What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder that attacks the large intestine. It causes abdominal cramps, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. Some people with this disorder are constipated. Some have diarrhea. Others come and go between the two. Although IBS causes a lot of discomforts, it does not harm the intestines.
People also call irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as spastic colitis, mucosal colitis, and nervous colon. This is a chronic condition. However, its characteristics vary over the years. Symptoms often improve as people learn to handle the situation.
Who gets irritable bowel syndrome?
IBS is one of the most common ailments diagnosed by doctors. Some people are more likely to have IBS:
- People younger than 50 (IBS usually starts before age 35)
- People with a family member who has IBS
Causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
The specific cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is strange. However, many experts believe that this is due to a number of interrelated factors.
- Abnormality in the way muscles move food through the digestive system.
- The digestive organs are particularly sensitive to pain.
- Dysfunctional immune system
- The problem is how the central nervous system regulates the digestive system.
- Unusual response to infection.
- Environmental, dietary and genetic factors are still unknown
Risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome
- Family history of IBS
- Emotional stress, tension, or anxiety
- Food intolerance
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Severe digestive tract infection
Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) include:
- Mild or severe abdominal pain, discomfort, or cramping that normally goes away after a bowel movement
- Periods of diarrhea or constipation, or alternating among these two symptoms
- Bloating, gassiness, or a sense of becoming a distended abdomen
- Mucus in bowel movements
- Feeling as though a bowel movement is incomplete
The signs and symptoms differ from person to person. They are often similar to the symptoms of other diseases and conditions and affect different parts of the body as well.
These may include:
- Frequent urination
- Halitosis, or bad breath
- Joint or muscle pain
- Persistent fatigue
- In females, painful sex, or dyspareunia
- Irregular menses
Diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome
The starting point of the diagnosis is a detailed history to identify the characteristic features of IBS and the physical examination. Laboratory blood and stool tests, X-rays, and endoscopic procedures (for example, colonoscopy) are not used to make a diagnosis, but to rule out other diseases of the intestine with similar symptoms. These tests are usually common in patients with IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is best determined by the use of the Rome Criteria, which is a collection of the most common symptoms that indicate a disorder.
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome depends on the symptoms you have, how severe they are, and how they affect your daily life. One treatment may not work best for everyone.
Learn all you can about irritable bowel syndrome so you and your doctor can work together to find out what triggers your symptoms. You should make a habit of your lifestyle and continue your daily activities to better treat your symptoms. Tell your doctor if some parts of your treatment do not improve your symptoms.
- Visit a dietitian for advice on digestible foods. You should avoid foods made with caffeine, dairy, some fruits and vegetables, spicy and fatty foods, and gluten. Gluten foods include cereal, pasta, and processed foods.
- Eat small meals throughout the day
- Increase your fibre a little at a time
- Reduce your stress level
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Try meditation or therapy
- Take medicines. Your doctor will tell you which ones may work for your type of IBS
Diet for irritable bowel syndrome
Dietary factors play a role in the induction of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Symptoms are usually more critical after consuming certain products such as chocolate, milk, or alcohol. They can cause constipation or diarrhea. Some fruits, vegetables, and sodas can cause bloating and discomfort. It is not clear if food allergy or intolerance plays a role.
Foods that commonly trigger cramps or bloating include foods that cause flatulence, such as:
- Brussels sprouts
Other foods that can trigger flares include:
- Dairy products
- Sugar-free gum
- Some candies
They contain caffeinated products, which may be due to intolerance to sugar, sorbitol, or caffeine instead of IBS.
Prevention of irritable bowel syndrome
Since no one knows what causes irritable bowel syndrome, it is impossible to prevent the disorder. After suffering from IBS, a person can reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms by reducing stress or changing diet.
Complications of irritable bowel syndrome
Diarrhea and constipation associated with IBS can cause hemorrhoids. If you already have hemorrhoids, they can get worse.
Irritable bowel syndrome affects your quality of life because symptoms can limit your daily activities.
Prognosis for irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) usually causes symptoms that are chronic and will accompany you often throughout your life. However, symptoms come and go. You may have long periods of no symptoms or only mild symptoms. Treatment often helps reduce symptoms when they are inflamed. IBS often improves over time, and in some cases, symptoms go away for good at some point.
Departments to consult for this condition
- Department of gastroenterology