Do you ever find yourself hogging the toilet seat way too often than most people? Are your frequent bathroom habits affecting your daily life? If so, you may be dealing with a condition of the gut commonly known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. The frequent unpleasant or painful feelings in your gut, such as constipation, diarrhoea, gas and bloating are all common symptoms of IBS. If you think you have IBS and want to learn more about the condition, this article is here to help you understand what IBS is –its symptoms, causes, treatments and natural ways to manage the condition, so keep on reading.
What is IBS?
Also referred to as irritable colon, mucous colitis, spastic colon, spastic bowel, etc, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a long-term condition that affects the large intestine, often causing recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort, as well as bowel changes. The severity and duration of IBS symptoms vary with each individual, ranging from minor issues that last for a couple of days to severe ones that can last for upto six months and more. Fortunately, symptoms of IBS are often minor and can be controlled through diet and lifestyle management, as well as through medications.
It is important to know that IBS is not similar to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or related to other bowel conditions. Additionally, IBS does not damage the digestive tract or shorten lifespan but the recurrent abdominal pain and unpleasant symptoms can be quite gruelling and can severely disrupt daily life.
Types of IBS
IBS can be categorised into three main types depending on the types of abnormal bowel movements experienced by the individual. Each type can have varying treatment with specific medication. The different types of IBS include:
- IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
- IBS with diarrhoea (IBS-D)
- Mixed IBS (IBS-M): Swings between constipation and diarrhoea
Researchers have also added “Unsubtyped IBS (IBS-U)”, an additional category for people who do not fit into the above types.
Symptoms of IBS
The signs and symptoms, as well as duration, of IBS, vary from person to person. Most people often have mild symptoms that may last for around three days, while others with severe symptoms may deal with it continuously for weeks or maybe months. Fortunately, the latter is rarely the case. The most common symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal pain or cramping that usually affects the lower half of the abdomen
- Constipation, Diarrhoea or frequent changes between the two
- Severe bloating, excessive gas, heartburn
- Changes in how often you are having a bowel movement
- Another symptom includes mucus in the stool
Causes of IBS
While several things are known to trigger IBS symptoms, the exact cause of IBS remains unknown to experts. Studies have suggested many possible causes, including hypersensitive colon, which overreacts to mild stimulation, a mild celiac disease that disrupts the intestine functioning, as well as bacteria in the bowels to be the cause behind the condition. In addition to these, other researchers are also suggesting that the chemicals in our body that control nerve signals between the brain and digestive tracts, such as serotonin and gastrin, may be responsible for the condition. It is also because of these varied possible causes that make IBS an intriguing condition and difficult one to prevent.
Triggers and Risk Factors of IBS
Oftentimes, the key to effectively managing IBS symptoms is to avoid triggers. This can include certain foods as well as stress and anxiety. And since some foods may have a greater effect than others, it is important to keep tabs on the food you eat and recognize which foods are triggers for you. The same goes for stress as well. Studies have shown that most people experience worse or more-frequent symptoms of IBS when under an extreme state of stress and anxiety. Hence, it is important to identify your stressors; find ways to manage them so that you may avoid or reduce unwanted IBS symptoms.
And when it comes to risk factors of IBS, studies have shown that there are certain factors that may increase the risk of IBS.
- Sex - Women are more likely to develop IBS than men
- Age - Although IBS affect people of all ages, young adults are more likely to experience IBS.
- Family history – Studies have shown a strong connection between family genes and IBS.
- Mental health – Studies have shown that people with emotional problems, such as stress, trauma, etc are more likely to have IBS.
- Medications – studies have also shown a strong connection between IBS symptoms and antibiotics, antidepressants, and drugs made with sorbitol.
IBS Treatment and Management
Since IBS is neither curable nor avoidable, the main aim of IBS treatment is to manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life. Doctors often recommend lifestyle changes and avoid factors that trigger the condition before prescribing medication. That said, IBS medications are also aimed at easing the symptoms only and not curing the condition. And since IBS condition differs from person to person, the treatment also varies with each individual. Your doctor can help you find out the right treatment that works best for you.
Home remedies such as diet change, exercising, avoiding unhealthy habits, reducing stress, etc, are a great way to treat and manage IBS symptoms, especially if the condition is mild. Including healthy digestive boosters in your daily diet, such as Diagemax Juice, Celiacgold Juice and Daily Diagemax Tea from Preserva Wellness are also an excellent way to help ease the various symptoms of IBS and enhance digestive health naturally. They work wonders in relieving digestive issues such as constipation, acidity, bloating, flatulence and all kinds of problems that trouble gut health. Plus, they are specifically formulated using healthy natural ingredients that are rich in essential nutrients that enhance and improve gut health safely and effectively.
The Bottom Line
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are usually long-term and tend to come and go for the rest of your life, whether mild or severe. While this can be challenging, IBS symptoms are completely manageable. Getting the right treatment and making changes in your diet and lifestyle habits are the best ways to help control and improve IBS symptoms and live a normal, healthy life. Moreover, IBS does not cause any damage to the body nor does it lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. However, make sure to consult your healthcare provider immediately if you have IBS related symptoms that are not improving or becoming worse even after medications or diet and lifestyle changes.
Disclaimer- This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your healthcare provider in case of any health complications.