Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
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IBS: Irritable bowel syndrome- is a condition associated with abnormal functioning of the gastrointestinal system and is one of the most commonly experienced disorders of the gastrointestinal system.
Patients with IBS may experience abdominal pain, or discomfort. For the majority the pain is minimal and often characterized as tightness; however most agree that ill feeling subsides after successful defecation. The severity of pain may vary each time, and may also be accompanied by abnormalities such as constipation or diarrhea. Most patients will find that either one or the other will be more prevalent.
Furthermore, defecation may prove difficult and be accompanied by mucus; features of feces may also vary ranging from hard to liquid form. Other symptoms may include flatulence, abdominal tightness, gassiness, frequent burping, and defecation accompanied by gas. These symptoms usually last for more than 3 months.
Conditions associated with irregular bowel movements could be chronic lasting years or potentially even a lifetime. Even though, this condition may not cause health deterioration for many years and may not be deadly, it can be a major annoyance and source of worry for people who suffer from it despite medical treatment. Symptoms are often benign; as such many patients may not even visit the doctor. However, if left untreated it can worsen and cause further, more serious complications.
It is important to note that IBS is not cancer and will not become cancerous, even in individuals who live with it for many years. IBS is not currently common in Thailand, being more prevalent in westerners.
What is IBS caused by?
There are no clear causes at present but it is categorized as a functional bowel disorder meaning that the function of the bowel is upset, but the bowel appears normal. A thorough check-up may not reveal any indicators; the only clear abnormality is contraction of the muscles in the linings of the intestine.
3 Risk Factors of IBS include:
Abnormal contraction or movement within the intestine that may be induced by foreign substances or hormones leading to abdominal pain,diarrhea, or constipation.
Neural pathways within the intestinal walls are sensitive to stimulus. For example, an individual with IBS may have an abnormal reaction to a meal such as excessive contraction or movement within the intestine leading to abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation. Stress and emotional changes can also contribute to symptoms of IBS.
Abnormalities in the function of the Brain-gut axis Diagnosis
IBS is usually identified when all other possible causes have been disproven.Test may include examination of stool, an x-ray of the large intestine, and an endoscopy. The goal is to determine presence of abnormalities such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and constipation. Tests would most likely not reveal any presence of tumor or cancer that is directly associated with IBS.
Is IBS Treatable?
Presently, there is no indication of the exact cause of IBS, thus there is no medication that is 100% effective. However, your doctor may treat you in accordance to your symptoms such as medication for flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, and medication to reduce the severity of contractions. Because treatment can often relieve symptoms quality of life can be improved. For most people, IBS is a chronic condition, although there will likely be times when the signs and symptoms are worse and times when they improve or even disappear.