A Brief Overview Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition effecting up to 20% of the population and the numbers are rising. There are more women sufferers than men and the age that it commonly starts is at around twenty. It is classed as a ?functional? disorder as it alters the way the body works and therefore is not diagnosable using traditional means such as examination or blood test.
It is not a commonly understood condition, with the medical community unable to clarify the exact cause. IBS appears to occur due to the body?s inability to regulate the bowel functions correctly. This leads to a number of unpleasant symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, excessive wind and irregular bowel movements including constipation and/or diarrhoea. However, there are treatments available to allow sufferers to manage their symptoms.
If you start to notice irregular bowel movements or suffer prolonged abdominal discomfort you could be suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Keeping a diary to monitor food intake, exercise and stress levels is a good idea to track anything that may exacerbate your symptoms. When diagnosing IBS your medical practitioner will ask you for a general history of your bowel movements so keeping records will come in handy.
Certain foods are also recognized as triggers for IBS, such as fatty foods, caffeine and dairy products. Keeping a food diary will help you identify if eating these foods cause your symptoms to flare up and you can eliminate them in line with advice from your doctor.
Some foods can conversely be helpful in easing the symptoms of IBS, namely foods high in fiber. For example, bran, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Try introducing these foods into your diet, in small quantities first to allow your digestive system time to adjust. They will be particularly helpful if you suffer from constipation as they make stools soft and bulky and easier to pass.
Eating little and often has also been proven to relieve symptoms in some IBS sufferers. Try spreading your food intake over 5 meals a day. Eating too much in one sitting can bring on cramping and diarrhea for people at risk from IBS.
Although not the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, stress can be a contributing factor to its symptoms. Try to introduce some relaxation techniques into your day such as meditation, yoga, exercise or any activity that you enjoy.
There are medications available that play a role in relieving the symptoms. Fiber supplements or laxatives are sometimes prescribed for constipation, there are also drugs available to reduce diarrhea and control colon muscle spasms. Antidepressants may also be prescribed. Your doctor will talk through the most appropriate approach for you to take, determined by the symptoms that you suffer from.
About the Author: Kirsten Whittaker has an interest in IBS. You can find further articles at http://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ibs-articles/ and additional IBS information at http://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/