it is important to see a physician to help evaluate all of your symptoms in context, because there are many other things that can cause the symptoms you describe and it is important to rule them out before attributing your symptoms solely to IBS. Food allergies or lactose intolerance can cause gas and bloating. Celiac disease (being allergic to gluten) can also cause many of the symptoms you describe. Going over your entire history with a physician and possibly considering some additional blood work can be very useful in making sure that all of the options are considered.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.