A Guide on Everything You Need to Know About Irritable Bowel Syndrome

bowel

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, known as IBS, is a very common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the functionality of the large intestine.

There are many people who suffer from undiagnosed IBS. Only a few people suffer from severe symptoms who seek treatment.

Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about the process of diagnosing and treating IBS.

The Stats on IBS

IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder and affects 15% of people worldwide. Amongst those who suffer from IBS, 40% have mild IBS, 35% have moderate IBS and 25% have severe IBS.

There are up to 3.5 million doctors’ visits for IBS symptoms each year in the US. Many people don’t recognize the symptoms of IBS and put it down to an occasion ‘bad stomach’. Continue reading to find out the most common symptoms of IBS.

Common IBS Symptoms

People who suffer from IBS have varying symptoms, and these symptoms can range from mild to severe.

If you suffer from IBS, you are likely to get:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stool mucus

When Should You See a Doctor?

Ensure you seek medical advice if you have a change in bowel habits or any of the sings of IBS. There are a few serious symptoms of IBS.

These include:

  • Weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Problems swallowing
  • Persistent pain that can be relieved

Many of these symptoms can also indicate colon cancer, so it’s important to seek prompt medical treatment.

What are the Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

There are several possible causes of IBS, depending upon the person. Scientists still aren’t 100% sure about the cause of IBS, but there are a few factors that are thought to play a role in IBS.

1. Muscle Contractions in the Intestine

Your intestines are large muscular tubes that relax and contract to pass food through your digestive system. Contractions that last too long can cause problems like bloating, gas, or cramps.

Weak contractions will result in your food passing too slowly and may leave you with constipation.

2. Your Nervous System

Sometimes IBS is caused by abnormal nerves inside your digestive system. They cause you to feel a greater level of pain or discomfort when digesting food. Your nerves send pain signals to your brain when actually, your bowel is functioning perfectly.

3. Intestinal Inflammation

Some IBS sufferers also have increased inflammation in the intestines. Inflammation causes pain and swelling, making it more difficult for your bowel to function normally.

4. Infections

A bad case of stomach flu can leave you with IBS due to the overpopulation of bad bacteria or a virus in your gut.

5. Changes in the Gut Bacteria

If the bacteria in your gut changes in any way, you can get IBS symptoms. Your gut requires a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria to remain functional and any upset to this balance can have detrimental effects.

Triggers of IBS

The causes stated above are often triggered by:

Food

Food that causes IBS is individual to each person. One person may get severe bouts of IBS from consuming dairy products, another person may get IBS from a certain grain.

You can help IBS symptoms by correctly managing your nutrition and eliminating inflammatory foods. You should also consider a digestive supplement to help maintain normal bodily functions.

Stress

Stress can cause an increase in the signs and symptoms of IBS and their severity. It is important to note that stress does not cause IBS itself, but can increase the frequency of symptoms.

Hormones

Hormones play a factor in the development of IBS. Since women two times more likely to develop IBS then men, health scientists believe female hormones could trigger symptoms.

Women often find that their symptoms worsen around the time of their menstrual periods.

Increased Risk

Some people are at an increased risk of developing IBS. You are more likely to develop IBS if you:

  • Are under the age of 50
  • Are female
  • Have a family history of IBS
  • Have a mental health condition that causes you psychological stress

Complications from IBS

Unfortunately, having IBS comes with a few extra complications. IBS can leave you with chronic constipation or diarrhea, which in turn can lead to hemorrhoids.

Many people with IBS also have a poor quality of life. It can cause sufferers to miss more days of work and big events like weddings.

The health of the human gut is interlinked with mental health. IBS can cause depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, both of these can make the IBS worse.

Preventing IBS

Although it’s difficult to prevent the development of IBS, you can try to prevent some of the unpleasant symptoms of the syndrome.

If you are aware that you’re stressed, then seeing a doctor or counselor may help. Stress is one of the triggers for IBS, so anything you do to reduce your stress will hopefully reduce your symptoms.

Listen to your body when IBS symptoms start. Keep a diary of foods and your mood to see if you can pinpoint certain triggers. Mindfulness training may be useful to control relaxation and help ease stress.

Of course, speaking to a doctor and getting prescribed the correct medications can also help with symptoms of IBS.

Seek Treatment for IBS Today

If any of the above information looks familiar to you, then seek treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome immediately. Your symptoms will be well controlled once you work out your IBS cause and triggers. This could be a combination of inflammation, food and stress levels so it’s important to investigate thoroughly.

For more health and nutrition information, take a look at the other articles on our blog or contact us.