Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms And Treatments

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms And Treatments

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), is a benign but chronic functional digestive disease. If it can have a significant impact on the lives of people who suffer from it, it is possible to treat the symptoms. The Healthcare professionals explain everything about Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and treatment as well as the solutions available to you in order to better live with it.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Commonly called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), this term is however no longer used because the small intestine is also affected by this syndrome.

Also known as “functional colopathy”, this syndrome is characterized by abdominal pain of varying intensity and episodes of diarrhea or constipation (or both). Some extra-digestive symptoms, such as headaches, hot flushes, fatigue or muscle pain are sometimes present.

This syndrome affects 3 times more women than men and is present in 5% of the French population. In general, this disease appears between the ages of 30 and 40, but it can also occur in children and adolescents.

What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The causes of irritable bowels syndrome are multiple and, as yet, poorly understood. This disease can be caused by:

  • intestinal motricity disorders, that is to say that the intestine contracts either too much or it does not contract enough. Depending on the contractions of the intestine (peristalsis) the patient may have diarrhea or be constipated;
  • intestinal sensitivity disorders, which are responsible for an increased sensitivity to bloating and flatulence;
  • central nervous system pain control abnormalities;
  • a state of intestinal inflammation which may be related to increased intestinal porosity or a change in intestinal flora.

Certain factors promote the appearance of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, such as anxiety, stress, depression, but also fatigue.

Some diseases are also associated with this syndrome. This is the case with fibromyalgia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), painful bladder syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and sometimes acute gastroenteritis .

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

The most common irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are of three types:

Abdominal pain

Stomach ache is one of the most common irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

Abdominal pain is characterized by a spasming or cramping sensation and is usually located in the right and left iliac fossa or in the umbilicus region.

It usually occurs after meals but can also appear on waking. It can last from a few hours to a few days. It is classically relieved by the emission of stools or gases.

Abdominal pain is usually absent at night.

Read Also: Why is my poop so big it clogs the toilet?

Abdominal bloating

Abdominal bloating is also common and is a discomfort that makes it painful to wear tight clothes, especially after meals. At most, it is a permanent abdominal tension that is difficult to bear, with distension of the belly.

Bloating can be accompanied by noises inside the digestive tract due to the movement of gases and liquids ( borborygmi ). Like pain, bloating (or flatulence ) can be improved by passing gas or stool.

Intestinal transit disorders: constipation and/or diarrhea

Intestinal transit disorders are most often manifested by constipation.

However, diarrhea is possibly characterized by the emission of several liquid stools during the day, often in the morning or after a meal with frequently an urgent need to go to the toilet.

Alternating diarrhea and constipation may also appear.

Thus, depending on the predominant transit disorder observed, different forms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are defined:

  • with predominantly diarrhea (SII-D);
  • with predominant constipation (SII-C);
  • with alternating diarrhea-constipation or mixed form (SII-M).

Read: Simple Exercises to Ease Constipation

Evolution Of Irritable Bowels Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome often progresses through attacks with periods of improvement and episodes of exacerbation of symptoms. One of the criteria for making the diagnosis is the presence of symptoms for at least 6 months and occurring at least one day a week during the last 3 months.

Being a functional disease, IBS does not change the results of your complementary tests (unlike celiac disease or Crohn’s disease) and is not life threatening.

What To Eat In Case Of Irritable Bowels?

In case of irritable bowel syndrome, it is useful to eat a balanced diet to relieve symptoms. Your doctor can refer you to a dietician to help you. If you have functional colopathy you must:

  • avoid foods that are too fatty;
  • avoid eating too much fiber and try to spread their consumption over several meals;
  • limit caffeine and alcohol;
  • avoid soft drinks;
  • limit foods high in FODMAPs (sugars used by the food industry, such as synthetic sweeteners) or foods that contain lactose.

In some patients, taking probiotics can help minimize symptoms. Also remember to drink between 1 L and 1.5 L of water a day and to practice a sports activity to facilitate your intestinal transit.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment

The treatment of irritable bowel syndrome consists of minimizing the impact of existing symptoms, preventing their development and preventing the appearance of other symptoms.

The doctor may advise you to take antispasmodic drugs, to relieve pain and the feeling of bloating, and transit regulators, such as laxatives or anti-diarrheals depending on your symptoms. While some advise the use of essential oils in the irritable bowel syndrome treatment, their effects remain to be proven. So prefer probiotics and dietary advice adapted to your case.

You can also benefit from psychological support with hypnosis or cognitive behavioral therapy sessions.

Read Also: How to induce vomiting?

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