What is Irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a kind of chronic condition affecting the large intestine. One should not confused with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Large intestine also known as colon which includes cecum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon, rectum and anal canal.

IBS diminishes the individual quality of life, and exerts a substantial, negative impression on financial resources of patients and society at large.

More information can be found here.

Know the process of digestion

When you eat food, it passes through your digestive tract, including stomach and small bowel (small intestine), before it reaches the large bowel (large intestine).

During the process of digestion, food is being broken down and absorbed into the body.

To keep the food moving through the digestive system, the wall of the bowel squeezes in itself in a rhythmic way, slowly pushing its contents through. As it contracts colon absorbs water and nutrients from partially digested food moving through it waste material called stool which get stored in the rectum until it is expelled through the anus.

What triggers Irritable bowel syndrome?  

The possible triggers for IBS may include, stress & emotion, infections such as gastroenteritis and sometimes certain medications.

In IBS, the muscular contractions of your colon are abnormal. The contractions sometimes occur too quickly, causing diarrhea, or too slowly, causing constipation.

Symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome

IBS is more common in women compared to men.

It usually starts in early adulthood, but it can occur at any age.

The main symptoms are: Tummy pain or cramp, which might ease after going to the toilet. Bloating, when the tummy feels uncomfortably full and swollen. Diarrhea or constipation, with some people alternating between both. These symptoms will come and go from time to time, with some days being better and other days being worse.

How is IBS treated?

One can manage IBS symptoms through a combination of dietary habit changes, stress management and medications.

For IBS there is no single treatment which can works for everyone.

By keeping a symptom diary, one can see which foods or activities seem to bring on symptoms so that it can be avoided.

A range of over the counter (OTC) medications can also help with symptoms, including those that reduce bowel spasm and drugs to help relieve constipation or diarrhea symptoms.

Doctor may prescribe medications to help manage the symptoms such as anti-constipation drugs to help regulate your bowel movements, antispasmodic drugs to minimize muscle spasms and reduce pain or sedatives and antidepressants to relieve nervousness and uplift the mood.

Relaxation techniques, dietary changes and medications can all help to control symptoms, though it may take some time to figure out what works best for you.

Eating high fibre foods creates softer, bulkier stools, which may prevent spastic colon contractions. Dietary fibre also helps in relieving constipation.

Stress management therapies hypnotherapy and yoga may help relieve your symptoms.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides a general information only. It is in no way a substitute for trained medical practitioner opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. We does not claim obligation for this information.

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Understand what Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is and how it can affect You

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