What is IBS?
IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a disorder of the large intestines that is commonly classified by bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. Unlike Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, IBS does not cause inflammation in the bowel tissue, but it still is a chronic condition that needs to be managed long term. More often than not, people can manage their irritable bowel syndrome by managing their diet, stress, and lifestyle. If symptoms seem to be worse, then counseling and medication may be necessary.
Symptoms of IBS
- Mucus in stool
- Abdominal pain
- Bloated feeling
- Diarrhea or constipation
When to See A Doctor For IBS
Of Americans, 1 in 5 have IBS, but fewer than 1 in 5 seek medical help. It is crucial to tell your doctor about any IBS symptoms or if there has been a change in your bowel habits because it could indicate that you have something more serious such as colon cancer. Other indications that indicate a more serious condition include:
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain that continues and gets worse into the night
- Rectal bleeding
Causes of IBS
It is not known exactly, what causes irritable bowel syndrome, but several factors play a part. The intestinal walls work through layers of muscles relaxing and contracting in a coordinated fashion to move food from your stomach, through your intestines, and to your rectum. Having IBS could mean that these contractions last longer than normal, and this can cause diarrhea, gas and bloating. On the contrary, the opposite may occur, and the intestinal walls may be weaker than normal, making the passage of food slower, which can lead to stool being hard and dry and painful to pass. Furthermore, poor signals between the intestines and the brain can cause an overreaction the digestive process that can cause further pain with constipation or diarrhea.
What Can Trigger IBS?
These triggers vary from person to person, but they can include certain foods that people may react more strongly to than others, such as carbonated beverages, beans, fruits, cauliflower, broccoli, milk, etc. Stress is something that causes a lot of people’s IBS symptoms to get worse. Hormones also play a significant role and women are twice as likely to have irritable bowel syndrome than men. For women, the symptoms also seem to be worse during your period.
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