An irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a chronic long-term disorder that affects the digestive tract of the body. Symptoms do not show up every day but can be extremely uncomfortable when they do.
Alternating constipation and diarrhea
Changes in the consistency of stool
Irritable bowel syndrome is categorised depending on the predominant symptom that recurs from time to time.
This stands for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Aside from abdominal discomfort, the affected person may experience straining during a bowel movement.
Another common sign of constipation is difficulty in passing stools. This may happen when stools become hard or lumpy.
This stands for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. In this condition, stomach discomfort occurs with diarrhea. Key symptoms are loose stools and frequent and sudden urges to have bowel movements.
This stands for irritable bowel syndrome with mixed bowel habits. Persons with this condition often get diarrhea and constipation. These two bowel problems occur alternately or one after the other.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional gastrointestinal disorder, which means that there is nothing physically wrong with the organs. Some studies suggest that this is due to a disruption in the communication between the brain and the digestive tract. However, the exact cause for the symptoms is unclear.
There are no definitive laboratory tests that can confirm the disorder. Proper diagnosis can only be done by a medical professional. Some of the criteria are as follows.
Stomach discomfort of at least once a week for the last three months
Stomach discomfort is due to problems with defecation
Changes in stool consistency
Changes in the frequency of bowel movement
Doctors believe that there are factors that may trigger the onset of symptoms. Here are some of the risk factors.
Gender. Statistics show that women are more likely to get this disorder.
Diet. Certain foods may trigger the onset of symptoms. For instance, foods with too much insoluble fibre can cause diarrhea.
Gastroenteritis. IBS is a possible outcome after the intestines get infected and inflamed.
Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines may cause abdominal pain, excess gas, and diarrhea.
Emotion. Anxiety and stress may worsen or trigger symptoms.
Currently, there is no known permanent cure for the disorder since IBS causes are not clear. However, symptoms can be managed with the help and guidance of doctors.
To calm down symptoms of IBS, your doctor may order changes in your diet. In general, you should avoid foods that trigger the symptoms.
To prevent diarrhea, remove gluten and high-fat foods in your diet. Temporarily eliminate dairy products and spicy foods as well.
To avoid stomach bloating and excess gas, do not drink alcohol and carbonated beverages. Limit your intake of gas-producing foods like cabbage, broccoli, and asparagus.
To prevent constipation, drink lots of fluid and eat foods high in fibre.
OTC and prescription medicines are very effective in managing IBS pain and discomfort. Examples are Alosetron, Eluxadoline, and Lubiprostone.
The right IBS medication depends on your symptoms so it is important to talk first to your doctor. Do not forget to purchase your medicines from the trusted Balmoral Pharmacy in Auckland.