By:FADARE C. D.
IBS is a mix of belly discomfort or pain and trouble with bowel habits: either going more or less often than normal (diarrhea or constipation) or having a different kind of stool (thin, hard or soft and liquid). It is not life-threatening, and it doesn’t make you more likely to get other colon conditions (colon cancer). But IBS can be a long-lasting problem that changes how you live your life.
People with IBS have symptoms that can include:
- Constipation alternating with diarrhea
- Belly pains or cramps, usually in the lower half of the belly, that get worse after meals and feel better after a bowel movement
- A lot of gas or bloating
- Harder or looser stools than normal
- A belly that sticks out
Stress can make symptoms worse. Some people also have urinary symptoms or sexual symptoms.
While there are several things known to trigger IBS symptoms such as certain foods, medicines, the presence of gas or stool and emotional stress; experts do not know what causes this condition. However, there are no specific lab tests that can diagnose IBS. Doctor will only see if the symptoms of a patient match with the definition of IBS, and he may run tests to rule out conditions such as:
- Food allergies or intolerance and poor dietary habits
- Medications such as high blood pressure drugs, iron, etc.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
Tests such as stool tests, X-rays, blood tests for anemia, thyroid problems, and upper endoscopy to test indigestion could be carried out, to decode if one has IBS.
Nearly all people with IBS can get help, but no single treatment works for everyone. The following types of drugs are used to treat IBS:
Antispasmodics can control colon spasms,
Antidiarrheal drugs, such as Imodium, may help with diarrhea,
Laxatives can give short-term relief from constipation,
Bulking agents, such as psyllium, wheat bran, and corn fiber, helps slow the movement of food through the digestive system,
Antidepressants may also help relieve symptoms in some people.
Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking IBS medications, including laxatives, which can be habit forming if you don’t use them carefully.
Also, one needs to learn what their triggers are and need to make some lifestyle changes and take medication. Diet and lifestyle changes tips include:
- Avoid caffeine
- Add more fiber to your diet with foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts
- Drink at least three to four glasses of water per day
- Don’t smoke
- Learn to relax, either by getting more exercise or by reducing stress in one’s life
- Limit the intake of milk or cheese
- Eat smaller meals more often instead of big meals
- Keep a record of the foods you eat so you can figure out which foods bring on bouts of IBS.