Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome And The Best Treatment Options

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder linked to the colon (the large intestine). It causes constipation, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, bloating etc. It is a chronic condition that should be managed for the long run. The symptoms of IBS are quite uncomfortable for the patient, there is reduced risk of colorectal cancer and it also doesn’t cause any changes in the tissue found in the bowels.

Symptoms

constipationMost of the people suffering from this condition suffer from mild signs and symptoms. By properly managing your diet, lifestyle choices and reducing your stress levels you can manage the condition accordingly.

For others, counseling and proper medication is in order. The symptoms of IBS are not distinct in that they mimic other diseases and also they vary from one individual to the other.

As mentioned above, the symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, cramping, mucus in the stool, gas etc. There are times when the symptoms disappear completely or worsen depending on the extent of the condition. If you notice any rectal bleeding or unexplained blood loss, it’s indicative of a more serious condition and you need to see a doctor.

Causes

The causes of IBS have not yet been identified but there are a few factors that can lead to the condition. When food is moving through the intestines, the muscles covering the walls may contract and relax accordingly in order to allow precise movement of food.

For people suffering from IBS such contractions might take longer than usual which causes all the symptoms mentioned above. The opposite, where the muscles might relax without contracting, results in slow food movement and so the individual passes hard stools.

IBS Triggers

no AlcoholTriggers for IBS might also vary from one individual to the other since reactions are different. Some of the common triggers include stress, hormones and pre-existing conditions.

People with certain food allergies such as chocolate, milk, alcohol, fatty foods are also likely to trigger the condition after consumption.

Most of the people susceptible to IBS are younger (under 45 years old), female, genetic predisposition to IBS and most likely suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety etc.

How Is IBS diagnosed?

Diagnosing IBS is usually a tough fete for most doctors because there are no distinctive signs for the disease. However, there are a few criteria that doctors and researchers have come up with in order to identify IBS.

The criteria basically involve checking off all the symptoms against other renowned gastrointestinal disorders in order to eliminate everything else apart from IBS. Doctors might also perform lactose intolerance tests and stool studies in order to diagnose the condition accordingly.

Treatment Options

As mentioned above, IBS is a chronic condition. However, doctors help patients find relief by treating the symptoms. Here are some of the treatment methods for the symptoms of IBS that are commonly used by different doctors.

• Dietary Changes

gluten free dietIf you want to keep your condition manageable, you need to avoid foods with high gas levels such as carbonated or fizzy drinks and also high carb diets.

Try out gluten free diets by avoiding wheat, rye or barley and see if your IBS symptoms become manageable.

• Medications

Some of the medications for IBS symptoms include fiber supplements, anti-diarrhea medicines, antidepressants and medicines that promote proper muscle movement in the intestines. In some cases, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics and counselling especially if the IBS is connected to any emotional triggers.

Some of these medications can be bought over the counter while others are prescribed. However, it’s prudent to consult a doctor before taking any medication to avoid more complications.

• Lifestyle Changes

Hire a dietician or nutritionist to guide you on the best diet for IBS. Naturally, you should take more fiber in your diet especially because it reduces constipation and bloating which are some of the main symptoms of the condition. Also, you shouldn’t skip your meals but rather eat as regularly as possible in order to keep the intestinal wall muscles as busy as possible.

regular physical exercisesTake lots of water to keep your body properly hydrated. You need to avoid dairy products especially if you are lactose intolerant because this can trigger IBS.

Other lifestyle changes you need to make include regular exercises such as jogging, walking, swimming, yoga or any others that keep your body fit.

• Alternative Treatment Options

Although there is a lot of skepticism surrounding this field of medicine, there are lots of people who claim to have found relief from IBS. Therefore, if everything else fails, it wouldn’t hurt to try out acupuncture, herbal remedies, meditation or hypnosis.

In summary, IBS has been linked to thousands of patients in the world. Despite the fact that the condition is chronic, there are lots of people who have managed it successfully. You can try out any of these treatment options for the symptoms and manage your condition too.

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