Everything You Need to Know about Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Treatment for IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is an Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, quite commonly known as IBS, is a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder affecting our digestive system. It is also known as Irritable Bowel, Irritable Colon, and Spastic Colon. IBS is usually triggered by abdominal pain, stomach cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. An important thing to note is that IBS is a lifetime issue, and to treat it better, one needs to change their diet and lifestyle. However, an important thing to underline is that this disease is not associated with the large intestine but with the brain. The common causes of IBS are stress, anxiety, depression, increased consumption of fatty acids, caffeine, and more. Medical Science believes that having an Irritable Bowel Syndrome is contingent on an individual brain and bowel system coordination. Three types of IBS situations affect the human body:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation : This is the type of IBS wherein an individual has trouble pooping 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea: This is the type of IBS wherein an individual has loose motions
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Mixed Bowels : This is the type of IBS wherein an individual has mixed symptoms of constipation and loose motions 

Understanding the causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

In the history of medical science, the exact reason IBS happens is not known. Some of the common reasons IBS can occur are genetics, stress, anxiety, issues in colonic motility, vulnerability to certain types of foods, and more. IBS is found in teenagers and adults. However, it is less likely to impact people above 50 years.

Furthermore, below is the list of combination of several factors that can lead to IBS:

  • The intestine has walls that help it pass the food through the digestive tract; this functionality is completed with the help of contract muscles. When contractions are muscular and happen for longer intervals, it can lead to specific issues such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. However, when contractions are weak, they can trouble an individual passing the stool, leading to constipation. 
  • The biggest reason for having an IBS is poor coordination between the brain and intestine. This can create havoc as the body cannot understand the straightforward process of excretion, which further leads to abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.
  • Anybody with a past medical history of gastroenteritis is more prone to contracting an IBS
  • People with highly stressful lifestyles are more to contract IBS 
Another critical fact to note is that the following factors usually trigger IBS:
  • Food Habits: Certain foods and beverages, namely wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, junk food, and carbonated drinks, can trigger symptoms of IBS. The best way to manage this is to create a complete food list to note the food items affecting your health and causing pain. This will help the doctor to understand your food allergies and provide treatment accordingly
  • Stressful Lifestyle: Stress is bad for health, and studies have shown that stress can inflate IBS. It is therefore essential to practice stress-releasing activities such as exercise, meditation, and yoga

What are the common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS is a disease that needs to be managed throughout ones’ life, and IBS symptoms differ for everyone. Some people have severe IBS symptoms that affect their travel life, social life; however, for some people, it is about making certain adjustments in life and food habits. Individuals are diagnosed with IBS when they have the below-mentioned symptoms for three months or more. The most common symptoms of IBS are listed below:

Abdominal Pain       Excess gas
     Stomach Cramps and or bloating     Mucus in your poop
·         Changes in the bowel movement such as time and colorDiarrhea (IBS-D), and Constipation (IBS-C)
common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The symptoms mentioned above can aggravate based on the frequency and the type of bowel movements. An individual can have severe symptoms at the onset, but there is a decline with the proper treatment and correct diagnoses. Losing the appetite is also one of the significant issues for many people.

How can Irritable Bowel Syndrome be treated?

It is very well-known that there is no specific treatment for IBS; the doctor will prescribe the treatment based on individual symptoms and past medical conditions. To identify the causes that trigger IBS, the doctor may recommend the following test:

  • Blood tests
  • Stool examination and stool cultures
  • Microscopic exam of a stool sample
  • Fecal Calprotectin
  • Colonoscopy

The medical professional usually prescribe certain medicines to provide treatment for IBS, such as Antispasmodics, Anti-diarrheal Agents, Laxatives, and Anti-anxiety medications.

Furthermore, doctors may suggest specific lifestyle changes, such as asking the patient to monitor their diet and take note of the food that causes stomach aches, vomiting, constipation, and more. Any food item that worsens the situation needs to be avoided. Any stressful activity can further aggravate IBS symptoms, leading to bowel movements, fatigue, or low energy. Taking a good amount of rest and proper exercise can help reduce stress levels and positively influence IBS

Do I need to see a gastroenterologist?

At the initial stage, an individual can visit the primary care physician/ general physician about the symptoms and health issues related to IBS. GP then may refer the individual to the gastroenterologist, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Gastrologists are skilled in treating the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, and liver.

Certain homeopaths and ayurvedic doctors also provide treatment for the same. Homeopathy is a type of medical science that believes that body has a self-healing capacity and can be cured with the help of certain plants substance. Homeopathy uses plant-based substances to treat the diseases; this is done by diluting the substance by adding water treating allergies and other illnesses.

Ayurveda treatment is based on sustaining the balance between body and mind. Ayurvedic medicine is designed to treat the human body by cleaning it, such that all the toxins get released from the body, and the body feels light.

Any individual can visit the General Physician, Gastroenterologist, Homeopathic Doctor, or Ayuvedic Doctor after observing a constant change in bowel movements, sudden weight loss, constipation, vomiting, and more.

What are the home remedies for IBS ?

Distinct types of home remedies are readily available, which can help individuals to manage symptoms and pain related to IBS; these home remedies do not include any medicines.

Below mentioned is the list of home remedies: 

  • Performing regular physical activity 
  • Reducing the consumption of certain beverages and food that trigger pain in the abdominal and intestine issues 
  • Taking mini-meals at a constant interval
  • Adopting a stress-free lifestyle may include taking some counseling, practicing relaxing techniques, and more 
  • Including probiotic-rich diets such as intaking yogurt, cheeses, sour pickles, and more to ease gas and stomach bloating
  • Abstaining from Junk Food, Deep-fried Food, and Spicy Food 

IBS may be a life-ling issue. Its symptoms can be troublesome for some people as it can affect their regular lifestyle by reducing their capability to work, travel, and socialize. However, on a positive note, IBS gets better with treatment and does not cause any everlasting harm to the intestine or further aggravate any other diseases such as Cancer. Hence the best way to manage IBS is to lead a disciplined lifestyle by reducing intake of certain food items and increasing information of fibers, laxatives, and more. Some people are also advised to take drugs that help calm an overactive digestive system and some anti-depressant to help the brain. Lastly, an important thing to note is that both body-mind are interconnected; any issue up causes issue down and vice versa. Therefore, having a healthy body and mind is imperative to lead a healthy lifestyle.

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