We all have tummy troubles now and again, but certain symptoms may signal something more serious. If you experience any of these pains, see your doctor so you can get your digestive tract running smoothly again.
BY SUSAN JARA
IBS: Cramping in the lower abdomen
If ongoing stomach pain is also accompanied by bloating, gassiness, and a change in bowel habits— either constipation or diarrhea—it could be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). “IBS is probably one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders that a gastroenterologist sees,” says Lawrence J. Brandt, MD, emeritus chief in the division of gastroenterology at Montefiore Health System. IBS affects about 10 to 20 percent of the U.S. population (mostly women). Though the cause is unknown, some studies suggest that people with IBS (sometimes called “spastic colon”) have an overly sensitive colon or large intestine. IBS shouldn’t cause weight loss or rectal bleeding, says Dr. Brandt. If that happens, something else is going on.