IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a disorder associated with the colon (large intestine). It is a chronic condition that needs to be managed long term. Unlike Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, this disorder doesn’t cause any changes in the bowel tissue besides the fact that the symptoms to all the disorders are similar.
Symptoms of the disorder can vary from one person to the other. In some cases it might be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. The common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:
- Mucus in the stool
- Cramping or abdominal pain
- Constipation and/or diarrhea.
Since it’s a chronic condition, the signs and symptoms might become aggravated depending on how it’s managed. An individual should see the doctor immediately if there is persistent change in the bowel movements or any of the symptoms indicated above. Besides, irritable bowel syndrome, the person could also be suffering from colon cancer and many more disorders with the same symptoms.
On the other hand, if the person is experiencing rectal bleeding, progressive abdominal pain especially at night or abrupt weight loss, it’s prudent to visit the doctor immediately to avoid any underlying conditions.
What Are The Causes And Triggers?
There is no solid cause for the disorder but numerous factors play a role. For a person suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, the digestive tract contractions might be longer and stronger causing any of the symptoms mentioned above.
There are stimuli that trigger the symptoms varying from one person to the other. These include the following.
- Foods – Various people with this disorder have reported complications after eating certain foods. Some of the notable culprits include spices, chocolate, beans, fats, broccoli, carbonated beverages, alcohol and much more. Since a person is required to go on a diet to manage the disease, it’s prudent to avoid any of these foods for the best results.
- Hormones – Researchers have identified that women have twice the risk of getting irritable bowel syndrome than men. Therefore, it’s likely that hormones play a huge role in triggering the condition. For women, there is a good chance that the condition might become more aggravated during menstrual periods.
- Stress – A person with IBS is likely to experience intense symptoms during periods of extreme stress. For instance, when going for an interview or doing finals, the symptoms are likely to become worse. Keep in mind that stress doesn’t actually cause the symptoms but merely aggravates them.
- Other Illnesses – If an individual is suffering from IBS as well as other illnesses, the symptoms are likely to become more aggravated.
Since the cause of the disorder hasn’t been identified the only treatment option is treating the symptoms. An individual can manage stress, adopt a proper lifestyle and dieting to avoid aggravating the symptoms. For those with severe symptoms, the doctor can always prescribe medications to keep the symptoms at bay. However, if the symptoms can’t be managed, it’s advisable to visit the doctor as soon as possible.