Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a bowel functional disorder caused by either muscles or nerves of intestinal tract that are not working properly. It is a common disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that affects 10% to 20% adults in the United States. The irregular digestive tracts lead to accumulation and trapping of wastes and gas in intestines.
Signs & Types of IBS
It has symptoms such as cramp-like abdominal pain or bloating associated with altered bowel habits. Three main types of IBS are [highlight background=”#fff999″ color=”#000000″] IBS with constipation[/highlight] that comes with abdominal pain, bloating, infrequent bowel movement or hard stools. [highlight background=”#fff999″ color=”#000000″]IBS with diarrhea[/highlight] that comes with stomach discomfort, frequent bowel movement or watery stools. [highlight background=”#fff999″ color=”#000000″]IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea.[/highlight]
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is classified as ‘functional disorder’ because there is no sign of disease when the bowel is examined in laboratory test, and no abnormalities in imaging studies. Yet, the function has clearly changed or degraded from its previous quality. Though IBS will not cause permanent damage to the bowel or increase the risk of cancer, it causes inconvenient and great discomfort to the patients.
What Causes IBS?
The exact cause of IBS remain unknown, listed are few possibilities:
- Irregularity in intestinal hormones
- Individuals with psychological abnormality such as under stress, depression, or anxiety
- Individuals with have sensitive bowel and certain food allergies (coffee or dairy product)
- Bacterial infection or overgrowth of bacteria of the normal flora in small and large intestines
- Overuse or Misuse of laxatives
Does Laxatives aggravate or cause IBS?
Many patients with IBS take laxatives to relieve constipation, but overuse of laxatives can cause dependence and aggravate IBS. Generally two type of laxatives are used to treat IBS with constipation. Osmotic laxatives pull water into intestines to ease stools passing, but if overuse may cause IBS with diarrhea. Stimulant laxatives motivates muscles in bowels to contract to move out stools, but prolonged usage can damage the nerve on bowels and result in IBS.
People who are desperate and want hassle free solution to weight loss consume laxatives right after a meal. Despite this result in weight loss, the loss of weight is temporary as it is water weight and not fat. Not only it cause dehydration and diarrhea, frequent use may damage the gastrointestinal tract and lead to IBS with constipation after the bowel become adapted to the laxatives.
What to do when IBS flares Up
1. Drink plenty of warm water and not other water or cold water.
2. Take Paracetamol and codeine painkillers for quick relief
3. Consume only plain food – bread (no butter/jam), bananas, white rice.
4. Divide your meal routines into few smaller meals
5. Cut down soda drinks and caffeine temporary
6. Avoid fiber, sugar, dairy products and foods that are greasy, spicy, or really acidic
7. Take [easyazon_link identifier=”B00L3JTHME” locale=”US” tag=”wlaxative-20″ popups=”n”]probiotics[/easyazon_link] helps (available from Amazon)
8. No tight pants or belts
9. No running around and exertion that might make things worst
10. Learn how to deal with stress and have it under control
Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There is no definite cure for IBS, the therapy have to be tailored for each individual patient depends on their root causes. Common guidelines include increase fiber diet intake with 8 glasses of liquid daily, and avoid food that contains non-digestible carbohydrates, diary product or caffeine. Relaxation technique such as hypnotherapy or yoga are often beneficial. Psychiatric consultation may be needed for treating depression or chronic anxiety.
There are cases of IBS due to certain food intolerance including intolerance to gluten, lactose or egg. Go through those lab test for diagnosis to confirm if it has to do with that. For specific symptoms require medication, doctor may prescribe medicines such as anti-constipation drugs, antispasmodic drugs or sedatives. Lastly, for IBS caused by chronic laxative abuse, bowel training might be needed to correct the condition.