Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder and is one of the most common ailments of bowels. It is characterized by abdominal discomfort or pain associated with defecation or change in bowel habit. Common symptoms include constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps or pain, bloating and gassiness. Symptoms may also include abnormal form of stool and increased amount of mucus in the stool. It is not a life-threatening disorder and does not cause any serious digestive illness; however, it does disrupt your quality of life.
Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The underlying cause of IBS is still unidentified, but certain factors have been found to trigger the symptoms in many individuals. They are as follows:
- Infection. Scientific studies suggest that some people who have bacterial gastroenteritis- an irritation or infection of the stomach can cause IBS among some individuals. However, it is still unknown why gastroenteritis triggers the gut to cause persisting symptoms of IBS.
- Stress It has been found that psychological problems such as depression, stress, panic and tension are common in people with IBS. Most individuals with IBS have reported that their symptoms worsen during increased period of stress. However, it is still unclear that whether stress simply aggravates the symptoms or also causes them.
- Food The role that the food plays in triggering Irritable Bowel Syndrome is still not clearly identified. Many individuals feel their symptoms aggravated when they eat or drink certain things. There have been scientific reports that eating overly spicy or oily foods, food rich in carbohydrates or drinking alcohol often intensifies the symptoms.
- Hormones As per scientific studies, change in hormones, particularly in women, can affect the symptoms of IBS. Many women have discovered that signs of IBS usually get worse around their menstrual periods.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Treatment
There is no definite treatment for curing IBS, but making healthy changes in your lifestyle and dietary decisions can often ease symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Regularly exercising may help to ease the discomfort. Doing physical activities on a regular basis such as power-walk, aerobics or running can help to treat IBS. Additionally, indulging in mind-relaxing activities such as yoga or meditation can help to relax the mind and in turn help to cure the symptoms of IBS.
Some individuals have shown the signs that certain foods can intensify symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Making following changes in your diet may help to minimize the discomfort associated with IBS:
- Eat at regular intervals and avoid leaving long gaps between eating Instead of eating heavy meals, try to eat smaller portion of foods at regular intervals to strengthen your digestive system.
- Drink plenty of water and other liquid fluids during the day. It helps to lubricate your intestines and keep your stools soft so that they can pass easily.
- Try to avoid or limit the amount of fizzy drinks as they aggravate the symptoms of IBS. Cutting back or avoiding alcohol has been known to improve the symptoms. Individuals had shown signs of marked improvement in the symptoms when they limited the intake of alcohol.
- If possible, try to avoid overly sweet or spicy foods and oily foods to minimize the symptoms.
- If you are sensitive towards certain food that intensify your symptoms, limiting their intake can help to curb the symptoms of IBS. The most commonly reported foods to cause IBS are wheat, rye, barley, dairy products, caffeine-rich drinks and onions.
- Taking probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kimchi, miso, soy, and other fermented foods may help to ward off bad bacteria and increase the production of friendly bacteria in your body.
If symptoms persist, you may take medications to get relief from the pain of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Medications such as Buscopan Ibs Relief Tablets or Colofac IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome Tablets may provide effective relief from commonly associated symptoms of IBS such as bloating, stomach pain and cramps, diarrhoea and constipation.