Irritable Bowel Syndrome (briefly IBS) is a dysfunction of the digestive system. IBS affects one in five people, and it is associated with chronic complaints such as recurrent abdominal pain, irregular bowel movements (diarrhea, constipation, or alternating of these) and bloating. Since the disease has no distinctive symptoms only related to it, accurate diagnosis is a bit more complicated. However, a full-featured IBS laboratory test that includes all batches can easily and quickly detect the presence of the disease.
The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not clear
The reason for IBS may be either: one experiencing abnormal bowel movements as pain, or maybe the body overreacts to standard stimulus. The Symptoms may increase by the intensity of the intestine (irritability), or an impaired bowel movement increases the pain. I know, it’s confusing, but, anyway:
External causes can also trigger IBS: it is suspected that persistent stress, psychological problems, inappropriate eating habits, smoking, drugs, and alcohol significantly enhance the potential for IBS. Inherited and acquired factors may also contribute to the development of IBS.
Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
Signs of the disease may vary considerably and sometimes imitate other illnesses.
The most common digestive complaints are:
- Cramps and other painful sensations in the abdomen that get better after the use of the toilet.
- Fullness, and pain when pressure applied to the abdomen
- Diarrhea or constipation, or both alternately
- The consistency of feces may vary (hard, thin or loose)
- Bloating and loud, audible intestinal movement
- Vomiting (often suddenly, without nausea)
Common non-digestive complaints are typical:
- Psychosomatic or mental illnesses (fear, depression)
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Headaches, migraine
- Back pain
- Sleep disorders
- Weight gain or loss
Physical and mental stresses (stress, anger, anxiety) and bad eating habits often trigger or augment the symptoms.
When these symptoms occur, however, it is essential to consider that the early signs of higher-risk diseases such as diverticulosis, enteritis, colitis, ulcers, and cancer are similar to those of IBS. Therefore it is essential to have adequate physical and laboratory testing.
How is IBS diagnosed?
Diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome involves the evaluation of patient medical history, physical exam, and lab testing. It is essential that at least two symptoms of the gastrointestinal complaints mentioned above be present to determine the exact diagnosis.
Laboratory tests to examine organ functions to determine the background of the illness.
Endoscopic examination (colonoscopy), for eyeballing the full colon.
Abdominal ultrasound (abdominal sonography)
Lactose tolerance test, which means the inability to digest milk lactose.
Laboratory blood tests to find out if you are allergic to cereal protein (gluten). That is the cause of celiac disease, which also produces symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome.
Lab testing the stool specimen for stool calprotectin, histamine intolerance, bacteria, blood, etc.
What are IBS treatment options?
Since it is not entirely clear what exactly is in the background of irritable bowel syndrome, treatment is primarily used to relieve the symptoms to give the patient the fullest possible life.
In most cases, mild symptoms can be effectively relieved by appropriate stress management, diet, and lifestyle modification. However, if the symptoms are moderate or severe, then it takes more actions than life changes to get better.
However, you may also try natural remedies like drinking appropriate herbal tea.
My recipe: Marigold flower 1 part by weight and Peppermint 1 part. Drink 2 – 3 cups per day for a week, then 1 cup per day for another 2 – 3 weeks. Also, take probiotic every day for at least ten days of each month. It can be in the form of tablets or drinks. Aloe vera juice usually does well regarding inflammation in the abdomen. I’ve used it and worked for me.
To prevent or relieve your complaints:
Drink enough water
Consume essential fatty acids
Eat high-fiber foods
Have foods that contain digestive enzymes
Avoid dairy products
Find out what foods can cause your sensitivity
Note: When you have diarrhea and cramps, eat low fiber foods like mashed potato or cooked rice for a day or two to give your bowel a break. Also, you can stop diarrhea by taking over the counter medication or drinking herbal tea.
Avoid foods that produce wind: In the case of abdominal swelling, I recommend to reduce the consumption of carbonated soft drinks, salads, raw vegetables, fruits, turnip, cauliflower, and broccoli.
If you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned earlier, be sure to visit your gastroenterologist who will help you diagnose the symptoms as well as discuss the next steps. Medical help is also essential because diarrhea and constipation due to irritable bowel syndrome may lead to the development of hemorrhoids. Also, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may affect your work, your relationship with your friends, your family, and your normal lifestyle.
Related: Sauerkraut the Healthiest Food
Reference: “Definition & Facts for Irritable Bowel Syndrome” NIH https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/definition-facts