What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a disorder of the digestive system and intestines. While IBS can be responsible for a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, chronic constipation or diarrhea, it is not a life threatening condition. Irritable Bowel Syndrome may be a life-time problem; however, there are many approaches to control or greatly reduce the symptoms. More serious conditions and diseases of the colon mush be ruled out prior to making a proper diagnosis of IBS.
IBS is not a progressive or degenerative disease and even though symptoms may be exacerbated or seem to become more prevalent at times, IBS will not get “worse” over time. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, (IBS) is unlike other gastro-intestinal disorder in that it is not progressive or life threatening.
What Are the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):
The symptoms of IBS may include unpleasant and painful intestinal discomfort. Chronic abdominal cramping/pain, loose stool or diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating are a few of the symptoms that the patient may experience. Your gastroenterologist or health care provider will conduct a physical exam as well as review a checklist of symptoms that have occurred at least 4-6 months.
What are the Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
While the medical community cannot clearly say what causes IBS, and there is no conclusive scientific data to support an exact cause. There are numerous theories which may differ for individual patients.
Some patients may have problems digesting certain types of foods, anxiety, stress, gluten intolerance or food allergies. Those suffering from IBS may have sensitivity of the intestines or problems with peristalsis, the naturally occurring spasms of the colon aiding in the movement of food through the upper and lower portions of the colon after ingestion.
What are the Common Treatment Options for IBS?
While Irritable bowel syndrome may be a chronic or life-long condition, there are many treatment options available to help lessen, maintain or manage the symptoms to regain a level of normalcy in the patient’s everyday life. Treatment options will usually involve making changes to one’s lifestyle, behaviors, and habits that can help ease or alleviate symptoms.
Determining the patients triggers for IBS flare ups, along with nutritional and dietary management, regular exercise, stress management and relaxation techniques, a healthcare provider may prescribe certain times of prescription and non-prescription drugs. Counseling with a dietary or nutritional expert, prescriptions, or various homeopathic remedies are commonly used to treat IBS symptoms.