Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder that causes discomfort and pain. An individual may suffer from flatulence and bloating, also changes in bowel movements such as constipation or diarrhea. This is not a fatal, however it can affect the colon severely and lead to intestinal bleeding or even cancer.
There is no known cause for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, although people suffer from the disease will need to consult their doctor for the following situations:
- Food entering the bowel rapidly and experience diarrhoea.
- Food going through the bowel slowly and constipation occurs
- Sensitive muscles and nerves in the bowel. Excessive contraction of these muscles when eating can cause abdominal cramps.
Other risk factors can include:
- Younger age group
- Family history of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Stressful life
- Infection or gut inflammation
The signs and symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome can change between those who are affected. It may be mild to severely disabling, these can include: - Changes to stool movement
- Bowel habits
- Urgent need for bowel motion
- Bowels do not empty thoroughly
- Presence of mucus in stools
- Abdominal cramps
Keep in mind that these are similar to Colon Cancer symptoms and needs to be examined by your doctor. Less common symptoms might include fatigue, back pain, headaches, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and experiencing pain when going to the toilet.
There is no cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However there are some lifestyle changes that can be carried out to reduce the risk of triggers. Your doctor may recommend a treatment plan to fit your medical needs. These might include:
- Activities and medication to manage your stress levels
- Avoid consumption of alcohol, food high in fats, sugary food such as chocolate, and caffeinated drinks.
- Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables to increase intake of fibre
- Consume smaller portions
- Medication to help relieve constipation, diarrhea, or abdominal pain and cramps
- Lack social engagement
- Low mood such as depression
- Lack of nutrition leading to malnutrition
- Worsening of piles