All You Wanted To Know About IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic gastrointestinal condition, which often goes unnoticed and can last for long periods of time. People who suffer from IBS are reported to have abnormal intestines, i.e., they don’t have normal movements. They are either squeezing too hard or not squeezing enough to excrete the waste from the body. Some researchers also suggest that IBS patients have hypersensitive colons that are triggered by certain kinds of foods.
Although there is a lot of research and many studies have been conducted on IBS, the real cause of this condition remains a mystery. Experts don’t have a clear conclusion as to what exactly causes IBS. Added to this, the symptoms of IBS differ among different people. Sometimes these symptoms resemble conditions like an upset stomach, diarrhoea, mucus colitis and a spastic colon.
But IBS is not a scary disease, generally. The condition often remains mild and not much severe. Also, it does not lead to any terminal affects such as cancer or tumours.
Diagnosing IBS can be challenging as the symptoms are very similar to those of other abdominal problems. In spite of the confusion, some of the symptoms that match really close to IBS are –
- An overall feeling of bloating
- Frequency of bowel movement is not regular. It can range from 3 times a day to once in 3 days.
- Irregular appearance of stools.
- Abdominal pain that is related to the regularity of the bowel movement.
Yet, these symptoms do not confirm that one suffers from IBS. They may happen due to other chronic conditions, such as food allergies or immune system problems.
A lot of studies of patients suffering from IBS suggest that stress, anxiety or depression can be major factors that lead to this condition. Also, women are twice more likely to develop this condition than men.
The most annoying characteristic of IBS is the unpredictability of it all. One doesn’t know what may be causing which of the problems. But if one is diagnosed with IBS, the only cure for this condition is a diet that has been personally tested and tried. Usually, an IBS diet consists of soluble fiber rich foods such as barley, rice, potatoes, mushrooms, yams, cornmeal, soy, etc. But this cannot be guaranteed to show positive results. IBS is a case-to-case condition where no two persons have the same symptoms or the same diet that they should follow. Hence, the patient and the doctor have to collectively figure out which foods to eat and which to avoid.
The best solution for an IBS patient is to maintain a food diary and monitor the foods they eat on a daily basis. This means you will have to first remove all the foods that you suspect could be irritating your stomach and then slowly introduce them, one at a time, to test them out. Also, stress relief is extremely important.
But before you assume anything, please consult an expert. If you are suffering from abdominal pain, upset stomach or similar problems, it is better to consult a gastroenterologist before jumping to any conclusions about IBS.