Painful cramps and constipation? It could be Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the large intestine (colon). This disease may not have severe signs and symptoms immediately. Consulting the gastroenterologist, managing diet and having a healthy lifestyle helps to control irritable bowel syndrome.
Normally, the intestinal muscles contract and relax to move the food from the stomach to the intestines. However, in people with irritable bowel syndrome, the intestinal muscle contractions are stronger and last longer causing gas, bloating and diarrhea. In some, the intestinal contractions are very weak which results in slow food passage, hard and dry stools.
The exact causes for irritable bowel syndrome are not known, however some factors are considered as triggers for irritable bowel syndrome. Foods like spices, fats, chocolate, milk, alcohol and beverages; and vegetables like cabbage, beans, cauliflower and broccoli are considered to trigger irritable bowel syndrome. In some people, stress, hormones and other illnesses are considered to trigger irritable bowel syndrome.
Those with irritable bowel syndrome experience abdominal pain, bloated feeling, gas, diarrhea or constipation and mucus in stool. In its severity, irritable bowel syndrome is evident as rectal bleeding, abdominal pain and weight loss.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
The old and the young are likely to have irritable bowel syndrome. Anxiety, depression, and family history may pose as the risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome. The immediate complications of irritable bowel syndrome are evident as diarrhea and constipation.
TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS
The doctor enquires about the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. These include weight loss, rectal bleeding, fever, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and anemia. The doctor may also advice for a stools test. Advanced tests include, colonoscopy, X-ray, and CT Scan.
Colonoscopy helps to study the entire length of the colon. A small and flexible tube is inserted into the colon for this purpose. X-ray helps to take an image of the colon, to study its condition. CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis look for causes for pain. A breath test helps to study the condition of bacterial overgrowth in the colon and small intestine.
TREATMENTS AND DRUGS
The treatment for irritable bowel syndrome includes eliminating high-gas foods, gluten and FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols). The doctor may prescribe the use of anti-diarrheal medications and antibiotics.