Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by a series of symptoms while ruling out other diseases.
Irritable bowel syndrome is considered a functional disorder. This refers to the functioning digestive system that results in symptoms that are not adequate for proper digestion and elimination. Meaning that it is a problem with the movement of the bowels.
IBS has also been called spastic colon, functional bowel disease, mucous colitis, or nervous colon. IBS is not the same as colitis, nor is it within the group of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
The exact cause of IBS varies due to a number of factors including alteration in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract motility, abnormal nervous system signals, increased sensitivity to pain, and food intolerance. Some factors believed to cause IBS include:
- Abnormal movements of the colon and small intestines (too fast or slow)
- Hypersensitivity to pain from a full bowel or gas
- Food sensitivities
- Gastroenteritis, a viral or bacterial infection of the stomach and intestines
- Psychological conditions such as anxiety or depression.
- Reproductive hormones or neurotransmitters may be off-balance in people with IBS
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Other symptoms include:
- Abdombinal cramping and pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Increased gas
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- Cramping pain after eating certain foods
- Mucousy or foamy stool
- Symptoms are often relieved by bowel movements
Part of the diagnosis for IBS is to rule out other diseases and conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. This is done through color examination, blood tests and lactose or allergy testing. When no other conditions are confirmed, yet symptoms are still present, generally this diagnosis is given.
IBS comes in waves, will inflame and then regress. People can control mild signs and symptoms by learning to manage stress and making changes in your diet and lifestyle. Some people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) report psychological symptoms such as depressed mood or anxiety. So trying to manage life stress is part of the treatment to reduce flare-ups. Getting enough exercise, drink plenty of fluids and get enough sleep. Also avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms. Working with your doctor or a natural health practitioner will assist in also rule out conditions such as toxicity, low gut-flora or vitamin deficiencies.