Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBM is a long-term condition that affects the digestive system. About 6-18% people around the world are affected by it. However, it is slightly more common in women than men, and usually starts in early adulthood. In this article, Dr. SamratJankar, one of the best gastroenterologist in Pune will tell you everything that you need to know about Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Given beloware the main symptoms of IBS:
- Mixed bowel habits/ schedules
- Mucus in bowel movements
- Feeling of incomplete bowel movements
- Looser and more frequent stools
- Tummy pain and bloating, which might ease aftergoing to the toilet.
These symptoms will come and go from time to time, with some days being better and other days being worse. Most people with IBS experience times when these symptoms are worse and times when they improve or even disappear completely. If you feel that you suffer from these symptoms and feel the need to visit a gastroenterologist, do so in major metro cities like Pune for the best treatment.
But what exactly causes these symptoms in the first place?
- Contraction of Muscles in the Intestines:
When your food enters your body it is broken down and absorbed into the body. To keep the food moving through the system, the wall of the bowel squeezes in on itself in a rhythmic way, slowly pushing its contents through the gut. IBS affects the gut, and more specifically the large bowel or colon. In IBS, the gut wall becomes more sensitive and excitable. The contractions sometimes occur too quickly, causing diarrhea, or they occur too slowly, causing constipation.
- Abnormalities in Nervous System:
Problems with the nerves in your digestive system can cause a lot of pain and discomfort when your abdomen stretches from stool or gas. This is caused by poorly sent signals between your brain and your intestines. It can cause your body to overreact to changes that normally occur in the digestive process, resulting in pain, diarrhea or constipation.
- Intestine Inflammation:
There are times when the immune system cells in your intestines are in large number. This kind of response by the immune system is linked with diarrhea and pain.
- Changes in Microflora:
Microflora are the good bacteria in your intestines, playing a major role in your health. Changes in these bacteria can also affect the way your gut functions.
Overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines is also a key cause for IBS. Bacteria might start multiplying in the intestine after a severe phase of diarrhea, thereby leaving a trace for further infections.
Doctors are able to diagnose IBS based on the symptoms, and after other types of boweldisease have been ruled out through blood tests and stool tests. These other bowel conditions include inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and bowel cancer. If you experience different symptoms such as weight loss, fever, and blood in the stools,it is very important to see a doctor to rule out these more serious bowel conditions.
So how is IBS treated?
There is no single treatment that works for everyone.But there are lots of things you can try, such as finding ways to relax and reduce stresslevels, and doing regular exercise.By keeping a symptom diary, you can see which foods or activities seem to bring on symptoms so they can be avoided.Certain food groups, which form the acronym FODMAPs, are common triggers for IBS symptoms.Therefore a low FODMAP diet can help, though you should speak to a dietician or doctorbefore making major changes to your diet.
A range of over-the-counter medications can also help with symptoms, including those thatreduce bowel spasm and drugs to help relieve constipation or diarrhea symptoms.
If these simple medicines and steps aren’t helping, doctors might also suggest otheroptions such as antidepressants and psychological therapies, particularly if stress and anxietyis an issue.
There is no single fix for IBS, and it is often a lifelong condition, though symptomswill tend to come and go, and you may have long spells with only mild symptoms, or nosymptoms at all.When flare-ups do happen, they can impact on daily life, which can be frustrating.
Patient support groups are available to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Relaxation techniques, dietary changes and medications can all help to control symptoms, though it may take some time to figure out what works best for you.