Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Complication, Treatment And Preventions.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects your large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating gas, diarrhea and constipation. Despite these uncomfortable signs and symptoms, IBS doesn’t cause permanent damage to your colon.
Among the most common are:
Abdominal pain or cramping
A bloated feeling
Diarrhea or constipation — sometimes even alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
Mucus in the stool
Like many people, you may have only mild signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. However, sometimes these problems can be disabling. In some cases, you may have severe signs and symptoms that don’t respond well to medical treatment. Because symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can occur with other more serious diseases, it’s best to discuss these symptoms with your doctor.
It’s not known exactly what causes irritable bowel syndrome. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract and relax in a coordinated rhythm as they move food from your stomach through your intestinal tract to your rectum. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, the contractions may be stronger and last longer than normal. Food is forced through your intestines more quickly, causing gas, bloating and diarrhea.
In some cases, the opposite occurs. Food passage slows, and stools become hard and dry. Abnormalities in your nervous system or colon also may play a role, causing you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your intestinal wall stretches from gas.
The impact of IBS on your overall quality of life may be its most significant complication. IBS might limit your ability to:
Make or keep plans with friends and family. If you have IBS, the difficulty of coping with symptoms away from home may cause you to avoid social engagements.
Enjoy a healthy s*x life. The physical discomfort of IBS may make s*xual activity unappealing or even painful.
These effects of IBS may cause you to feel you’re not living life to the fullest, leading to discouragement or even depression.
Treatments and drugs
Your doctor may suggest:
Fiber supplements. Taking fiber supplements, such as psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel), with fluids may help control constipation.
Anti-diarrheal medications. Over-the-counter medications, such as loperamide (Imodium), can help control diarrhea.
Eliminating high-gas foods. If you have bothersome bloating or are passing considerable amounts of gas, your doctor may suggest that you avoid such items as carbonated beverages, salads, raw fruits and vegetables — especially cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
Anticholinergic medications. Some people need medications that affect certain activities of the autonomic nervous system (anticholinergics) to relieve painful bowel spasms. These may be helpful for people who have bouts of diarrhea, but can worsen constipation.
Antibiotics. It’s unclear what role, if any, antibiotics might play in treating IBS. Some people whose symptoms are due to an overgrowth of bacteria in their intestines may benefit from antibiotic treatment. But more research is needed.
Counseling. If antidepressant medications don’t work, you may have better results from counseling if stress tends to worsen your symptoms
Finding ways to deal with stress may be helpful in preventing or alleviating symptoms:
Counseling. In some cases, a psychologist or psychiatrist may help you learn to reduce stress by looking at how you respond to events and then working with you to modify or change your response.
Biofeedback. This stress-reduction technique helps you reduce muscle tension and slow your heart rate with the feedback help of a machine. You’re then taught how to produce these changes yourself. The goal is to help you enter a relaxed state so that you can cope more easily with stress.
Progressive relaxation exercises. These help you relax muscles in your body, one by one. Start by tightening the muscles in your feet, then concentrate on slowly letting all of the tension go. Next, tighten and relax your calves. Continue until the muscles in your body, including those in your face and scalp, are relaxed.
Deep breathing. Most adults breathe from their chests. But you become calmer when you breathe from your diaphragm, the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen. When you inhale, allow your belly to expand. When you exhale, your belly naturally contracts. Deep breathing can also help relax your abdominal muscles, which may lead to more-normal bowel activity