What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome ?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that tends to affects the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome is not just a disease but it is a group of symptoms that occur together to affect the large intestine. Also known as the spastic colon, IBS is a type of gastrointestinal disorder. It is a functional disorder, which means there is a problem in the movement in the digestive system. There are studies which have estimated that about 10 to 15% of adults, are suffering from IBS. It has also occurred that it seen more in women in comparison to men.
Only a few number of people with irritable bowel syndrome have extreme signs and symptoms. Out of which some people can control these symptoms by managing their diet, lifestyle and stress. Others with severe condition will require both medication and counselling to counter their health and medical condition.
Signs and Symptoms of IBS ?
The signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) can vary extensively from person to person. There has been no particular known to be causing IBS, several factors such as heredity, lifestyle, allergies, an infection or an abnormally large number of bacteria growing in the intestine can lead to this disease causing condition. There are also certain consumption of foods and stress that may trigger symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Mucus in the stool
When to see the Doctor?
It is important to note that there is need to see your doctor if you have a persistent change in your bowel habits or if you have any other signs or symptoms of IBS which may indicate a more serious condition, such as colon cancer.
Symptoms which pose a much serious condition are
- Abdominal pain that progresses or tends to occur at night
- Sudden Weight loss
- Rectal bleeding
In such cases, the specialist doctor may be able to help you at a better front and also find ways to relieve symptoms and try to rule out colon conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. Your doctor may also need to order medical tests to rule out other causes of these affecting symptoms.
Triggering Factors of IBS –
People with IBS have a much sensitive intestinal tract in which the stress and diet may play a major role.
- Diet – People with IBS tend to have symptoms which get worse typically after eating large meals or high-fat foods. When symptoms can get worse after drinking milk or eating dairy products, this can be there due to medical condition lactose intolerance, inability to digest lactose found in dairy products.
- Stress. The colon contains nerves which connect to the brain. Therefore, people with IBS, stress can stimulate spasms in the colon, causing major discomfort and pain.
Nutritional Management of IBS –
The best way to manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is to understand the factors that may cause episodes of discomfort and then working on to retrospectively eliminating or minimizing them. Therefore, with the help of medication, stress management and probiotics can help to some extent but the major focus would be diet and the eating habits. Both can have a significant impact.
Following simple changes in your diet can offer big relief and reduce future flare-ups –
- Establish regular eating habits. Eating at regular times helps to regulate your bowel to maintain good health.
- Eat fiber-rich foods – Opt for whole fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains including rolled oats, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread.
Start making these changes slowly. The fiber in the food will help to move food through your intestine, but it takes time for your body to adjust to eating more. Adding too much food quickly can result in excessive gas, bloating and cramping.
- Drink more fluids – The Fiber tends to draw more water from your body, so to move foods through your intestine you need to drink more of fluids throughout the day. Without enough water and fluids, the body will be affected and result in constipation.
- Eating small, frequent meals instead of large ones – This will ease the amount of food moving in your intestinal tract. You can also keep a food diary throughout the day to record and figure out what you may be eating that can be an underlying cause
- Watch on your drinks – Excessive amount of alcohol and caffeine can stimulate your intestines and can lead to diarrhoea. So making sure to refrain from soft drinks; soda and carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners that contain sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol may cause diarrhoea and gas.
Over to You –
It’s important to have a constant watch on your health and well being. You can tap into great resources by getting a suitable diet plan from a registered dietician or nutritionist who can help to you manage IBS through a proper diet. He/She can work with you to identify which foods and habits might cause trouble and developing healthy eating strategies to reduce the risk of pain and support good health.