Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder that affects the large intestine or colon. This syndrome is a chronic condition that needs long term management. Symptoms vary depending on the severity. Common symptoms are:
• Diarrhoea or constipation
• bloated feeling
• Abdominal pain and cramping
• Mucus in stool
HOW IS IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome is done by a general physician who would examine your symptoms and also do a stool test along with X-ray, blood test and USG if needed.
HOW IS IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME TREATED?
The most common treatment for IBS includes Antispasmodics, Antidiarrheal drugs and laxatives if there is a problem of constipation. But most importantly, an alternate diet has to be followed including lots of fibre, water, avoiding dairy, etc.
DID YOU KNOW?
Laxatives may be prescribed by the doctor for controlling IBS symptoms but the dosage should be as per prescription as these medications could be habit forming in nature.
A gastrointestinal disorder comprising long term symptoms like abdominal pain and irregular bowel movement pattern without significant lateral internal damage, Irritable bowel syndrome is of the following 4 types:
• IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
• IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
• IBS with both diarrhea and constipation (IBS – M)
• IBS in which neither diarrhea or constipation is common (IBS-U)
In the absence of specific causes linked to IBS, the following reasons are usually commonly cited:
• Prolonged fever
• Acute gastrointestinal infection
• Physical and psychological abuse during childhood
• Stress and/or psychiatric illness
• Excessive bacterial or fungal growth in the small intestine
• Protozoal infection
Irritable Bowel Syndrome has the following characteristics:
• Change in bowel habits
• Urgency for bowel movement
• Abdominal pain and discomfort
• Bloating and abdominal distention
• Chronic fatigue, headaches and anxiety
Similar symptoms of abdominal pain and abnormal bowel movements are seen in other conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), giardiasis and colon cancer. Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome therefore presents some practical difficulties.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease usually occurs in the large intestine and may affect:
• The area near the rectum causing rectal bleeding,
• The rectum and the lower end of the colon resulting in blood diarrhea, abdominal cramps and tenesmus (inability to excrete the stool completely),
• The left side of the colon causing severe colon pain, bloody diarrhea and weight loss,
• The entire colon also causing extreme abdominal cramps and colon pain besides inducing inability to eat, diarrhea, and fever as well as weight loss.
The IBS diet includes ingredients which ease the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
• Soluble Fibre: Increasing consumption of soluble fibre helps to make defecation easier by increasing the volume of the stool.
• Low FODMAP diet: Fermentable Oligo- Di- and Monosaccharides and Polyols aggravate the symptoms of IBS. Reducing their intake helps counter the symptoms of IBS as well as IBD effectively.
• Medication: Patients of IBS are often prescribed laxatives for stool softening. In severe cases, morphine and oxycodone may also be administered. Antispasmodics are used against cramps and diarrhea.
If the IBS is a result of psychological or stress related problems, patients may be recommended psychological therapies and stress relief regimens. Yoga focusing on the lower abdominal area, peppermint oil and acupuncture can also be useful in certain cases.
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