A common disorder that affects the large intestine of the body is known as Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Individuals who suffer from IBS will experience a plethora of symptoms that can make daily life difficult. From cramps to diarrhea, individuals who have IBS often have to situate themselves near a bathroom, especially around meal times. Signs and symptoms of IBS are quite uncomfortable but can easily be controlled by creating a healthy diet, managing stress and reviewing your lifestyle.
Symptoms of IBS
Every person who has irritable bowel syndrome will be affected differently. Signs and symptoms of the disease can change and will often resemble other health issues. The most common symptoms include:
Cramping or pain in the abdominal region
Constipation or diarrhea—sometimes alternating between the two
Stool contains mucus
For the most part, irritable bowel syndrome is considered a chronic condition. Changes can be made to one’s lifestyle can help to subside symptoms. Symptoms can reappear or disappear depending on a number of factors. Many people find that eating certain foods can cause flare-ups.
When a more serious case of IBS is present, individuals will experience symptoms that can include bleeding from the rectum, weight loss or abdominal pain that is worse during the nighttime hours.
Causes and Triggers
It is unknown as to exactly what causes IBS. However, several factors do play a role in regards to this condition. In the body, the intestine walls are lined with muscle layers that will contract and relax as food moves through to the rectum. When IBS is present, the contractions can be longer as well as stronger which can lead to diarrhea, gas or bloating. You may also see the opposite effect and food will pass more slowly leading to hard stool and constipation.
Triggers that will signal a flare-up of IBS will vary from person to person. Foods play a major role in IBS effects. Some people are triggered by foods they eat and it is recommended that such foods are avoided. Intolerance or even a food allergy can lead to issues involving IBS. Such foods that have been found to be common trigger points include:
Stress, hormones and other illnesses can also be a trigger to IBS symptoms. With stress, patients find their symptoms worsen when in stressful situations. With hormones, women are more often diagnosed with IBS due to hormonal changes in the body. Signs of IBS can worsen during menstrual cycles. Other illnesses such as bacterial overgrowth in the intestines or infectious diarrhea can play a role in symptoms of IBS.
Because IBS does not have a clear cause, treatment will be focused on relieving symptoms. To begin, your physician will ask you to learn how to manage stress better as well as make changes to your diet to avoid flare-ups. High-gas foods will need to be eliminated, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Gluten may also be eliminated in order to improve the diarrhea symptoms. Many individuals have found that removing gluten is beneficial.
Taking fiber supplements can also be beneficial as it helps to avoid bloating and gas, providing a steady flushing of the body on a regular basis. IV therapy has also been known to assist with IBS symptoms. With IV therapy, customized nutrients and minerals are added to the body intravenously in order to ensure the body has what it needs to be healthy. Such treatment can help with the inflammation of the digestive tract which is involved in irritable bowel syndrome.