Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a gastroenterological disorder. IBS is generally identified by some or the entire of the following bouquet of symptoms like acute abdominal pain and recognizable differences in the usual arrangement of bowel movements. Chronic or recurrent constipation or diarrhea characterizes the altered bowel habits of such patients. IBS Patients at times are found having both the symptoms of constipation and diarrhea, each manifesting at different times. Inflammation of the abdomen or bloating is also likely to take place.
The occurrence of the IBS symptoms can also change patterns over varying periods of time. There are times when the symptoms flare-up as well as periods when they diminish or disappear.
The commonest symptoms that the people suffering from IBS or irritable bowel syndrome often face are flatulence, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and severe abdominal cramps. Often it is very difficult for the patients to keep such symptoms in control. The symptoms disturb the daily lives of the patients and at times put them up for some very embarrassing situations.
Can IBS Make your Chest Hurt?
Unlike abdominal pains, chest pain is not a very common symptom of IBS. But it is not unheard of either. The entire gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus gets affected by irritable bowel syndrome. Chest pain can occur if there is a sudden spasm or malfunctioning of the esophagus. In such conditions, the other symptoms that crop up apart from chest pain are: difficulty in swallowing, belching, etc. since the esophagus is located just behind the sternum or the breastbone, any spasm caused in the esophagus results in discomfort in the chest or chest pain. Generally the spasm attacks of the esophagus are found to be sudden and very painful.
However, the area where the esophageal spasm and the consequent chest pain occur is very similar to the area where cardiac-problem related chest pains happen. So one can never be sure of the root cause of the chest pain until relevant medical examinations are done and only then the medication can take place.
There are even rare cases when a patient has chest pains and at different points in time they are caused by different reasons – sometimes IBS sometimes cardiac problems. Hence, to be sure of which medication to use during what symptom, it is wise if a patient undergoing chest pain gets medically examined by a cardiologist.
Ways to Keep Chest Pain in Control When You Have IBS
Several food items and beverages act as catalysts in causing chest pain by inducing gas, bloating, constipation, acid reflux etc.
It is better if IBS patients avoid Fructose (a sugar found in sweet vegetables and fruits) since it does not get digested properly in their systems and causes bloating and gas. Carbonated (fizzy) drinks, milk products, foods high in sugar, caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and beans, etc. should also be avoided. One should chew one's food properly; eat slowly and in quiet, relaxed conditions so as to aid digestion.
The condition of IBS is worsened by skipping of meals. One should be very careful about having this practice at all. Also, the gap between two consecutive meals should be shortened. All these things help in keeping flatulence formation and bloating at bay and in turn can resist chest pain.