IBS – Are Your Bowels Irritable?

by Richard H Ealom

INTRODUCTION: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel condition of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort accompanied by changes in bowel function, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, typically over months or years. It happens predominantly in women, with females representing over 70% of sufferers and can cause cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Irritable Bowel Syndrome doesn’t damage the bowel or lead to other health problems. It has no known cure, but you can do things to ease the symptoms.

SYNDROME: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long-term (chronic) but controllable condition. No single kind of treatment works best for everyone. It is a “syndrome,” meaning a group of symptoms. As noted, IBS is characterized by its symptoms such as continuous or recurrent lower abdominal pain or cramping (from mild to excruciating) in association with changed bowel motility (diarrhea, constipation, or both).

It’s important that the following diseases are excluded before you accept a diagnosis of IBS: Colon and carcinoid cancer, Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis), Bowel obstructions, Diverticulosis / Diverticulitis, Gallstones, Food allergies, Celiac (a genetic, autoimmune disorder resulting in gluten intolerance), Bacterial infections and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Intestinal parasites, Endometriosis, Ovarian cancer.

SYMPTOMS: Signs that cumulatively support the diagnosis of IBS: abnormal stool frequency (may be defined as greater than three bowel movements per day or less than three bowel movements per week), abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool), abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation), passage of mucus, bloating or feeling of abdominal distension.

You and your health professional will need to work together to determine what may be triggering your symptoms. It may be necessary for you to adapt your lifestyle to best deal with your symptoms and still carry on with your daily activities.

TREATMENT: Depends on the kinds of symptoms you have and their severity, as well as how they affect your day to day life, and will likely involve alterations to your lifestyle. It is important that you work closely with your doctor to put together a treatment plan that will meet your needs.

Let your health professional know if parts of your treatment are not helping your symptoms. Your doctor will give you the best treatments for your particular symptoms and encourage you to manage stress and make changes to your diet. Unfortunately, many people suffer from IBS for a long time before seeking medical treatment.

CONCLUSION: IBS affects the colon, or large bowel, which is the area of the digestive tract that stores stool. It can produce a great deal of discomfort and distress, but it does’nt permanently harm the intestines and does not lead to a serious condition, such as cancer. Irritable bowel syndrome is most often diagnosed on the basis of a complete medical history that includes a careful description of symptoms and a physical exam.

IBS is running rampant because orthodox medicine has no diagnosis for it. For some people who have it, certain foods may cause symptoms. If you suffer from this problem you may already be aware that fat can irritate your condition. A diagnosis of IBS has been reported by 10 to 20 percent of adults in the US, and symptoms are responsible for over 3 million annual visits to MD’s.

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