Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS, is a condition of the large intestine. It is characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but some common factors may contribute to it, such as stress, eating habits, or genetics. This article will discuss Irritable Bowel Syndrome, its symptoms, and its treatments.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is also known as IBS. This syndrome usually occurs in people ranging from age 15-35 years old; however, younger children can also be affected depending on their life circumstances (e.g., if they are under stress). The main feature of IBS is having chronic abdominal pain with diarrhea and constipation.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be divided into four subgroups:

  • IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
  • Mixed IBS - having alternating diarrhea and constipation (IBS-A)
  • Unspecified IBS - when abdominal pain is present but does not fit in the other three categories.

This means that you cannot say if it is diarrhea or constipation or both regarding your bowel movements. The symptoms of this type are bloating, nausea, vomiting, early satiety, and rectal discomfort. Your doctor will decide whether your case should be classified as unspecified IBD based on the severity of your symptoms.

Main symptoms:

  • Chronic Abdominal Pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Additional symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Rectal Discomfort (Pain Or Discomfort In The Anus)
  • Urgency (The Sensation You Need To Go Soon, Like Having A Bowel Movement Urgently)
  • Lack Of Consistency

Although these symptoms can occur at any time and with varying intensity, they usually appear after meals. These symptoms usually come and go; however, there are cases where they remain without interruption for years.

You should visit your doctor if your digestive system has been experiencing one of these symptoms every day for more than three months.

What Causes IBS?

Although the cause of IBS is unknown, some factors can lead to developing this syndrome. People who have a history of chronic anxiety disorders, depression, or had frequent infections during childhood have a higher chance of experiencing IBS symptoms.

In addition, there may be a genetic factor that causes people to develop IBS later in life. Women are more likely to experience IBS symptoms than men. The average age at which they get diagnosed with this condition is 31 years old.

What Treatments Or Lifestyle Changes Will Have To Be Made?

Although there is no cure for IBS, several things can be done to reduce its symptoms. It is important that you pay attention to your diet because certain foods can trigger these symptoms. It is not recommended to overeat food; instead, space them through the day. Avoid eating gas-producing foods such as beans, broccoli, or cauliflower. You should also avoid sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, and high-fat foods.

Depending on what type or the severity of your Irritable Bowel Syndrome, your doctor will suggest what other treatments to try in order to manage the condition.

When Should I See A Doctor About IBS?

The main symptom of IBS is abdominal pain which affects your quality of life. Although it may be possible to treat or control this condition through self-help measures, you should still visit your doctor if the symptoms start to affect your daily routine. Always be open with how often you have bowel movements since there are cases where IBS is misdiagnosed as Crohn's Disease or ulcerative colitis.

GI Associates & Endoscopy Can Help You With IBS

Our professional team of doctors will take a closer look at your medical history, perform a physical examination, and might order specific tests if necessary. Please contact us and set up an appointment if you are suffering from any of the above symptoms.

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