Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Diagnosis and Treatment

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Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that affects the large intestine. It is often called IBS for short. It is a chronic condition that requires constant management. It can cause a variety of symptoms, but it can be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes. While irritable bowel can cause a lot of changes in the bowels, it does not increase a person’s risk for colon cancer.

IBS Causes

The cause of IBS is unknown, but there are some risk factors that can lead to it. These factors include:

  • Muscle Contractions: The muscles contract to move food along the intestines. Sometimes, they can fail to contract quickly enough, and the food takes longer to pass through the bowels.
  • Nervous SystemThe nervous system tells the body when to digest food. If there is a problem with the nervous system, the bowels can fail to get these messages.
  • Inflammation: When the bowels become inflamed, it can lead to pain and diarrhea.
  • Infections: It is believed that IBS can be caused by too much bacteria in the digestive tract.
  • Microflora: The gut has a lot of good microflora living it in. When this changes, the bowel can react with inflammation and other problems.
  • Food Triggers: Certain types of food can trigger IBS. These triggers can vary from person to person. It can sometimes be hard to determine which foods are triggers.

IBS Symptoms

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can vary. Some people experience mild symptoms, and others experience severe ones. Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include:

IBS Diagnosis

There are no tests that can determine if a person has irritable bowel syndrome, and it can take some time for doctors to diagnose it. The diagnosis is often based on a person’s symptoms and by ruling out other diseases and conditions that could cause the same symptoms. There are some tests that can help them rule out these other problems, including:

IBS Treatment

Treatment of IBS is focused on relieving the symptoms of the disease. Doctors suggest the following treatment methods.

  • Eat high-fiber foods: Fiber can help the bowels work better and reduce constipation.
  • Drink plenty of water: Water can help food move through the digestive tract easier.
  • Exercise often: Exercise can improve the function of organs in the body and aid digestion.
  • Get enough sleep: Sleep can help relax the muscles in the abdomen and make bowel movements easier.
  • Avoid gluten: Gluten can be a trigger for IBS.
  • Avoid food that causes gas: Gas can fill the intestine and make bowel movements painful.

Medications that can be used to treat IBS include:

  • Laxatives
  • Fiber supplements
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain medications

IBS Prognosis

IBS can be a debilitating disease for some people, but those who seek treatment and make the necessary lifestyle changes can find relief. Complications associated with IBS are rare, and while the disease requires constant monitoring and management, it can be controlled, and sufferers can go on to live normal lives.