Have you recently had difficulty going to the bathroom, had abdominal pain, or an excessive amount of gas? Maybe you have had the runs for a couple days, and you are just not sure what is causing this to happen.
Problems with the bowel movements can go either way, meaning you may have constipation or diarrhea. Taking care of these problems can be done using simple over-the-counter medications, but it’s also good to know exactly what you need to do to prevent these problems from occurring.
There is a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome that affects millions of people, and has many symptoms including the ones that were mentioned, as well as side effects including headaches, anxiety issues, and feeling lethargic or weak. This article will discuss what irritable bowel syndrome is, how to prevent IBS, and over-the-counter remedies that can help you out with either constipation or diarrhea.
An Overview Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
If you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, also known as spastic colon, it is a problem that occurs within your digestive tract. Your normal bowel movement habits will be greatly disrupted, and you may find yourself experiencing a significant amount of pain. There is no cure for this particular condition because scientists and doctors have no idea what actually causes it to happen.
Some people will have an excessive amount of stress in their life, and end up with diarrhea, or they could be taking medications that are prescribed and become constipated as a result.
Because of the many factors that are associated with this particular condition, it’s easier for physicians, and even people trying to diagnose this for themselves, to look at the symptoms that they are experiencing when trying to figure out what they need to do to handle IBS in their life.
Top Symptoms For IBS That Often Occur
If these symptoms were to actually happen alone, meaning by themselves, they may not be related to irritable bowel syndrome. These symptoms include a variety of problems including bloating, pain in your abdomen, a feeling as if you still have to go to the bathroom but you don’t, and other more serious conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic headaches, and fibromyalgia.
When you go to the doctor, and you explain that you are having some of these symptoms, especially in conjunction with constipation or diarrhea, they will more than likely think that irritable bowel syndrome is what is occurring and will then look at what may be causing it to occur.
General Causes For IBS
It is often thought that IBS is the result of serotonin levels shifting in your body. Serotonin is produced in the brain, but also in the stomach, and a deficiency in it can lead to constipation. Likewise, if you have too much serotonin, you could end up with diarrhea. The serotonin actually causes peristalsis to actually increase or decrease depending upon the levels that are in the digestive tract.
It is also thought that bacterial infections can cause this problem, though there is not a lot of definitive information or testing that has been done to prove this conclusively.
In general, people believe that stress is a primary precursor to IBS in the same way that it can lead to other chronic conditions. At the very least, if your diet does not have a lot of fiber, or if you are not drinking enough water, it is possible that you could end up with irritable bowel syndrome.
Diagnosing Irritable Bowel Syndrome Medically
The first thing that your doctor will do is rule out certain things including infections, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and lactose intolerance.
They will also look into celiac disease which can be caused by having an allergic reaction to wheat products. The diagnosis may also involve a colonoscopy in which they will look at the interior of your colon to see if any cancer has formed.
If you have had a hysterectomy recently, or an appendectomy, these are all possible precursors to this condition. Once the differential diagnosis has been done, along with all of the preliminary investigations which may include stool microscopy, blood tests, and an endoscopy, they will be able to make their final determination.
Over-The-Counter Remedies For IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome is almost always something that can be fixed as a result of using an over-the-counter remedy. You are probably either constipation or diarrhea before, and you have simply gone to the store to get a laxative, or something to help prevent the diarrhea from continuing.
A very popular product that is used to deal with constipation is something like Metamucil which is taken in a glass of water and consists primarily of fiber.
This will get things rehydrated, and the fiber will help things move, allowing you to end your bout with constipation. If you are having diarrhea, Imodium is a product that you can buy that is perfect for people that have chronic diarrhea.
It contains a drug called Loperamide which, after about an hour, will fix your diarrhea problem. It is able to stop excess liquid from entering into the colon, thus effectively stopping the diarrhea from happening.
It is perfect for general diarrhea, what should never be used to cure ulcerated colitis or bloody diarrhea if that is what you are experiencing. Now that you know what over-the-counter medicine is good for irritable bowel syndrome, you should be able to handle this on your own without having to consult with a doctor.