IBS Symptoms Females Should Know About
While IBS can attack both men and women, according to Healthline, (https://www.healthline.com/health/ibs-symptoms-in-females), the condition is more prone to females. The ratio is almost 1.5 to 3 times than men. So, you can imagine the number of women who suffer from IBS every year.
When I first had IBS, the pain was terrible. My lower abdomen got a cramp, and I had to go to the loo every hour. Finally, when the pain was unbearable, I went to the doctor. He asked for several other symptoms which I will list below and then informed that I have chronic IBS. While most of the symptoms are similar to men, Very Well Health (https://www.verywellhealth.com/ibs-symptoms-in-women-1945370) reports that some symptoms are unique in women.
IBS Symptoms in Females
Hormonal changes contribute to IBS in females in most of the cases. But, there are several other symptoms that you need to keep in mind, according to Self (https://www.self.com/story/ibs-symptoms-in-women) that will help to explain your condition to the doctor in detail.
Bloating is one of the most common IBS symptoms females come across. When I had it, I always used to feel tight in my upper abdomen. I felt full whenever I wanted to eat. I also read in Womenshealth.gov (https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/irritable-bowel-syndrome) that these were early symptoms of my periods.
Women suffering from IBS are more prone to bloating at the initial stages. The bloating worsens among women who have gynecological conditions like endometriosis. Many postmenopausal females suffering from IBS also reported that they experienced abdominal distention and bloating at the same time.
This is prevalent in both males and females suffering from IBS. The hard and dry stools don’t pass easily through your intestines. As per the studies from NCBI (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6175559/), constipation symptoms are more in females than in men.
When I had it, it was as if I wanted to go to the loo every fifteen minutes. The abdominal pain was terrifying. Unfortunately, my visit to the washroom was not always successful because of this constipation problem. The doctor said that my stool dried up midway before reaching the path of release.
IBS with diarrhea is sometimes called IBS-D. Although it is more common in men, women experience a worse condition if it hits before their menstrual period. Women often report that they have cramps during their periods. In addition to that, if they have IBS, diarrhea absolutely flattens them to bed. I was not in a condition to move from my bed for at least a couple of days when I experienced the first few episodes of IBS and periods together.
There were cramp and pain in my lower abdomen, and whenever I went to take a dump, there was mucus in the stool. I also noticed that the stool contained blood. However, it was not every time, but the doctor said that it was a symptom of IBS.
4. Urinary Incontinence
As per the reports of Wiley Online Library (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1442-2042.2009.02442.x), one of the unique IBS symptoms females experience is urinary incontinence. This is a combination of many problems like increased urgency, more frequent urination, pain while urinating, and nocturia, a condition where you urinate several times at night.
In my case, the pain was there, but since the abdominal pain was unbearable, I did not pay heed to the pain while urinating.
5. Pelvic organ prolapse
According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2807921/), there are few dangerous IBS symptoms females may experience that involves pelvic organ prolapse. This is a severe condition when the tissues and muscles holding your pelvic organs become loose. They weaken due to IBS, and soon the organs start to fail.
Diarrhea and chronic constipation can aggravate this problem. Some of the types of pelvic organ prolapse are rectal prolapse, uterine prolapse, urethral prolapse, and vaginal prolapse. Fortunately, my IBS episodes did not lead to this kind of condition. That’s why it is essential to consult a doctor whenever you experience any of these symptoms. You never know when the situation worsens.
6. Deterioration of menstrual symptoms
Women suffering from IBS also share that they noticed changes in their menstrual symptoms. Doctors believe that a woman’s body goes through hormonal fluctuations during the onset of their menstrual periods, but IBS contributes to the pain that they have to suffer. Periods are more painful than ever, and the flow is much heavier.
I couldn’t sleep for a couple of nights during the time of my periods. There was a double dose of pain all the time. I was so fed-up, I even checked for videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXWdxLrQ8NA ) that explained more symptoms about IBS.
Experts believe that women under 50 are more likely to experience IBS. Most importantly, anxiety and depression can also aggravate the symptoms. So, try to stay happier even with the pain. I know it is next to impossible, but it can help you deal with IBS better.