Do recurring digestive issues bother you a lot? Then you might suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many people are affected by IBS and most of them are women. Though it is not life-threatening, it is a long-lasting digestive disorder that changes how the people live their life. People with IBS may miss work often and they may even feel less able to take part in the daily and social activities.
What is “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”?
IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder. It refers to a group of symptoms that affect large intestine with an unknown cause such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea etc. IBS is a chronic condition that needs to be managed for a long term.
What are the symptoms of “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”?
People with irritable bowel syndrome may experience different symptoms unlike same as the others affected by it. The symptoms may vary from person to person and more severely than others. Some of the common symptoms seen in people affected by IBS include:
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in the patterns of bowel movements
What causes “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”?
Though there are no exact causes, set of gastrointestinal disorders can lead to IBS. Some of the health problems that are known to cause or worsen IBS include:
- Extreme stress
- Increased sensitivity of stomach
- Trouble in processing the food through the digestive tract.
- An infection in the digestive tract
- Changes in the bacteria present in the small intestine.
- Reactions to foods or drinks those are hard to digest such as things high in acid, sugar, fat and carbohydrates.
How can “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” be diagnosed?
Usually, IBS is diagnosed by examining the symptoms experienced by the individuals that match the definition of it. The symptoms that may rule out the condition are
- Food allergies
- Enzyme deficiencies that lead to improper digestion of food
- Bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
The patient may also be asked to undergo following tests to decide if he/she has IBS:
- X- rays
- Colonoscopy to look the blockages in intestines if any
- Upper endoscopy if patient experiences heartburn or indigestion
- Blood tests to look for anemia, thyroid problems, and infection
- Test for lactose and gluten intolerances
How can “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” be treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for IBS. But it can be treated and managed well if lifestyle changes are adopted such as,
- Having smaller meals for better digestion.
- Enough fiber intakes to relieve from constipation and have easier bowel movements.
- Avoiding caffeine
- Observing the foods which trigger IBS and avoiding them
- Practicing stress relieving techniques to cope with stress
- Taking probiotic supplements that soothe the digestive tract.
Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome varies greatly depending on the patient.Click here to get an 2nd opinion with our expert doctors.