Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Condition

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Overview

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an illness of the large intestine that affects a significant proportion of the population. IBS is a chronic illness that will last the rest of your life if not treated properly.It develops in the human body as a result of the abnormal sensitivity of the intestines to certain substances. These symptoms manifest themselves over an extended period of time, frequently years. Indications and symptoms include cramping, stomach discomfort, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation, or a mix of these signs and symptoms. This disease affects the gastrointestinal system, with the large intestine being the most severely affected.

Some individuals find that making changes to their food, lifestyle, and stress level may help them manage the symptoms they are experiencing. For those suffering with more severe symptoms, medicines and counseling may be of assistance.

Causes

Irritable bowel syndrome causes include the following:

·         Contractions of the muscle fibers: Muscle lines the walls of your intestines, which contract when food passes through your digestive system. Gas, bloating, and diarrhea are all potential side effects of contractions that are stronger and continue longer than usual. Due to a lack of intestinal contractions, food may move through the digestive system more slowly, resulting in the formation of firm and dry stools.

·         Nervous System issues: When your abdomen expands as a result of gas or stool, it is conceivable that you are feeling more discomfort than usual as a result of irregularities in the nerves of your digestive system, which may cause pain. It is possible that your body will overreact to changes that occur naturally during the digestive process if the brain and the intestines are not communicating correctly. This can result in pain, diarrhea, and constipation, among other things.

·         Bacterial overgrowth: The development of the syndrome may occur after a severe episode of diarrhea or gastroenteritis, which can be caused by virus or bacteria. Additionally, IBS may be linked with bacterial overgrowth i.e. bacterial overabundance in the intestine.

·         Stress: Individuals who have been exposed to traumatic situations, mainly throughout childhood, are more likely to have IBS symptoms. Additionally, during times of heightened stress, the majority of individuals who suffer with IBS report more frequent IBS symptoms. 

·         Alterations in gut microbiota: Changes in the microorganisms in the stomach may result in IBS. Changes in bacteria, fungi, and viruses, which are normally found in the intestines, have a significant impact on human health and well-being. Individuals suffering with IBS may have germs that vary from bacteria present in healthy persons.

Certain factors may trigger the IBS symptoms. These include:

·         Food. Irritable bowel syndrome may be caused by a food allergy. Many individuals, however, have severe IBS symptoms after consuming or drinking specific foods or beverages, such as citrus fruits, dairy products, wheat, cabbage, beans and carbonated beverages.

Symptoms

Cramping stomach discomfort, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea are some of the symptoms of IBS that you may experience.

It is unusual for individuals suffering with Irritable bowel syndrome to have bouts of both constipation and diarrhea at the same time. Constipation may cause symptoms such as bloating and gas, which usually disappear after you make a bowel movement.

Symptoms are often exacerbated after a meal. A flare-up may continue for several days, after which symptoms may improve or go entirely, depending on the individual.

Individuals exhibit a wide range of signs and symptoms. They often mimic the symptoms of other illnesses and disorders, and they may manifest themselves in a variety of ways and affect various areas of the body.

Usually, symptoms of IBS are not severe or long lasting. Some individuals, on the other hand, have symptoms on a continual basis.

Women may experience greater IBS symptoms around the time of their menstrual cycle. Women who have reached menopause have less symptoms than women who are still menstruating. Some IBS symptoms in women worsen or become more severe when pregnant.

The symptoms of IBS in men are the same as the symptoms of IBS in women.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask the following questions, to inquire about your symptoms: 

·         What symptoms you are experiencing, and if they are persistent or intermittent.

·         When you receive them, how frequently you get them, etc. (for example, after eating certain foods)

·         How long you have been experiencing them

The doctor may also feel around in your stomach area to see if there are any lumps or swelling.

The diagnosis of IBS cannot be confirmed by a test, but you may need certain testing to rule out other potential reasons for your symptoms.

The doctor may make the following arrangements:

·         Testing for issues such as celiac disease via a blood test

·         Checking for infections and Crohn’s disease in your feces

Other diagnostic techniques may include the following:

·         Colonoscopy: To check the colon, the doctor will use a tiny, flexible tube to inspect the colon.

·         X-ray CT scan: Your doctor may be able to rule out other causes of your symptoms based on the images generated by these abdominal and pelvic exams, which is especially useful if you are suffering stomach pain.

Treatment

IBS has no particular cure. The goal of the treatment is to alleviate symptoms as much as possible, allowing you to function as normally as possible.

Stress management, as well as dietary and lifestyle modifications, may frequently be used to reduce mild indications and symptoms of the condition.

If you do not see improvement in your symptoms after trying home remedies, your doctor may recommend that you take medication. The usage of certain medications is intended to treat all symptoms of IBS, while other medications are intended to treat particular symptoms. Medical professionals may provide medicines to reduce muscular spasticity and anti constipation medications, antidepressants to alleviate discomfort, or infections.

When to see a doctor

If you have IBS symptoms that persist for an extended period of time or if you develop a new symptom, see your doctor. If you normally use over-the-counter medicines but find that they are no longer effective in alleviating symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, or cramps, you should visit a doctor.


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