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Irritable bowel syndrome

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Irritable bowel syndrome is sometimes called spastic colon, nervous indigestion, intestinal neurosis, mucous colitis, laxative colitis, or IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome is a complex disorder involving the lower intestinal tract, including the colon, the rectum, and rarely the small intestine and stomach. Irritable bowel syndrome creates tremendous difficulties in excreting solid waste. Some people with irritable bowel syndrome do not eliminate their solid waste more than two or three times per month. Other people with IBS suffer from chronic diarrhea and are forced to live their lives in proximity to a rest room.

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include chronic, frequent, and painful diarrhea, chronic, frequent, and painful constipation, abdominal pain after a meal, abdominal pain which is relieved only after a bowel movement, abdominal pain which seems to come and go without explanation, abdominal fullness, gas, bloating, abdominal distention, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, emotional distress, and depression.

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME CAUSES

There are various possible causes for irritable bowel syndrome. Some cases are caused by a lack of muscle movement in the lower intestines while other cases may be caused by an impeded tolerance for stretching and movement of the intestine. Other causes may include a problem in the structure of the intestine.

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME RISK FACTOR

Irritable bowel syndrome typically affects women with the onset of the syndrome coming on in later adolescence or early adulthood. Some of the risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome include the use or over use of laxatives, a low fiber diet, emotional stress, infectious diarrhea, and other inflammatory bowel disorders. Occasionally the long term use of narcotic pain relievers can contribute to risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome as well.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Image: Irritable bowel syndrome

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome may be done on the list of complaints alone. In many cases, tests reveal no abnormalities whatsoever. Some patients undergo an endoscopy, although it is not considered necessary in most cases. Endoscopy tests are to rule out inflammatory bowel diseases such as Chron s disease. Irritable bowel syndrome is not an inflammatory disease, thus the lack of any signs of an inflammatory disease leads to the diagnosis of IBS. Patients who are over 50 years of age complaining of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome should be screened for colon cancer.

Complications from irritable bowel syndrome include factors such as discomfort, malnutrition, dehydration, and depression. People with irritable bowel syndrome tend to avoid food due to the discomfort that it leads to. This can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, and other disorders related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME TREATMENT

Treatment options vary for each patient and the severity of the irritable bowel syndrome. Some patients need little more than a change in diet. Exercise can help to alleviate some of the symptoms as it encourages the bowels to move. An increase in daily fiber can help encourage bowels to act normally and the avoidance of caffeine and other stimulating food and drinks can help relieve the diarrhea. Daily exercise and other stress relieving activities may prove beneficial for those who suffer from a great deal of emotional stress, as this can be a contributing factor to irritable bowel syndrome. In some cases an anticholinergic medication is prescribed, which is taken right before meals. Counseling may be recommended for patients experiencing depression as this may be a contributing factor or can be the cause of depression. Anti-diarrheal medications can help ease the diarrhea but may contribute to the constipation. Low dose antidepressants are often prescribed as a pain reliever.

Coping with irritable bowel syndrome can be very difficult. It often takes numerous doctor visits and several attempts to find a treatment plan that may work. For many patients irritable bowel syndrome is life long chronic condition that requires changes in treatment plans throughout the years. Patients should contact their health care provider any time there is a significant alteration in bowel movement symptoms for more than two or three days, or if symptoms suddenly change very drastically, such as someone who has suffered from only diarrhea suddenly gets constipation after a few years of irritable bowel syndrome. Not all diets will work for all patients, and it may take a long time to find a diet plan that works well for an individual case of irritable bowel syndrome.
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