Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common and usually a lifelong condition that affects the digestive system. It is a disorder of the colon or the large intestine. Severe cases of irritable bowel syndrome are difficult to manage and may require medications and counseling.
The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown. Possible causes are:
- Genetic factors
- Intestinal inflammations
- Intestinal infections
The occurrence of symptoms may vary. Some days you may feel better and some days it gets worse. The symptoms can be triggered by any food items, stress factors and hormonal changes.
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Mucus in fecal matter or stool
- Flatulence or build up of gas
- Sudden and frequent urge to urinate
- Incontinence or loss of bladder control
There are no specific tests for Irritable bowel syndrome. The doctor may perform several tests to rule out other health problems.
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Physical examination
- Medical history
- Family history
- Blood tests
- Stool tests
Other test procedures may be done based on the above diagnostic procedures to rule out occurrence of other conditions like colon cancer and celiac disease.
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome focuses on relieving the symptoms. Mild conditions can be treated with lifestyle changes and stress management. Medications and mental health therapies may be required if the condition gets worsened.
- Changes in diet includes:
- Intake of foods rich in fibre
- Avoid gluten
- Avoid foods that trigger the symptoms
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid carbonated drinks
- Avoid alcohols
A dietician can help you with a diet plan.
- Lifestyle changes include:
- Regular exercise
- Getting enough sleep
- Reducing stress
- Medications are prescribed based on your symptoms. Medicines to reduce pain, diarrhoea, constipation and other symptoms may be given depending on the condition.
- Mental health therapies such as relaxation training and cognitive behavioural therapy helps in relaxing muscles, reducing stress and other factors related to mental health.
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