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IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. It affects more than 30 to 40 percent of the people. People usually develop this condition in their late teens and early 40s. It is a syndrome which causes pain and discomfort. Irritable bowel syndrome also causes cramping, pain in the abdomen, bloating, gas etc. It is a chronic condition and may need treatment to manage this condition.

People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome may experience severe signs and symptoms of the condition while some others may not experience any signs and symptoms. The disorder may be managed by food and change in the lifestyle. Irritable bowel syndrome may be developed due to having some kind of food or even due to stress and anxiety. This condition tends to stay for a few days to a few months. In severe cases, it may last for a few months.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may differ from one person to another. A signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are:

  • Constipation
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Bloating and gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Urge to pass stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps in the abdomen
  • Constipation along with diarrhea

The symptoms may aggravate during stressful conditions like travelling, after having a big meal, unbalanced diet, and during menstrual periods in women.

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may worsen in people who are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerant is a condition in which the person does not have the ability to digest lactose sugar present in milk and all the milk products. It is advised to consult a doctor to treat the condition.

CAUSES

The exact cause of indigestion is not known but there are a few factors that cause indigestion.

  • Certain foods which are oily, rich in fat, chocolates, spicy food, carbonated beverages, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc may cause irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Stress experienced while travelling, during menstrual periods, while eating fast, first day of job etc may cause the condition.
  • Hormonal changes in a person may also cause irritable bowel syndrome. People with an imbalance in the hormonal levels are at a greater risk of developing this condition.
  • Various other illnesses such as infectious diarrhea, overgrowth of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract may trigger the development of irritable bowel disease.
  • People suffering with problems with digestion such as constipation ad diarrhea may cause irritable bowel syndrome.

DIAGNOSIS

There are no specific diagnostic tests performed for IBS; however, the doctor performs the following tests to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Medical examination is performed by the doctor to make a note of all the changes and the complaints of the patient. The doctor may also ask for the complete medical history of the patient.
  • Blood test is performed to check the levels of white blood cells as an increase in the level of white blood cells may indicate the presence of infection.
  • Barium meal is a test in which series of X-rays are taken after drinking a white solution, called a barium meal. This helps in delineating the stomach and intestines clearly to observe the presence of an ulcer in the stomach.
  • Ultrasound and abdominal CT scan are performed in a patient suffering from indigestion to get a clear view of the images of the stomach.
  • Colonoscopy is a test performed which uses a camera and a lighted tube that allows the doctor to look directly inside the colon, and stomach. A colonoscopy test is performed for a better evaluation of the condition, to check for the presence of polyps, inflamed tissues, ulcers etc.

TREATMENT

Based on the severity and condition of the patient the doctor may recommend the following treatments.

  • Mediations such as lomotil or loperamaide tablet are given for the patient suffering from diarrhea.
  • In case of constipation, the doctor may advise the intake of fiber rich food in the diet and may also recommend the patient to have laxatives.
  • To reduce pain and cramps in the abdomen, anti-spasmodic medicines are prescribed.
  • In order to relax the muscles in the bladder and colon, doctors prescribe medications like Donnapine and librax.

PREVENTION

The preventive measures of irritable bowel syndrome include:

  • Follow a healthy diet with food rich in fiber
  • Exercise regularly
  • Keep yourself calm
  • Follow relaxation and breathing exercise
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