Everybody will experience some sort of gastrointestinal discomfort at certain points of one’s life. However, when can you say that you are experiencing an irritable bowel syndrome? This condition leads to series of discomforts such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation and bloating. And majority of these discomforts originates from the large intestine. Fortunately, all these symptoms will not lead to permanent damages on your gastrointestinal tract. And as long as this is detected early, these symptoms can be managed well through stress reduction and proper diet.
Symptoms to Watch Out
If you are a woman who is younger than 45 years of age, then you must watch out for symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Statistics shows that women are more predisposed to this syndrome than men. Hence, women with IBS doubled the number with that of the men. Many people suffer from these symptoms too. In fact around 3-20 % of the population has IBS. But because the discomfort is tolerable, only one third of these people seek for medical care. Hence, many individuals are not aware that they have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Symptoms start with unusual bowel movement. If you visit the comfort room more often than you usually do or there is a sudden change in the consistency of your stool with no apparent reason, then you have the reason to suspect that you have IBS. Such symptom may be relieved when you move your bowels. Other symptoms must also be noted such as constipation, diarrhea, incomplete bowel movement sensation, abdominal bloating and evidence of mucus on your stool. It can be considered as diarrhea if your stool is loose or watery with the frequency of more than 2 times daily. The condition can also be considered as constipation if you have only moved less than 4 times a week and your stool is dry and hard, causing you to strain in your bowel movements. These discomforts often follow after a meal. Furthermore, the condition can never be termed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome if it only occurs twice in month.
Perhaps you are wondering what causes IBS. Unfortunately, its etiology is still unknown. However, its correlation with food allergies and stress is being investigated. Experts claim that this can also be caused by Bacterial Gastroenteritis. However, it does not follow that this illness will often lead to IBS. It’s just that there are individuals who have GIT lining defects or are psychologically disturbed, making them prone to experience Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Other causes can be genetics, neurotransmitter problems or bacterial growth in small intestines known as “SIBO”.
For milder cases, stress reduction and proper diet will suffice to manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However, more severe cases will need further medical treatment. This includes taking medications and probiotics as well as addressing one’s mental or emotional problems. Symptomatic treatments may also be given such as antidepressant drugs, antispasmodics, laxatives, fiber supplements, antidiarrheals and many others.
If you think you are experiencing Irritable Bowel Syndrome right now, do not freak out. After all, this can be managed well. However, proper medical intervention must also be done early to avoid further complications.
Please come see me if you think you have IBS.
-- Dr. Dale