Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that affects the large intestine.
Constipation, diarrhea, cramps, bloating, and abdominal pain are its hallmarks. IBS affects 10-15% of the population and is a common ailment.
There is no cure for IBS, but there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms. IBS is a lifelong condition, but the symptoms may come and go and often flare up in times of stress.
Let’s discuss its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, triggers, and treatment.
Types Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There are several different types of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can be classified based on the symptoms that a person experiences.
The most common types of IBS are-
IBS-D (diarrhea-predominant IBS): This type of IBS is characterized by loose, watery stools and abdominal pain.
IBS-C (constipation-predominant IBS): This type of IBS is characterized by hard, dry stools and abdominal pain.
IBS-M (mixed-type IBS): This type of IBS is characterized by both loose, watery stools and hard, dry stools, as well as abdominal pain.
Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There are a variety of symptoms associated with IBS, and they can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so they can properly diagnose and treat your condition.
The Causes Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The exact cause of IBS is still unknown, but several factors may contribute to the development of the condition-
- Genetics: IBS may be more common in people who have a family history of the condition.
- Psychological Factors: Stress, anxiety, and depression are all thought to play a role in the development of IBS.
- Gut Bacteria: IBS has been connected to an unbalanced gut bacterial population.
- Diet: Certain foods may trigger IBS symptoms in some people.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Triggers
There are many different triggers for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and each person with IBS may have different triggers. Common triggers include-
The following is a list of some common trigger foods:
- Dairy products
- Citrus fruits
Stress is a response to different encounters in life when the body tends to release certain hormones and this situation of stress might pose trouble towards mental peace.
Stress can cause the digestive system to go into overdrive, which can lead to the symptoms of IBS. Therefore, it is important to find ways to manage stress to help control IBS.
When a person experiences stress on a usual basis and has been acquainted with it for a long time, it may result in increased chances of developing IBS.
Changes In Routine
Changes in Routine may disrupt the delicate balance of the bacteria in your gut.
These bacteria play an important role in digestion, and when they’re out of balance, it can lead to stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
Keep a journal to help identify your triggers.
Try to avoid the trigger once you’ve identified it. Try to manage it in a way that lessens its impact if you can’t prevent it.
For example, if stress is a trigger, try relaxation techniques or talk to your doctor about stress management.
How Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosed?
No one test can diagnose IBS, but a combination of tests and symptoms may be used to make a diagnosis.
A doctor may start with a physical exam and a review of your medical history.
They may also order blood tests, a stool sample test, or an imaging test to rule out other conditions.
Your doctor can refer you to a gastroenterologist for more testing if these tests don’t identify your condition.
If these tests come back normal, your doctor may diagnose you with IBS based on your symptoms.
Treatment Options For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There is currently no cure for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but there are a variety of treatments that can assist to lessen the symptoms.
Some of the most common treatments include-
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), making dietary changes can be an effective way to manage your symptoms.
While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for IBS, there are certain foods and nutrients that can help to ease symptoms.
Here are some dietary changes you can make if you have IBS-
- Limit high-fat foods.
- Avoid trigger foods, such as caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and fatty or spicy foods.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Try to eat healthy foods to avoid bloating, and also avoid processed foods, grains, and dairy from your diet.
- Eliminate all refined and processed carbohydrates, including sugars, starches, and grains.
The Low-FODMAP diet is designed to minimize the intake of foods that contain fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.
These are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the gut and can trigger IBS symptoms in some people.
By reducing the intake of these foods, the Low-FODMAP diet can help to alleviate symptoms of IBS.
Increase Physical Activity
Increasing physical activity has been linked to a positive effect on lowering the symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
To lessen the long-term impacts of the syndrome, you might consider making lifestyle changes and adding exercise to your routine.
People switch to unhealthier habits like smoking or drinking while they’re stressed. Rather than that, practice stress-relieving techniques like yoga or meditation.
Get Enough Sleep
People dealing with IBS may have trouble sleeping, as abdominal pain and diarrhea could hinder their sleeping patterns.
Hence, you might try getting a sound sleep using various techniques like drinking chamomile tea or practicing meditation techniques to feel rested and rejuvenated.
A good night’s sleep could help you avoid worsening the symptoms of IBS.
There are a variety of pain relievers available for people with IBS. The type of pain reliever that is best for you will depend on the severity of your pain and your personal preferences.
If you are looking for a natural pain reliever, several herbs and supplements can help to ease IBS pain. Some of the most popular options include peppermint oil, ginger, and turmeric.
Medications like anti-depressants could help in providing some relief from IBS symptoms like pain and constipation.
Whereas, anti-diarrheal medications and laxatives could further be advised by medical professionals to people dealing with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Living With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
If you live with IBS, it is important to be patient with yourself and to understand that your symptoms may fluctuate over time.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing IBS, but there are many different options available to you.
Some people find that making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, can help to lessen their symptoms.
For some people, taking medicine might be necessary to control their symptoms.
You are not the only person who experiences irritable bowel syndrome. This condition affects millions of people worldwide.
While the exact cause of IBS is unknown, several factors contribute to its development, including stressful events, changes in diet, and genetic predisposition.
There is no cure for IBS, but fortunately, there are several treatments that can help to relieve its symptoms. Consult a doctor before taking any action if you suspect you may have.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
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Otella has an experience of around eight years of writing about health and nutrition-related topics. She is a full-time mother and a housewife, and the time she has left after doing her mother and household duties is spent writing for Working for Health as a full-time writer. Her life goal is to raise both her boys into a gentleman, and at the same time, she wants to educate people on how to keep themselves fit by tweaking their daily diet.