Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in a common gastroenterological condition that affects the digestive symptom. It is usually a lifelong condition that can have a significant impact on everyday life. IBSis often difficult to diagnose as there are no scans or other tests that prove its existence. It is thought to affect around 20% of people at some point in their lives.

What are the symptoms?

There are a number of symptoms associated with IBS, including:

  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy

Cause and treatment

The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but there are a number of potential theories, including:

  • Genetics
  • Prior life experiences – such as infection or trauma of the gut
  • Oversensitive nerves in the gut

There is no cure for IBS and treatment options are largely focused on symptom management. This can include lifestyle changes such as using fresh produce for cooking, avoiding lots of fatty, spicy, or processed foods, limiting caffeinated, alcoholic, or fizzy drinks.

There are also recommendations for the management of individual symptoms. If these management options are not helping, a person with IBS may be referred to a dietician or specialist for advice and recommendations for additional treatments.

Medical Cannabis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

If the first-line treatment options are unable to effectively manage the symptoms of IBS, medical cannabis can be considered. The endocannabinoid system has been found to play a significant role in regulating the nerves that control the gut. Therefore, medical cannabis may be useful in improving symptoms associated IBS.

Our specialist clinicians are experienced in assessing individual cases and helping to determine whether medical cannabis could be an effective option.