Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Not-so-comfortable feeling

irritable bowel syndrome-IBS
June 10, 2019 0 Comments

Difficult pooping!!! Suffering from constipation, or diarrhea?? Or may be both??

Might be lack of fibers or some infections!! Or might be underlying symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)!!!

We often get irritated by the things we do not like, someone’s behavior, some experience and sometime our own selves!!! Emotional irritability we can manage, but what about irritability while pooping!!! And that too in addition with nausea, abdominal discomfort, bloating, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Some Facts

Yes I am referring here about IBS. Many people don’t realize that they are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. And if they do, they do not get all of their questions answered. Let’s know the answers of most commonly asked questions.

Facts about IBS:

  • There is a gradual increase in the age group of 22-40 years
  • Women are at more risk
  • About 35-40% youth is at risk of IBS
  • Prevalence in children is similar to adults
  • It’s curable

IBS: Why it is called a syndrome?

A syndrome is basically “a group of symptoms which consistently occur together, or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.”

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a chronic intestinal disorder that causes not one but many problems to different areas of body which are inter-related to each other, like:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Flatulence, bloating, nausea
  • Diarrhea, constipation or both
  • Change in eating habits
  • Inability to empty bowels completely
  • Anxiety, depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Urinary symptoms like frequent urination and pain while peeing
  • Vaginal discomfort including painful intercourse and recurring infections

irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and treatment

What are the Primary causes of IBS?

The primary causes are as follows.

  1. Intestinal muscle contractions. Weak or prolonged muscle contractions on the intestinal wall pose difficulty to the passage of food thereby resulting in slow digestion and constipation.
  2. Poor coordination between the nerve endings on the intestinal wall with the brain may cause the body to react abnormally to normal digestive process causing pain and IBS.
  3. Inflammation caused by the presence of more sensitive immune cells in the intestine.
  4. IBS can be caused as an aftermath of any severe gastrointestinal infection resulting in bacterial overgrowth.
  5. IBS patients have different gut micro flora than normal people.
  6. The family history of IBS.
  7. Any kind of food allergy may trigger IBS like dairy products, beans, dietary fibers, carbonated drinks etc.
  8. It has been found that poor mental health, stress, and anxiety can increase IBS symptoms.
  9. It has been found that women are more prone to IBS than male which can be a possible cause of estrogen level fluctuations.

Are there different types of IBS?

There are mainly 3 types of IBS namely,

  • IBS-C with constipation
  • IBS-D with diarrhea
  • IBS-M with alternating stool pattern or mixed type
  • IBS-U with unsubtype

How is it Diagnosed?

Health care providers suggest the following tests:

  • Colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy or upper endoscopy;
  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Stool tests
  • Tests for lactose and gluten intolerance, or celiac disease
  • Tests for abdominal muscle movements

Is IBS prevalent in Children as well?

IBS has been found to affect mostly young people in the age group of 20 -30. But nowadays with the rise of competitive behavior, children are getting more prone to IBS due stress and emotional insecurities.

IBS in children should be medicated keeping in mind the age and medical history of the child and his/her tolerance to specific medications.

Prohibition of certain foods is recommended for children suffering from IBS like:

  • Dairy products, fatty foods, caffeine, foods containing a high amount of artificial sweeteners, foods that promote gas formation like cabbage and beans.
  • Ice creams and milk are to be restricted lactose intolerable children.

Stress management, hypnotherapy and talk therapy with sensitive children may also help.

Primary medications are fiber supplements, laxatives, anti-diarrheal, antispasmodics to reduce colon spasms and pains as well as antidepressants to promote stress-free sleep are recommended.

What is the difference between IBS and IBD?

ibs vs ibd

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Inflammatory Bowel Disease
It is a syndrome, or a group of symptoms, which can affect not only digestive system but also urinary tract and genitals. It is a group of disease, that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
It is caused by disturbance in Gut-Brain axis. IBD is an immune-mediated pathogenesis.
Women are mostly affected by this syndrome. Male and female are equally affected by this disease.
It usually develops in late adolescence and early adult life. IBD tends to run in families.
It is triggered by stress both physical and emotional, food, medication, and hormonal changes. It is not associated with any triggers.
It does not increase the risk of colon cancer. Inflammatory Bowel Disease is often associated with risk of colon cancer.
Anemia, weight loss, bleeding and fever are not seen in IBS. Anemia, weight loss, bleeding and fever are often seen in cases with IBD.


How to Treat IBS?

Though comfortable in nature, IBS is not fatal and is treatable with making very simple but necessary changes in life style.

  • IBS varies from person to person so there is not fixed regime or course of treatment.
  • Certain medications available in market could be taken on prescription by health care providers.
  • There are many home remedies available for IBS which works for everyone.
  • Stress management, yoga, meditation helps as stress is one of the major factor in IBS.
  • Certain lifestyle changes, change in eating and drinking habits helps in relieving many signs of IBS.

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