Irritable bowel syndrome affects millions of people all over the world. It is more prone to women than men. This condition most likely appears during people’s early twenties to their forties. IBS can present itself in numerous ways. It can be a mix of pain or discomfort in the stomach or all over the belly, different appearance of stool (soft, hard, thin and liquid) problems with bowel movements such as going too much or not enough. IBS is not a serious illness and doesn’t make you more prone to certain condition. However, IBS can be a long lasting condition that can last throughout your lifetime. This can be debilitating at certain times. It can cause someone to miss work or school more often due to irritation, bowel movements problem or pain. It can even affect your day to day activities.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can vary from person to person. The symptoms are worse after a meal and tend to come and go. Some people may not experience anything for a week and experience a flare up that can last for a week. During flare ups, the symptoms slowly improve over time, but is not guaranteed to disappear. Some people can be triggered by certain food or drink that they consume. Some of the main symptoms of IBS is change in bowel’s appearance, bloating of the stomach, abdominal pain, passing mucus, cramping, the feeling of constantly needing to go to the toilet, feeling that you are never done after going to the toilet, diarrhea, constipation, a belly that sticks out and excessive wind. Some people can also experience back ache, feeling of being sick, lethargic, bladder problems, incontinence and dyspareunia. The symptoms can worsen when stressed or anxious. It can also have a psychological impact. People with this condition can have feelings of anxiety and depression.
Types of IBS
There are four types of condition. There is the IBS-D (with Diarrhea), IBS-C (with constipation) and the alternation pattern of both which is called IBS-M (mixed). People that do not fit in any of these categories can have IBS-U or un-subtyped.
There are different triggers for IBS, but there is no cure cause for this condition. It is said to be the hypersensitivity of the colon reacting to stimulation. This can cause bowel spasm and change in rhythmic movements. This can then lead to diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain and so on. However, this has not been proven.
There is no specific test to perform to identify IBS. Your doctor has to rule out diseases to your symptoms to match with IBS. Some of the symptoms can be diagnosed as food allergy, GERD, Infection or Inflammatory bowel disorders.
IBS is different for everyone. One treatment will not work for all. People that have IBS are often advised to change their diet, learn to manage triggers and some are advised to take medication such as antispasmodic medication and antidepressant.
If you experience IBS symptoms with sudden weight loss, lump in the stomach, fainting, bleeding from the bottom and severe pain in the stomach or colon area – see your doctor right away. This can be a sign of a serious and fatal condition.