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What Is IBS and other FAQ

What is IBS? IBS is irritable bowel syndrome. IBS symptoms typically include abdominal pain which is relieved by a bowel movement. There may be excessive gas and bloating. Changes in frequency and appearance of stools are also IBS symptoms. IBS symptoms may include constipation and/or diarrhea.


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IBS is best described as a functional disease. The concept of functional disease is particularly useful when discussing diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. The concept applies to the muscular organs of the gastrointestinal tract; the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, gallbladder, and colon. What is meant by the term, functional, is that both the muscles of the organs or the nerves that control the organs are not working normally, and, as a result, the organs do not function normally. The nerves that control the organs include not only the nerves that lie within the muscles of the organs but also the nerves of the spinal cord and brain.

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by a group of symptoms in which abdominal pain or discomfort is associated with a change in bowel pattern, such as loose or more frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, and/or constipation.

Anti-depressants are sometimes prescribed for IBS. Depression is not commonly one of the irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms, but studies have shown anti-depressants may block pain receptors in the brain. Most prescribed medications for irritable bowel syndrome target pain relief. Stress and anxiety sometimes accompany irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms and anti-depressants may help relieve these, as well as the pain.

Treatment options are available to manage IBS???whether symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe.

For more information visit: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment

Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience as a healthcare professional and currently writes informational articles for the Digestive Disorders Guide. Read more at http://www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.

Irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms typically include abdominal (stomach) pain that is relieved by a bowel movement. It is believed that the pain may be caused by muscle spasms, so anti-spasmodic medications for irritable bowel syndrome are sometimes prescribed. The idea being that reducing the muscle spasms or contractions may relieve the pain, relax the intestines and possibly prevent diarrhea. Anti-spasmodic medications, like most prescription drugs, are not intended for long term use, so a complete treatment program which includes dietary changes and other therapies may be recommended as well.

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.

Some gastrointestinal diseases can be seen and diagnosed with the naked eye, such as ulcers of the stomach. Thus, ulcers can be seen at surgery, on x-rays, and at endoscopies. Other diseases cannot be seen with the naked eye but can be seen and diagnosed with the microscope. For example, celiac disease and collagenous colitis are diagnosed by microscopic examination of biopsies of the small bowel and colon, respectively. In contrast, gastrointestinal functional diseases cannot be seen with the naked eye or with the microscope. In some instances, the abnormal function can be demonstrated by tests, for example, gastric emptying studies or antro-duodenal motility studies. However, these tests often are complex, are not widely available, and do not reliably detect the functional abnormalities. Accordingly, by default, functional gastrointestinal diseases are those involving the abnormal function of gastrointestinal organs in which abnormalities cannot be seen in the organs with either the naked eye or the microscope.

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.

What is IBS with constipation treated with? There are many treatment options for IBS symptoms when constipation is present. An increase in dietary fiber and water are usually the first recommendations. If IBS symptoms are not relieved, doctors may recommend laxatives, but only for short-term use. A botanical supplement containing aloe is often recommended, because it is gentler than stimulant laxatives and is not habit-forming. Diet and lifestyle changes are often recommended, as is stress management, if stress is a problem. Alternative therapies such as hypnosis and chiropractic have been effective for relieving IBS symptoms in some people. Anti-depressants are sometimes prescribed because they block pain and may relax stomach muscles. Zelnorm, a prescription medication for women who have IBS symptoms with constipation, is sometimes prescribed, but it can have serious side-effects.

Over the counter medications for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea include Kaopectate, Imodium and other anti-diarrhea products. But though they may be effective for slowing diarrhea, they will not help to relieve the other irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms. Herbal and botanical remedies may be effective for the relief and control of IBS with diarrhea or constipation, but there is no conclusive evidence that they work. There are only user testimonials. What works for one may not work for everyone and natural does not always mean safe. Herbs and botanicals should only be purchased from reliable companies. Doctor consultation is often recommended, but most doctors know very little about herbal and botanical treatment. A better source for information may be an herbalist or doctor of naturopathic medicine.

Because irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms may include diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, the recommended prescriptions and over the counter medications for irritable bowel syndrome vary depending on the individual. For example, Zelnorm is used to treat IBS with constipation, but it should not be used by those who suffer from IBS with diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common ailments of the bowel (intestines) and affects an estimated 15% of persons in the US. The term, irritable bowel, is not a particularly good one since it implies that the bowel is responding irritably to normal stimuli, and this may or may not be the case. The several names for IBS, including spastic colon, spastic colitis, and mucous colitis, attest to the difficulty of getting a descriptive handle on the ailment. Moreover, each of the other names is itself as problematic as the term IBS.

Sometimes irritable bowel syndrome is referred to as spastic colon, mucous colitis, spastic colitis, nervous stomach, or irritable colon. Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is generally classified as a "functional" disorder. A functional disorder refers to a disorder or disease where the primary abnormality is an altered physiological function (the way the body works), rather than an identifiable structural or biochemical cause. It characterizes a disorder that generally can not be diagnosed in a traditional way; that is, as an inflammatory, infectious, or structural abnormality that can be seen by commonly used examination, x-ray, or blood test.

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.

What is IBS caused by? The cause of IBS is not known. It is not believed to lead to more serious conditions, does not appear to increase the risk for colon cancer, but the symptoms are similar to those of inflammatory bowel diseases and should be evaluated by a physician. Stress is not believed to be a cause, but it does tend to worsen IBS symptoms. IBS symptoms are more common in women than men, possibly indicating that monthly hormonal changes are a cause, but this has not been proven. For more information about IBS and other digestive problems, visit www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.

 
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What is IBS with diarrhea? This is when IBS symptoms include loose, watery stools, possible with mucus present and going more often than usual.

For more information about irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems, visit www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.

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.

Irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of other more serious conditions such as colitis and Crohn's disease. If you have some or many irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor. A complete physical exam or other tests may be necessary to learn what is causing your pain. Your doctor can also help you decide if over the counter or prescription medications for irritable bowel syndrome or other therapies are right for you.

What is IBS with constipation? Doctors make this diagnosis when IBS symptoms include constipation or when a person has fewer bowel movements than what they are accustomed to. The stool may be hard or difficult to pass.

Irritable bowel syndrome is understood as a multi-faceted disorder. In people with IBS, symptoms result from what appears to be a disturbance in the interaction between the gut or intestines, the brain, and the autonomic nervous system that alters regulation of bowel motility (motor function) or sensory function.

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 HREF=http://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ibs-articles/ target="_blank">ht
tp://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ibs-articles/ and
additional IBS information at HREF=http://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ target="_blank">http://www.irri
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The distinction between functional disease and non-functional disease may, in fact, be blurry. Thus, even functional diseases probably have associated biochemical or molecular abnormalities that ultimately will be able to be measured. For example, functional diseases of the stomach and intestines may be shown ultimately to be caused by reduced levels of normal chemicals within the gastrointestinal organs, the spinal cord, or the brain. Should a disease that is demonstrated to be due to a reduced chemical still be considered a functional disease? I think not. In this theoretical situation, we can't see the abnormality with the naked eye or the microscope, but we can measure it. If we can measure an associated or causative abnormality, the disease probably should no longer be considered functional.

Irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms may include excessive gas, bloating or feeling that the stomach is swollen. If these symptoms are present, recommended over the counter medications for irritable bowel syndrome may include Gas-X or other anti-gas products. Herbs and botanicals designed to prevent or relieve gas are also available.

Occasionally, diseases that are thought to be functional are ultimately found to be associated with abnormalities that can be seen. Then, the disease moves out of the functional category. An example of this would be Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach. Many patients with mild upper intestinal symptoms who were thought to have abnormal function of the stomach or intestines have been found to have an infection of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori. This infection can be diagnosed by seeing the bacterium and the inflammation (gastritis) it causes under the microscope. When the patients are treated with antibiotics, the Helicobacter, gastritis, and symptoms disappear. Thus, recognition of Helicobacter pylori infection removed some patients' diseases from the functional category.

What is IBS with diarrhea treated with? Treatment options for IBS symptoms when diarrhea is present are as numerous as those for constipation. Doctors may suggest over the counter anti-diarrhea products like Kaopectate. Medications to reduce muscle spasms may be prescribed. Herbal remedies are available. Hypnosis was shown to be effective in one study. Stress management, anti-depressants, dietary and lifestyle changes may all be effective for relieving IBS symptoms with diarrhea.

Despite the shortcomings of the term, functional, the concept of a functional abnormality is useful for approaching many of the symptoms originating from the muscular organs of the gastrointestinal tract. This concept applies particularly to those symptoms for which there are no associated abnormalities that can be seen with the naked eye or the microscope.

While IBS is a major functional disease, it is important to mention a second major functional disease referred to as dyspepsia, or functional dyspepsia. The symptoms of dyspepsia are thought to originate from the upper gastrointestinal tract; the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine. The symptoms include upper abdominal discomfort, bloating (the subjective sense of abdominal fullness without objective distension), or objective distension (swelling, or enlargement). The symptoms may or may not be related to meals. There may be nausea with or without vomiting and early satiety (a sense of fullness after eating only a small amount of food).

The study of functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract often is categorized by the organ of involvement. Thus, there are functional disorders of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, and gallbladder. The amount of research on functional disorders has been focused mostly on the esophagus and stomach (such as dyspepsia), perhaps because these organs are easiest to reach and study. Research into functional disorders affecting the small intestine and colon (for example, IBS) is more difficult to conduct and there is less agreement among the research studies. This probably is a reflection of the complexity of the activities of the small intestine and colon and the difficulty in studying these activities. Functional diseases of the gallbladder, like those of the small intestine and colon, also are more difficult to study.

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.

Most individuals are surprised to learn they are not alone with symptoms of IBS. In fact, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects approximately 10-20% of the general population. It is the most common disease diagnosed by gastroenterologists (doctors who specialize in medical treatment of disorders of the stomach and intestines) and one of the most common disorders seen by primary care physicians.

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.

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.

Patsy Hamilton has over twenty years experience as a health care professional and currently writes informational articles for the Digestive Disorders Guide. Read more at http://www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.


Nancy D. Pace

 
 
     
 
 





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