Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disease that causes gastrointestinal symptoms. It mainly causes abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation.
Depending on the type of the main symptom, several types of IBS are distinguished. Irritable bowel syndrome can also occur under other names:
- nervous gut
- mucous colitis
- nervous diarrhea
- spastic colitis
- nervous colon
- a spastic colon
Irritable bowel syndrome is classified into 3 types depending on the main symptom:
- IBS with a predominance of diarrhea
- with a predominance of constipation
- mixed type
The causes of IBS
The exact and unequivocal cause is unknown, however there are factors and circumstances that can cause and influence the development of irritable bowel. These include, for example:
Certain foods and their intolerance or allergy to them may contribute to the development of this disease. These are mainly dairy products (lactose intolerance), cereals, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks.
Living under constant stress, malfunctioning of the nervous system in the digestive system can cause symptoms suggestive of IBS.
Muscle cramps in the intestine
The intestines are muscular and undigested food moves and is excreted due to the contractions of the intestinal muscles. If these contractions are too slow, we are dealing with constipation, if we have a problem with diarrhea too often.
Certain medical conditions may contribute to the development of irritable bowel syndrome. These are, for example, inflammation of the stomach or intestines (stomach flu) or a build-up of pathogenic microorganisms in the gut).
What symptoms should worry us and when to see a doctor?
In addition to frequent abdominal pain, gas build-up, diarrhea or constipation, the appearance of the following symptoms should result in our visit to the doctor. These are:
- weight loss
- blood in your stools or rectal bleeding
- vomiting for which there is no known cause
- trouble swallowing
- chronic pain that does not go away after
- defecation or gas
After listening to our symptoms, the doctor may order additional tests to exclude possible other, more serious diseases (bowel cancer, Crohn’s disease). They can be:
- colonoscopy – inserting a tube ending with a micro camera through the anus to check the condition of the intestine
- stool examination – for bacteria, parasites
- blood tests – testing of iron levels to rule out anemia
Irritable bowel syndrome – symptoms
The symptoms of IBS include:
- abdominal pain (most often after eating)
- back pain
- loss of appetite
- mucus in the stool
Irritable bowel syndrome can be considered if most of the above symptoms occur for at least 3 months, at least once a week.
Anyone can get IBS, but there are several factors that can make us more at risk than others.
- women suffer from irritable bowel syndrome
- it is more common in younger people – up to 50 years of age
- genetics – if there has been a family history of the disease, you are more likely to develop it as well
- poor mental state – depression, constant stress, mental illness
There is currently no known cure for IBS, but a doctor can prescribe medications to reduce the onset of unpleasant symptoms.
So these will be drugs:
- diastolic – No-spa, Deespa
- antidiarrheal – Smecta, coal, Stoperan, Laremid
- against constipation – Xenna, Dulcobis
- analgesics – Paracetomol, Ibuprom
There are also over-the-counter drugs on the market that collectively work against symptoms of irritable bowel. This is for example Debutir, Irbutin, DebuActiv.
Some people find it easier to use probiotics to maintain a healthy gut flora. However, the downside to their use is that we have to wait several weeks for the first improvement effects.
Irritable bowel disease is very often stress-related. Therefore, we should take care of our inner peace. If the problems are big, it is worth using the help of a psychologist. We can also help ourselves with sedative drugs or herbs with such properties (lemon balm). A good solution is to practice relaxation techniques and yoga.
Diet in irritable bowel syndrome
A proper diet is important in relieving symptoms. Depending on the most common symptoms, it is worth introducing the following products to the diet:
- drink plenty of water, juices
- eat foods rich in fiber – whole grain bread, oats, legumes, potatoes, linseed
- eat dairy products – milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, sour milk
- buckwheat, dark rice
- rice, rice gruel
- chocolate, cocoa
- limit foods that contain
- porridge, oat products
- avoid foods that cause flatulence – broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, broccoli
Irritable bowel syndrome can cause various complications, not only health.
Chronic constipation or frequent diarrhea can eventually lead to hemorrhoids. IBS-related symptoms adversely affect our quality of life. We are less socially active, it affects the quality of our work, and we often leave it or even make it impossible for us. IBS can also lead to depression, which in turn can make symptoms worse, which is a vicious cycle. Therefore, it is worth using the help of a psychologist in such a case.