Irritable Bowel Syndrome FAQ
What is IBS?
IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome is very common occurrence in the United States. IBS is a colon disorder that cause diarrhea, constipation, bloating and cramping. Even though it's very common, it's not very talked about due to its somewhat embarrassing or uncomfortable nature. IBS is often misdiagnosed as colitis, irritable bowel disease, or spastic colon.
What are the signs of IBS?
- Abdominal Cramps
- Mucus in the stool
What are the causes of IBS?
No one really has an idea why IBS is caused. It is speculated that in a person with IBS, their colon muscles are incredibly sensitive to stimuli such as stress, certain foods, or medications. Usually the muscles in the walls of the intestine relax and contract as food moves through the intestinal track. In people with IBS, food either moves too fast or too slow, causing symptoms that range from minor to severe. Researchers are not sure why the muscles are more sensitive in IBS people than other people.
What could be some triggers of IBS?
- Food. Some people have a reaction to certain foods. Common triggers could be
- Milk, chocolate, or alcohol.
- Other illnesses.
How is IBS diagnosed?
IBS is diagnosed usually by exclusion. This means that other diseases have to be ruled out, including anything that is an infection, an organic disease, or any other causes to the symptoms. In 1988 a group of physicians set up The Rome Criteria as a guideline to more accurately diagnose IBS. A complete medical history and exam are recommended.
Who is most likely to have IBS?
You are more likely to have IBS is you are female and young, even though most people can experience signs of IBS at some point in their lives. For 50% of people, IBS begins before age 35 and it is twice as common in females.
Are their complications to IBS?
Hemorrhoids can be aggravated by symptoms of IBS, especially diarrhea and constipation. IBS can have a negative effect on your life; relationships with family and friends, work, and general overall quality of life. It can lead to feelings of depression or discouragement.
Can I be treated for IBS?
Treatment concentrates on relieving symptoms since there is no clear cause of IBS. If you can make slight lifestyle changes and learn to manage stress, then keeping IBS under control is truly possible. Some suggestions could include:
- Antidepressant Medications.
- Cutting out high gas foods.
- Fiber supplements.
- Anti-Diarrhea medications.
- Specific IBS Medications.
How can I prevent IBS?
Since there is no known cause of IBS, slight changes in lifestyle such as minimizing stress can have a huge impact on your quality of life when dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Some techniques to consider would be to do regular exercise, yoga, or meditation. Some people try hypnosis. Others believe in the healing power of relaxation exercises. Whatever works for you and minimized stress, try it for 20 relaxing minutes a day. IBS is a complication that can seem depressing or overwhelming, but with the proper treatment and care, you can live life normally, to the fullest extent!