Things you need to know
- Irritable bowel syndrome is a group of symptoms affecting the digestive system.
- It is most often a chronic disorder that causes troubling abdominal symptoms such as pain, irritation, inflammation, diarrhea and constipation.
- These symptoms can be managed through dietary and lifestyle changes such as eating right and reducing stress.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder affecting the large intestine. It is characterised by a group of symptoms that occur together impacting your digestive system. It is a common condition that can affect anyone, but is, however, more common in women.
Irritable bowel syndrome is also known as spastic colon, irritable colon, mucous colitis, and spastic colitis.
Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms
Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms affect every individual in a different manner. These symptoms are mostly present in a person for a long time, usually over a period of three months lasting at least three days.
Common irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include:
- Pain and cramps in the abdomen
- Changes in bowel movement including diarrhea or constipation
- Presence of mucus in the stool
Other uncommon symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:
- Weight loss
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Persistent pain
Irritable bowel syndrome causes
The exact irritable bowel syndrome causes are unknown. However, researchers believe that the following factors contribute to the development of IBS:
- Contraction of muscles in the intestine
- Abnormalities in the nervous system
- Severe bacterial or viral infection
- Changes in gut microbes
Irritable bowel syndrome treatment
Irritable bowel syndrome is usually diagnosed when a person presents with the above given symptoms. Common tests and procedures done to diagnose IBS include:
- History taking
- Physical checkup
- Imaging tests like X-ray and CT scan
- Stool tests
Irritable bowel syndrome treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and avoiding another onset of the disease. Treatment protocols include medication and lifestyle measures such as:
- Managing stress levels
- Eating high-fibre foods
- Avoiding trigger foods
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Getting enough sleep
- Exercising regularly
You can relieve IBS symptoms by applying heat to cramps, drinking tea, maintaining a food diary, increasing your fibre intake and doing relaxation exercises.
IBS pain can be felt anywhere in the abdominal region. It is, however, mostly felt in the lower abdomen.
Yes, IBS can result in weight loss in some individuals.