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What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?


The Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common gut disorder that affects the intestine. It comprises of gastrointestinal symptoms, with abdominal pain as its primary symptom. It was considered a functional disorder of the digestive tract because of its dysfunctional behaviour without physiological damage.

Most of the individuals who have the Irritable Bowel Syndrome are younger than 45 years old. It is also common among females than male adults.thumb_shutterstock-stomach-pain-male-stomachache

Other Names

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is also known by many names such as Colitis, Spastic Bowel, Spastic Colon, and Nervous Colon.

Symptoms that Signals Individual to Seek Help

An individual with Irritable Bowel Syndrome may have experience the signs and symptoms of the condition between 3 to 6 months back.  As it is a chronic condition, these are the major signs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome that can signal the individual to visit a medical professional:

 a) Abdominal pain or discomfort – this is described as cramping sensation in the abdomen which improves after the bowel movement.

 b) Increased urge to use the toilet.

 c) Changes in the amount, characteristics and consistency of the stool.

 d) Other or accompanying symptoms that might be part of the IBS condition include feeling of being bloated, and sometimes the presence of white mucus in the stool.

Therapeutic Management

Irritable Bowel Syndrome has no known cure yet. Thus, the goal of the therapy is to manage the symptoms. This can be done through the combination of proper diet, probiotics, therapeutic drugs and other forms of therapy.

a) Fiber. A soluble fiber supplement is recommended for individuals with IBS of any types. It can both be effective for the constipation and diarrheal types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. These dietary regimens lead to a softer, more easily passable stool as a treatment to IBS. It can also manage the IBS by allowing a more formed and consistent stool. It is important to consider the soluble type of fiber supplement compared to the insoluble type, because the latter has been found to worsen the condition.shutterstock_130089608-e1403578646939

b) FODMAP Diet. This is the acronym for fermentable oligo-di- and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs). This type of diet is most common and one of the effective management of the condition. IBS symptoms such as bloating, abdominal cramps, flatulence, bowel urgency and frequency can be addressed by the FODMAP Diet. This type of therapy is recommended only if the other more conventional dietary and lifestyle adjustments fail to be effective.

c) Medications. For IBS with constipation, drugs indicated for this type of condition may include laxatives and stool softeners. While for IBS with Diarrhoea, individuals might be prescribed with anti-diarrhoea drugs such as loperamide, codeine, morphine and oxycodone. Cramping or abdominal discomforts can be managed with antispasmodic or anticholinergic medicines such as dicyclomine and hyoscyamine.

d) Probiotics. The use of probiotics in managing IBS has been found beneficial. There are already a number of researches which have proven that there are lots of bacterial strains and yeasts in probiotics. This can provide screening to the pathogenic and gas-producing bacteria found in the intestine.

e) Other therapies. There are several physiologic and psychological therapies which can be effective in reducing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Therapy has been recognized as effective among patients who had IBS after an antibiotic therapy. Psychological therapies that might help in alleviating the discomforts brought about by the conditions may consist of single strategy or combination of meditation, yoga, tai chi and the regular exercises like walking and swimming.

Famous Individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There are several personalities who are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome such as actress Cybil Shepherd, model Tyra Banks, singer Kurt Cobain, and the famous John F. Kennedy.