Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a widespread condition that involves recurrent abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation. It is associated with anxiety, depression, stress, or former infection of the intestines. It is a functional gastrointestinal disorder or FGID and a disorder of the gut-brain axis, which is caused by food allergy or intolerance, stress, hormones, and illnesses like gastroenteritis.
Signs and Symptoms
As per the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), pain or discomfort in the abdomen stands as the key sign or symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. The symptoms of the gastrointestinal disease is related to a person’s bowel habits and one may notice a change in the frequency and consistency of stools, such as in diarrhea or constipation, are also linked to pain.
According to the publication, the typical features of irritable bowel syndrome are usually identifiable by a physician; thus, the most essential step in the treatment and management of the symptoms of the disease is to have a consult with a doctor for a confirmed diagnosis of the disease.
Aside from bowel movement pattern changes, other symptoms include bloating and excess gas, mucus in stools, and pain, according to Web MD. As per the publication, the pain felt is relieved through having a bowel movement and it is relevant to the frequency of doing so. Also, the pain is also associated to the change in the appearance or consistency of the stools.
Since there are no anatomical anomalies in the intestines in irritable bowel syndrome, some people may believe that the symptoms are just psychological; however, the feelings of pain, bloating, and discomfort are real.
According to Web MD, treatment for irritable bowel syndrome is dependent to the symptoms types on person has, their severity, and the manner they affect one’s daily activities. Therefore, it is assumed that there is no single type of treatment works for everyone with irritable bowel syndrome.
Non-pharmacological management for irritable bowel syndrome includes limiting caffeine and alcohol, as well as reducing fatty food intake. Foods like beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli are gas-forming foods, so they are avoided to help alleviate bloating. For those who are suffering from constipation, one may increase his fiber intake while those who are suffering from diarrhea should limit dairy products, artificial sweeteners including xylitol or sorbitol, and fruits. Other steps in irritable bowel syndrome management include doing regular exercise, quitting smoking, taking medications for cramping, and reducing stress because it triggers symptoms.
Cases of irritable bowel syndrome that are unresolved by non-pharmacological management may necessitate medications. With the discomfort brought about by irritable bowel syndrome, it is essential for one to consult a physician for assessment and medical advice.