Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome, also referred to as irritable colon, spastic colon or nervous stomach is a condition characterized by the contraction of colon muscles more frequently than normal. Females are more affected with the condition in comparison than males and in approximately half of the patients it starts before the age of 35 years.
Symptoms of IBS
The main symptoms of IBS are pain and discomfort in abdomen and abdominal bloating. However, symptoms vary in different individuals. Some patients complain of constipation. Some patients complain of diarrhea Some patients develop alternate diarrhea and constipation. Sometimes the symptoms may improve for a few months only to recur again and sometimes the there is a constant aggravation of symptoms with time.
Causes of IBS
No specific cause of IBS has been discovered.
Diagnosis of IBS
The diagnosis of IBS is usually made on the basis of a complete and careful description of symptoms and a physical exam. If you have symptoms that resemble those of IBS, it is better to consult your physician.
The best treatment for your particular symptoms will be prescribed by your doctor, which may include making lifestyle and dietary changes. IBS is treated by :
- Avoiding excessive intake of caffeine
- Increasing the intake of fiber
- Monitoring and avoiding foods that trigger symptoms of IBS
- Reducing stress by learning and applying different techniques to cope with stress
- And taking medicines as recommended by the doctor
Medicines form an important part of treating symptoms of IBS. You may be recommended to take laxatives or fiber supplements to relieve constipation or medicines such as loperamide (Immodium) to reduce diarrhea. Your doctor may prescribe an antispasmodic to control muscle spasms in the colon and to reduce pain in abdomen. Some symptoms may also be relieved by taking antidepressants.