April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month, providing support and resources to the millions of sufferers of IBS nationwide – and urging people to take this chronic condition seriously.
So many people suffering from gastrointestinal distress wonder: “Should I go to urgent care for IBS?” The answer? Absolutely. Particularly if the pain and discomfort from this chronic condition are disrupting your day-to-day life and making normal activity arduous – or causing it to screech to a halt altogether. Your doctor will want to determine if your IBS is possibly masking a more serious issue.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disorder affecting the large intestine. While the exact cause is unknown, it is believed to be linked to changes in the way the gut functions and may be triggered by stress, certain foods, hormonal fluctuations, and even changes in the environment.
IBS is a frequently uncomfortable, embarrassing, and even painful condition that can cause a range of digestive issues, including, but not limited to:
- Abdominal pain
- Mucus in stool
- A feeling of fullness
IBS can affect both men and women of all ages but is most common in people between the ages of 45 and 64. At last count, the condition impacted almost 15 percent of Americans.
When to Head to Urgent Care for IBS Symptoms
Whether you have been diagnosed with IBS or believe your digestive distress may be caused by the condition, it is important to know when to seek help.
- Chronic Symptoms That Worsen Over Time: If you are suffering from chronic IBS symptoms that have been increasing in intensity, including abdominal pain and bloating, it may be time to visit urgent care rather than wait until things become unbearable. Doctors may be able to recommend lifestyle changes or medications that can help ease your symptoms and provide some relief.
- Emergency Situations: If you are experiencing any sort of emergency related to your IBS, such as severe abdominal pain, intense vomiting and/or diarrhea, or bleeding that does not cease with home treatment, it is imperative to seek medical attention immediately. While IBS itself does not lead to nor cause other diseases (and while painful, cannot damage or harm the large intestine), its common symptoms are mirrored by many other abdominal conditions. A doctor’s intervention may be required to pinpoint the cause of your distress and prevent any further complications.
- Diagnosis Confirmation: If you suspect that you may have IBS but have never received an official diagnosis from a healthcare professional, visiting urgent care may help to confirm the condition and provide treatment options much sooner than if you wait for an appointment with your regular doctor. Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination, lab testing, and a review of both symptoms and medical history.
If you are experiencing changes with your bowels or new IBS symptoms, and if you have pain or discomfort that is not relieved with time and normal home remedies, it may be time to see a doctor.
All patients are welcome at Quality First Urgent Care. Whether you are sick, injured, or simply feel that something is “not right,” you can count on our team of emergency medical professionals to be present and attentive to your needs. Schedule your appointment today.