The Ugly Symptoms of an Irritable Bowel

Stomach colon rectum diagram.
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Do you know the Symptoms of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Abdominal pain, bloatedness, and discomfort are the primary symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Having said that, symptoms can be very different from individual to individual. Other IBS patients sometimes suffer from constipation which is characterized by hard, dry, and irregular bowel movements.

Often these people report straining and cramping when they try to have a bowel movement but are not able to eliminate any stool, or they are able to eliminate just a small amount.If bowel movement does take place, mucus, a fluid that serves to keep the passages in the digestive system moist and protected, is often present.

Conversely, people who suffer from IBS may also suffer from diarrhea, where the person has loose, watery stools, and too-frequent bowel movements, as opposed to constipation. People with diarrhea frequently feel an urgent and uncontrollable need to have a bowel movement. In some cases, patients with IBS find themselves going back and forth between constipation and diarrhea. People with IBS may find some symptoms receding for some months, and then coming back after a time. Unfortunately for others, the symptoms may only worsen over time.

Because IBS is a problem with the colon, and the colon removes water from unprocessed food waste, it is common for people with the condition to be constipated or have diarrhea. Constipation occurs when waste matter remains in a person’s colon for too long so that too much water is absorbed, making the stool unusually hard and difficult to pass. In contrast, diarrhea occurs when the waste matter, aided by the colon muscles, moves along the colon too fast so that only very little of the fluid content is removed.

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome usually are recurring, meaning that a person will have bouts of symptoms on an ongoing basis as opposed to just once or twice a year. People with IBS often see their symptoms flare up at certain times. For many, they notice this after consuming large amounts of food, while for others, constant pressure or stress leads to the more severe attacks. Their normal menstrual cycle could also set off IBS symptoms for some women.

The main symptom of IBS is pain or discomfort in the abdomen. This is not to say however, that if you experience stomach aches or bloating sometimes, you are definitely suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. People with IBS usually have at least two of the following symptoms:

Abdominal ache or discomfort that is alleviated when that person is able to do bowel movement;

Pain or discomfort that is accompanied by changes in a person’s regular bowel movement patterns;

Abdominal ache or discomfort that comes with changes in a person’s stool appearance. For those who are constipated, stools become dry and harder to pass, while those experiencing diarrhea have loose, watery stool.

Anyone who seems to have just one of these symptoms probably does not have IBS.

The following are not normally symptoms or characteristics of irritable bowel syndrome:

Blood is passed together with stool or urine


Pain or diarrhea that interrupts sleep


Weight loss

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As is the case with most syndromes, the irritable bowel syndrome is made up of different signs and symptoms. IBS has not been shown to lead to serious disease, such as cancer. Over time, other terminologies have also been developed for IBS, for example colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, or spastic bowel. However, no link has been established between IBS and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

If a patient has extremely severe symptoms and it affects their way of life, you can just consider that they are going to feel some stress about that, and a lot of patients will say, “Well, I didn’t truly have depression, or my mood was not really bad before, it’s simply that I feel so impaired in my life.” You can find many of them saying that while they did not have depression or mood swings before; their decreased functionality has made them feel helpless.

Irritable bowel syndrome can also be complicated by non-gastrointestinal symptoms, taking place simultaneously or accelerated due to IBS. One very common symptom is fatigue. Difficulty in sleeping is another. What makes it worse is that when patients do not sleep well, the body is unable to recharge and heal itself, thus leading to worse bowel symptoms the following day. There have been studies that attest to this.

The additional aspect of irritable bowel syndrome is the fact it coexists with other problems, where you may have symptoms which might be outside of the gastro-intestinal tract. One example is fibromyalgia, a condition indicated by persistent pain of the muscles. With most patients, the chronic muscle pain, which is obviously external of the GI tract, is actually developed due to IBS. IBS patients can develop other conditions where they will have other symptoms, and a patient who becomes more severe, they will tend to have more of these non-gastrointestinal symptoms, either related to a diagnosable medical condition like migraine headaches or fibromyalgia.

IBS is also associated with two other conditions: the leaky gut syndrome and gut dysbiosis, where it is manifested as a small intestine bacterial overgrowth or SIBO. Other than that, IBS may also be linked to various environmental illnesses. IBS is sometimes diagnosed in people who have also been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), Gulf war syndrome (GWS) and autism. The most recent studies are now starting to identify the link between IBS and other chronic illnesses, and are looking into the possible causes for this connection.

Much of the research made has been focused on the connection of SIBO in most of these conditions, particularly in CFS and fibromyalgia. Just as SIBO has been found to be common in IBS patients, recent research has also found this to be the case with fibromyalgia and CFS. It was found that SIBO is common in both IBS and fibromyalgia patients.

Interestingly, they found that SIBO seemed to be more severe in fibromyalgia patients and the severity of the SIBO in specific patients correlated strongly with the intensity of the pain they experienced. Based on this finding, would it be possible to make speculations that if an IBS patient experienced severe SIBO he would also be developing fibromyalgic pain? Only further research can answer that question.

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Is There a Good Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Despite the fact that there is actually no simple remedy for irritable bowel syndrome, you can find treatments that can help decrease the symptoms.

For most men and women with IBS, a healthful life style is the most effective way to improve symptoms. This includes the following

If your main symptom is diarrhea, you should try not to have tea, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods and the artificial sweetener sorbitol, because these can increase your symptoms.

If you have constipation, you should try progressively adding more fiber-rich foods, such as bran, fruit and vegetables, in to your eating habits.

If bloating or wind is a problem, cutting out gas-producing foods, such as beans and green vegetables may help.

Other people who have IBS have discovered certain foods that can set-off the symptoms; then again, there is no easy way to go about identifying these particular foods. One way to achieve this would be to maintain a regular set of healthy foods in your diet and just try removing a single food at a time if the IBS symptoms appear. You may also seek advice from a dietician.

Stress is also one factor that can cause the symptoms. If this applies to you, handle your stress level with the help of relaxation techniques. Keeping notes on what symptoms appeared during certain activities or events can be a great help in distinguishing the most stressful experiences that can trigger IBS symptoms.

Having an active lifestyle and doing regular exercises can help in reducing stress and facilitating regular bowel movement.

If painkillers are needed to manage your pain, paracetamol is the better choice than ibuprofen or aspirin because these two have been found to aggravate the symptoms.

If self-help treatments are not effective for you, see your physician for guidance. They can also help you recognize issues that are making your IBS worse, and offer strategies about improvements you might look at making.

There are numerous over-the-counter treatments readily available from your everyday pharmacy that can relieve some of the symptoms of IBS. Those suffering from diarrhea may find some relief with anti-dirahhea medicines like loperamide, although they should only be used as needed. Laxatives, such as bran or ispaghula husk can be helpful. These are bulk-forming laxatives. However, some people find that bran makes their symptoms worse. Another option to bulk-forming medications is lactulose. This can help add water to your large bowel although it may also produce wind. There are also other forms of laxative which are more concentrated and bowel-stimulating such as senna, but you need to get medical advice prior to using these agents. Antispasmodic medicines, such as mebeverine hydrochloride and peppermint oil capsules, may help with pain and wind. Probiotics are harmless bacteria that are sometimes contained in yoghurts. There is some scientific evidence that certain strains can be helpful for IBS symptoms, but this is not conclusive.

You can also go to your health practitioner for IBS drugs. These include prescription-only versions of the medicines mentioned above. Low-dose antidepressants are known to be helpful, whether or not you are not depressed.

Due to the fact psychological factors such as stress can induce IBS, talking remedies such as cognitive behavioural therapy or psychotherapy might be very helpful for IBS symptoms, in particular for individuals who have personal troubles to deal with. Your physician can refer you to a suitable therapist.


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