Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Symptoms, Treatment and Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

One of the more frustrating things about irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS is that medical experts still don’t know what causes it. It is not fatal and doesn’t even really compromise a person’s health, but to sufferers that’s the best that can be said about it. IBS symptoms simply come out of nowhere and for no reason. Then, they stop and the person dreads their return.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:

  • Cramps
  • Bloating and Gas
  • Mucus in the Stool
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Irritable bowel syndrome constipation often alternates with diarrhea as the contractions of the large intestine slow down or speed up. Another frustrating thing about irritable bowel syndrome is that these symptoms are so non-specific that they could be a sign of an even more serious disease, including Crohn’s disease or even colon cancer. A person needs to consult a doctor if they have a change in bowel habits that lasts longer than a few weeks, pass blood in the stool, have unexplained weight loss or are awakened by pain at night.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Causes
Still, there has to be something that precipitates the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. In most cases, the underlying cause is stress. People who are under pressure at home, school or work find that their irritable bowel syndrome symptoms worsen. Women find that the symptoms flare up around the time of their periods. But when a doctor checks them, they find nothing really wrong save a large intestine that’s contracting a bit faster and more painfully than it should.

Treatment

Since as of 2016 there is no irritable bowel syndrome cure, treatment is palliative and preventative. IBS sufferers often find that they feel better when they watch what they eat. For some people, certain foods are bound to trigger an attack of irritable bowel syndrome. These include vegetables such as cabbage, beans, chocolate, tea, coffee or caffeinated sodas. Some find that a good irritable bowel syndrome diet contains lots of fiber to regulate the contractions of the large intestine. They also need to watch their consumption of dairy, drink plenty of water and eat on a fairly strict schedule.

Other kinds of irritable bowel syndrome treatment include medications specifically made for the condition such alosetron or lubiprostone. Alosetron slows down the contractions of the colon so waste moves more slowly through it. It can only be taken by women. Lubiprostone stimulates the secretion of fluids in the small intestine. It is also only for women.