Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common stomach condition that generally first appears when a person is between twenty and thirty years of age.
People with IBS experience a variety of symptoms that affects their digestive system. These symptoms will differ from person to person, but there are some that are more frequent than others.
Depending on the seriousness of the condition you may be able to determine whether or not you suffer from IBS, but you should always consult your Doctor.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome is what’s known as a stomach and gut function disorder. This includes the bowels, and a functional disorder is when a problem occurs in a part of the body and it no longer fulfills its purpose.
This can cause a range of complications in the individual resulting in great discomfort and in some cases pain.
Although the stomach and bowel may become irritated it will appear to be normal under tests.
The only way to diagnose IBS is through examination of symptoms. IBS affects up to 15% of the US population.
Most people who have IBS don’t realize that they have the condition, and only a small portion will seek medical assistance.
Studies have shown that women are twice as likely to suffer from IBS than men. The following are among the most regular symptoms found in people that have IBS
– Those with mild to strong IBS will experience some degree of pain or discomfort, and this is influenced by how developed the condition is. Pain associated with IBS is generally sporadic rather than constant, but the length of each session can vary. This pain can also change in severity each time it occurs in the individual.
– Bloating and swelling of the abdominal region is another common symptom and people with IBS may find that they pass wind more often than normal.
– It’s common to have regular bouts of constipation or diarrhea, and this can alternate between one and the other.
– The texture and consistency of the individual’s stool will change and can become minute and pellet-like. The individual may also find their stool to become watery and thin.
– Many people with IBS find that they have an urgent need to go to the toilet, especially in the morning. This may happen several times over the first hour after waking and after breakfast.
– Other symptoms associated with the condition include nausea, headaches, loss of appetite, belching and passing wind, fatigue, back pains and muscle cramps, heartburn and bladder problems.
– It should be noted that while passing blood may be attributed with IBS, it is not a symptom of IBS. However, if you ever find blood in your stool you should immediately contact your Doctor, as it may be a sign of a more serious problem.
To make the diagnosis processing and the choosing of apt treatment easier, many Doctors group people with IBS into one of three categories, depending on their symptoms. The first group consists of those who suffer mainly from abdominal pain and bloating and constipation.
The second group is made up of those with abdominal pain and problems relating to need to use the toilet urgency, such as diarrhea. The third group consists of people with IBS who alternate between having constipation and diarrhea. Unfortunately people rarely fall into one set group, and in the majority of cases symptoms overlap.
Causes of IBS
No one is exactly sure what causes IBS, but it is suggested that it has something to do with an overactive gut, which is the long tube that connects the mouth to the anus. The food we digest is passed along via contractions in the wall of the gut, and it is believed that when this happens too frequently people can develop IBS.
It is unknown why the gut sometimes becomes overactive, but stress and emotional trauma are often considered to be chief causes of the condition. People with IBS often note that their symptoms become much worse during times of anxiety or stress. Another potential cause of IBS is intolerance towards specific foods.
The individual is often unaware of this intolerance and continues to eat the food without realizing that it is aggravating their condition. However, it should be noted that this only thought to be truthful of a few IBS cases, and is not a general assumption.
Although IBS is not caused by a bacterial infection, around one in six cases report that their symptoms follow a case of gastroenteritis, which is an infection of the gut that causes diarrhea and vomiting.
Treatments for IBS
For the majority of people that suffer IBS, no real treatment is needed, as the symptoms are mild enough to pass after a short period of time. One natural treatment that most people with IBS are advised to take is an increase in the amount of fiber in their diet.
Individuals need to ensure that they are getting the right type of fiber, as some studies report that one particular type of fiber is beneficial to those with IBS, while another does nothing to ease the symptoms.
IBS reacts better to soluble fiber rather than insoluble fiber, so try increasing your intake of oats, nuts and seeds. Those that have this condition are often required to make changes in their lifestyles and their diets, such as removing fizzy or caffeinated drinks from their diet. Antispasmodic medicines are used to help calm the wall of the gut, are prescribed by Doctors in cases of extreme discomfort or pain.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common condition that can affect anyone of us. Nobody is entirely sure why IBS occurs, but it is attributed to an overactive gut as well as irritation brought on by the consumption of certain foods and drinks.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from IBS, arrange a consultation with your local Doctor and ask for their advice on dealing with the condition.