The irritable bowel syndrome, abbreviated as ibs is a condition that affects the large intestines (colon). The most common symptoms include cramping, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pains. Some victims also report mucus in the stool.
Most people do not know much about ibs, since the symptoms can easily be compared with other abdominal conditions. In most cases, the symptoms are mild. However, sometimes they’re so severe to an extent of being disabling. Such cases should be attended to as a matter of urgency, since they can be an indicator of a more serious condition such as colon cancer. With proper medication, the effects of irritable bowel syndrome can be reduced or even eliminated completely.
The exact cause of ibs remains unknown. In a normal case, the muscle layers in the intestines contract and relax rhythmically as the food passes through from the stomach on its way to the rectum. Irritable bowel syndrome causes a malfunction in this process. The contractions could become longer and stronger; forcing food to rush through the intestines too fast. As a result, the victims experience bloating, gas and diarrhea.
On the other hand, the opposite could be the case. The contracting and relaxing actions are slowed down causing the stool to become dry and hard. This causes a great deal of discomfort as well as difficulties in passing stool.
One of the things that should be noted about ibs is that it can be caused by abnormalities in the nervous system. There are also a number of other aspects that influence this condition. For instance, people with irregular serotonin levels have been found to suffer from ibs. Serotonin is a chemical that is normally associated with functions of the brain, but also plays a role in the digestive system. An improper balance of good bacteria in the colon is also a common contributing factor.
Ibs triggers vary from one person to the other. Certain foods have been known to aggravate the situation. They include chocolate, milk and alcohol. Carbonated beverages are also common culprits. Every patient is encouraged to identify the specific foods that worsen the symptoms; so that they can be consumed in moderation or avoided all together. Stress can also make the symptoms worse. Women, who are the most common victims of ibs, are mostly affected during their menstrual periods.
Since irritable bowel syndrome has no clear cause yet, its treatment is focused on easing the symptoms enabling the victim to live a normal life. Generally, the condition can be controlled by consuming the correct diet and managing stress.
There are also home based remedies that can offer temporary solutions. Victims are encouraged to take smaller meals, drink plenty of fluids and exercise regularly. For a permanent solution, medical attention is required to establish the trigger of ibs, so that an appropriate remedy can be recommended.