Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a chronic disorder that affects the ability of the digestive system to carry out the digestion process well. Generally, there are two types of IBS. These are IBS-C which deals with chronic constipation. The second type is the IBS-D which deals with diarrhoea.

Although the exact cause of IBS is unknown, research indicates more women suffer from it than men. This is because bowels in women are less supported by pelvis than in men.

Symptoms of IBS


The primary symptoms are abdominal pain and discomfort enforced with frequent diarrhoea or constipation together with a change in bowel habits. Urgency for bowel movements, a feeling of incomplete evacuation, bloating or abdominal distension are also common. People also experience chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches, backaches, depression and anxiety. IBS has been known to cause a sexual dysfunction in form of reduced libido.

You should talk to a doctor after experiencing abdominal pain or discomfort for at least in the last month or so. A change in frequency, appearance, or consistency of the stool also matters.

Other signs include constipation or diarrhoea associated with fever, blood in the stool, unusual weight loss and a sudden change in the bowel pattern. A family history with bowel disorders and colon cancer are a good reason to book an appointment with a doctor in case of any unusual sign.

The treatment of IBS

The disorder is treated through lifestyle changes that include exercising more and following a healthy diet. Also, eating hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables and increasing your daily water intake will help. People with low digestive ability with certain fruits and vegetables are recommended to take foods with low disaccharides contents. Bananas, blueberries, carrots, cucumbers, oat meals and chicken have low amount of disaccharide content.

However, diarrhoea and constipation may be sometimes caused by a sensitive digestive system. People with a regular constipation and diarrhoea, they are advised to take a good amount of fibre from whole foods in a day. Fibres should be consumed in a moderate amount as some of them have gelatine and gummy which may actually cause constipation.

Stool softeners like milk of magnesia provide a safe laxative which reduces constipation.

Medical diagnosis of IBS

Imaging test can be performed to diagnose IBS. The diagnosis involves excluding conditions that produce IBS like symptoms and then a procedure is performed to categorize the patient’s symptoms. Ruling out of parasitic infections, celiac disease, intestinal bacterial growth and lactose intolerance are recommended for all patients before a diagnosis of IBS is made.

Patients over 50 years are recommended to undergo a screening colonoscopy. However, patients may be misdiagnosed medical conditions and they risk undergoing inappropriate surgeries like appendectomy.

Whether one has an IBS, a stubborn digestive system, the good news is that one can treat without intense medications or major procedures.

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