Irritable bowel syndrome is a long-term condition that affects your gut (bowel). Although the bowel is healthy and looks normal, there are problems with its function that can cause symptoms like cramping and pain.
IBS affects approximately 1 in 5 people. Women are twice as likely than men to experience it. IBS symptoms are most common between 20-30 years old.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is distinct from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This is a group of conditions in which the body’s immune systems attack and damage the bowel. IBD can include Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. There will be a different set if symptoms.
What causes IBS in IBS?
Although the exact cause of IBS remains unknown, it is believed to be caused by disturbed gut activity. Although your bowel should contract to push food along its length, these contractions can become abnormal and cause discomfort. It could be caused by overactive muscles or nerves in your bowel. Stress or anxiety can also contribute to IBS. IBS can also be caused by:
- Bacteria – IBS symptoms can be made worse by gastroenteritis. This is an infection that may cause increased gut sensitivity.
- Intolerance to certain foods or drinks – Common triggers are alcohol, caffeinated beverages and fatty/fried food
- Increased pain sensations can be caused by oversensitivity in your digestive nerves
What are the symptoms of ?
Although the symptoms for IBS may vary from person to person, they are generally characterized by tummy cramps, bloating and diarrhoea. You might feel relief from your tummy pain when you pass stool. Your bowel habits may change, such as an increase in frequency or feeling of urgency when you go to the bathroom. You might also feel a feeling that your stool is not emptying completely. Other symptoms include nausea, flatulence and backache as well as bladder symptoms such as tiredness, nausea, headaches, and backache.
You should immediately see your doctor if you notice blood in your stool or you lose weight unintentionally.
How can IBS be diagnosed?
IBS is not diagnosed by any tests. It is only diagnosed by symptoms. If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms for more than 6 months, your doctor will diagnose you. You may be asked to have blood tests done and to collect stool samples to rule out IBD, coeliac disorder or gastroenteritis. These conditions can cause similar symptoms.
Top Tips for IBS Treatment
IBS can be treated with a variety of different methods. However, effectiveness will vary from one person to the next. IBS treatment will not cure your symptoms completely, but they can often be helpful in managing your symptoms and improving your life quality.
The first step in treating IBS is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and have a consistent meal schedule. You can ease your symptoms by avoiding late-night meals, eating well, and sitting down for dinner. Drink plenty of fluids.
IBS can be caused by certain foods. It is worth keeping track of your food intake to identify the triggers. It is often a good idea to avoid excessive alcohol, coffee, and tea.
It can be beneficial to monitor the fibre you consume. You may find that increasing your intake of fibre can help with constipation. However, you might want to reduce your fibre intake if you have diarrhoea.
You can also follow a special diet to avoid foods high in FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides disaccharides, monosaccharides or polyols). Ask your doctor for more details.
Regular exercise can help with IBS symptoms for many people. Every week, the NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise (enough to increase heart rate and breathing rate).
Stress and anxiety, as mentioned previously, can lead to IBS symptoms. Regular exercise, meditation, yoga and other forms of physical activity can all help to reduce stress levels. Your doctor might offer counselling or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) if you have trouble coping with stress.
IBS symptoms can be relieved by medications, in addition to lifestyle changes. They will usually be prescribed for short periods of time by your doctor. However, they are most effective when combined with lifestyle changes.
- The use of laxatives can ease constipation. Bulk-forming type are used to soften the stool and make it easier to pass.
- Loperamide, an anti-diarrhoeal medication, slows down the contractions in your bowel muscles
- Peppermint oil and other antispasmodics may be able to relax your bowel muscles
- Low dose antidepressants reduce the number of signals sent by your bowel’s nerves. Although antidepressants are effective, they can have side effects that make them not a good choice.
- Flatulence and bloating can be reduced by using probiotics
Will my IBS get better?
IBS can be a chronic condition that may last a lifetime. This does not necessarily mean you will experience the same symptoms every day. You may experience mild symptoms or severe symptoms. These tips can help you keep your symptoms under control, and decrease the frequency of them.
Although IBS causes are still not well understood, there are many ways to treat the symptoms. You can make lifestyle changes to help you manage your IBS symptoms. Talk to ibs specialist in london if you still have trouble. They will be able to help you with any further treatments or medications.