Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Symptoms, causes, and more

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition in which the intestines stop performing their motor and secretory functions normally. As a result, the patient feels discomfort, pain, cramps, complains of increased gas production or stool disturbance.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

According to statistics, about 15% of the world’s population suffers from this syndrome. Unfortunately, many attribute this condition to stress and do not go to the doctor with it. Irritable bowel syndrome is not life threatening, but it creates constant discomfort that significantly reduces the patient’s quality of life. Seeing a doctor, using adequate medication, and adjusting diet and lifestyle can help relieve discomfort.

Causes of irritable bowel syndrome

According to experts, the exact cause of the formation of irritable bowel syndrome has not been established. Currently, researchers believe that the main cause of the syndrome is a violation of the regulatory mechanisms that link the brain and intestines.

The factors that trigger the development of irritable bowel syndrome include the following:

  • stress.
  • intestinal infections, especially if after them dysbiosis developed.
  • consumption of alcohol, carbonated drinks, tea, coffee, fatty foods.
  • smoking.
  • heredity.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Doctors talk about irritable bowel syndrome when a patient has certain symptoms of discomfort, which we list below, for 12 weeks a year (not necessarily in a row).

It is believed that patients with irritable bowel syndrome can be divided into three groups:

  • with a predominance of pain.
  • with a predominance of constipation.
  • with a predominance of diarrhea.

However, most patients have a combination of at least two of the three listed manifestations.

Pain, as a rule, occurs after eating, subside after emptying the intestines or passing gas. Patients are usually not bothered by pain at night, although they may occur immediately after waking up. Also, patients complain of nausea, a feeling of heaviness, belching, the appearance of mucus in the stool.

In irritable bowel syndrome, no abnormalities in the structure of the mucous membrane are found, the condition can be chronic, but usually does not progress and is not complicated by other diseases.

Diagnosis and treatment for irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome does not cause pathological changes in the gastrointestinal tract and does not lead to serious complications, however, often experiencing discomfort and pain, patients risk “earning” depression.

Diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is usually based on typical clinical symptoms. In the gastroenterology department of the Hospital, you will be assigned the necessary examination, first of all, to exclude organic pathology – blood and stool tests, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, if indicated – irrigoscopy, ultrasound of the abdominal cavity, EGDS.

The main role in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome is assigned to lifestyle modification and nutrition, therefore the gastroenterologist of the Hospital, will advise you to give up bad habits, eat right, and not emotionally overexert yourself.

Depending on the presence of symptoms and their severity, the specialist will prescribe the appropriate drug therapy.

Alarming symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Diagnostic testing should be intensified when the following warning signs are present, either at the initial examination or at any time after diagnosis:

Diet for irritable bowel syndrome

Diet matters for irritable bowel syndrome. It is recommended to exclude smoked and spicy foods, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, foods that cause excessive gas formation (cabbage, starchy foods) from the diet.

The basis of the diet should be a variety of vegetables, fruits, dairy products. Boiled or steamed meat and fish dishes are useful. Wheat bran and wholemeal bread are recommended.

In addition to the diet, the doctor may prescribe medications: laxatives for constipation, fixatives for diarrhea, drugs to improve food digestion and reduce the amount of gas, antispasmodics – drugs that relieve intestinal spasms. In some cases, intestinal dysbiosis is treated.

People with irritable bowel syndrome benefit from sports and walking. It is necessary to normalize the daily routine, avoid prolonged mental stress, learn not to worry “over trifles” and enjoy life.

It is necessary to see a doctor

  • if for a long time the pain around the navel and in the lower abdomen, provoked by food intake, is disturbed.
  • if you are concerned about constipation or, on the contrary, diarrhea, belching with air, bloating, a feeling of heaviness and fullness of the stomach during or after a meal.

Irritable bowel syndrome, unfortunately, cannot be completely cured, but by following the doctor’s recommendations, you can significantly alleviate your condition and improve your quality of life.

Dr. Ashwani Kumar is highly skilled and experienced in treating major and minor general medicine diseases.