Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder in which, the patient suffers from abdominal pain and cramping, changes of bowel movements and other symptoms. Other names of the IBS include mucous colitis, Irritable colon, Spastic colon, and Spastic colitis. IBS is different from the IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) that incorporates Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease. In the IBS, the bowel structure is not uncharacteristic.


Unfortunately, it is not clear why the IBS develops. Sometimes, it happens after intestine infections, also known as the post infectious IBS. The brain and intestine are connected with each other. The signals are interchange between the brain and the bowel. These signals have effects on bowel function as well as its symptoms. The nerves become more active with stress, and as a result, the intestines become more sensitive. IBS can arise at any age; though it usually starts in the teen age or in early adulthood. It is usually more existing in women than men, in fact the ratio is 2:1. Surveys say that in the U.S., 1 out of every 6 persons is suffering fro IBS. It is probably the most frequent intestinal problem, which forces the patients to visit a gastroenterologist.


Symptoms are generally moderate to severe. Mostly, the people have moderate symptoms. Symptoms are usually differing from one individual to another. The major symptoms of the IBS are abdominal fullness, pain, bloating, and gas that are available for at least 3 days every month for the last 3 months. The pain and other symptoms can frequently reduced or disappear after the bowel movement or occur when there is some alteration in how commonly you have bowel movement.

People suffering from IBS may switch between the diarrhea and constipation, with mainly having one or more. The people having diarrhea, frequently have loose and watery stools. They can frequently have urgent necessity to have the bowel movement, which may be hard to control. Those, who suffer from the constipation, may have hard time while passing the stool with less bowel movement. They may frequently need to strain or may feel cramps having the bowel movement. Usually, they do not make any stool or barely a small amount. For a few people, symptoms can get worsen for some weeks or one month, and then reduce for a while. People having IBS can also have loss of appetite.

Signs and Tests

Generally, the doctor can diagnose the IBS from the symptoms, with some or may be no tests. Eating the lactose-free diet for around 2 weeks may help the doctor to check for possible lactose deficit. No tests are accessible to diagnose IBS. The tests may be performed to eliminate the other problems are blood tests to see if the patient has anemia, as well as stool cultures to verify in case, there is some infection.
Some patients need to undergo colonoscopy. In colonoscopy, a bendable tube is inserted via anus to examine colon. You can require the test if:

  • Symptoms instigates later in the life over the age of 50
  • You have the symptoms like bloody stools or weight loss
  • You have the abnormal blood tests like low blood count

Other diseases, which may source similar symptoms, consist of:

  • Celiac disease
  • Colon cancer (This cancer hardly ever causes the typical IBS symptoms, except symptoms like blood in stools, weight loss, or the abnormal blood examinations are present)
  • Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease


The main purpose of the treatment of IBS is easing the symptoms slightly. Lifestyle changes can support in some cases of the IBS. For example, normal exercise with better sleep habits may reduce anxiety and support in relieving bowel symptoms. Dietary adjustments may also be supportive. However, no precise diet is recommended for this disease because the condition differs from one individual to another.

However, one can follow these things, which might help:

  • Avoid foods and drinks that stimulate intestines like colas, tea, or caffeine
  • Avoid heavy meals
  • Increase fiber in the diet because it will advance the constipation although may make bloating inferior
  • Consult your doctor before using any over-the-counter tablets

No drug works for every person. The medications your doctor might try include:

  • Anti cholinergic medications like hyoscyamine, dicyclomine, belladonna, and propantheline, to control spasms of intestine muscle
  • Bisacodyl to treat the constipation
  • Loperamide to treat the diarrhea
  • Tricyclic antidepressants in low doses to relieve the intestinal pain
  • Lubiprostone to treat constipation symptoms
  • Rifaximin as antibiotic

All these treatments may assist in cases of depression and severe anxiety.

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