pregnancy and ibs symptoms - What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
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What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

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.


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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.

It is estimated that about 30 percent of people in the West has suffered from IBS at some stage, and 13 percent of those do so regularly. IBS appears to be brought on and exacerbated by anxiety, stress, and nervous problems. Symptoms often appear worse during menstruation. Other causal factors include food intolerance.

Treatments for irritable bowel syndrome Your doctor is the best person to advise you on potential treatments for your own individual condition but constipation and diarrhoea may be controlled via laxatives.

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

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is also known as irritable or spastic colon, and there is no real understanding of why it exists, although it seems to occur when the muscles that line the walls of the intestines and the colon, go into spasm. The muscles contract for no apparent reason, causing pain and diarrhea alternating with constipation. Other symptoms include a cramping pain in the abdomen, swelling, general malaise and lethargy, back pain, and often, excessive wind. Symptoms can subside and even disappear for long periods of time, but many sufferers continue to experience symptoms recurrently throughout their lives. It is a chronic, irritating, and uncomfortable condition, but it is not life-threatening and the symptoms can be reduced in many cases by proper treatment.

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.

The causes and triggers of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms vary greatly among individuals. Treatment plans vary as well. Some prescription medications and herbal remedies may be helpful over the short term, but dietary and lifestyle changes are typically necessary to keep the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome under control for extended periods of time.

Consult a qualified practitioner/therapist for: Counseling and Hypnotherapy Both have been shown to be very effective in reducing the symptoms. Hypnotherapy has a particularly good record.

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.

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Essential oils of peppermint or sassafras help relaxation and reduce painful spasms.

Acupuncture This can be beneficial in helping to relieve IBS. Read out for herbal medicines. Check out herbal supplements and skin disorders

Are you looking for information and advice about irritable bowel syndrome? Do you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome? Would you like to understand more about the causes of irritable bowel syndrome? If you have answered yes to any of the above questions then this article could well be of interest to you.

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.

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This may seem reassuring to people who suffer from this condition and to their friends and families but this does not mean everything, irritable bowel syndrome can be very uncomfortable and painful for those who have it. It can also be quite unpredictable as for many weeks the affects can be quite minimal but then people may have a short period of severe discomfort. This can be very stressful and worrying for people as it makes them wonder why it has suddenly become worse. Many negative thoughts can then go through our heads with our demons trying to make us believe that things are far worse than they actually are. In reality this period of severe pain is likely to pass within a few days but is unfortunately likely to return within a few weeks. As I said it can be an unpredictable and frustrating condition to have.

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

For more information visit: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment

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 exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are unknown, but patients can often determine what triggers the symptoms by keeping a foods and symptoms journal; noting what foods or beverages were consumed before the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome began. Products containing caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages may trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, though these products do not cause the condition. Food sensitivities often trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Some people are sensitive to wheat products; others are sensitive to milk products. And still others find that fructose, a simple sugar found in fruit and fruit juices triggers symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. This is why a food and symptoms diary is helpful. By avoiding certain foods, some people are able to keep the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome under control.

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.

 
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IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is basically a common gut disorder which is not one of the major health conditions to worry about. Therefore if you are told that you have irritable bowel syndrome do not panic, it is not life threatening and cannot result in cancer or serious intestinal disease.

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.

There are two basic types of irritable bowel syndrome. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea include abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating and frequent, loose or watery stools. To define frequent, you must look at what is normal for the individual. The number of bowel movements that a person has varies greatly. Some people have three movements per day, while others may have only three per week. A change in the frequency of bowel movements that is accompanied by abdominal pain often leads physicians to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome.

Treatment Diet and Nutrition Research shows that eating more fiber, in the form of oats, dried beans, peas, fresh fruit and vegetables, can greatly reduce the symptoms of IBS, but improvement may take months rather than weeks. Also, bear in mind that wheat bran, often prescribed as the standard treatment for IBS, can actually make the condition worse for some sufferers. Eat plenty of natural, unsweetened live yogurt or take daily supplements of Lactobacillus acidophilus to boost the levels of healthy bacteria in the digestive system.

Irritable bowel syndrome can affect both men and women, young and old but is mainly prevelant in young women. It is quite a common condition with around twenty-five percent of people likely to suffer from it at some point in their life.

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.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome: pain constipation diarrhoea abdominal bloating headaches bladder problems

Irritable bowel syndrome is thought to be caused from a combination of factors including stress, depression, hormonal factors, food allergies, overactivity in the gut and overactivity of nerves and muscles in the intestines.

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.

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.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation also include abdominal pain, discomfort and/or bloating, but the stools are hard or difficult to pass and movements are less frequent than what is normal for the individual. In a few cases, people with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms experience constipation at times and diarrhea at other times. Abdominal pain can be a symptom of a number of other medical conditions and should be evaluated by a physician. If a bowel movement relieves the pain, then the physician may determine that the abdominal pain is associated with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are more likely to show up in people between the ages of 13 and 40, than in those over 50. Women are more likely to have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome than are men. This may indicate that irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are related to monthly changes in hormonal levels, but this is not certain. It seems that many people who suffer from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome also are suffering from stress or other emotional difficulties and because of this stress management or behavior therapies are sometimes recommended. In addition, a recent study showed that hypnotic therapy was effective in controlling irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

Different food combinations can cause IBS symptoms in different individuals: keep a detailed record of everything you eat and drink, and of all bowel movements and their consistency.

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.

Orthodox medical treatment has been largely unsuccessful in the treatment of IBS. Antispasmodic drugs are often recommended but in many cases they are ineffective. The best way of controlling the condition is by reducing and learning to cope with stress, and by eating a diet that does not exacerbate the condition.

nausea If you are in any doubt or think that you may have irritable bowel syndrome you should book yourself an appointment with your doctor straight away. Never think that you may be wasting their time, this is important and you need them to confirm it to you one way or the other.

Massage, Relaxation Techniques (Including Yoga, Meditation, and Biofeedback) All these therapies are beneficial. Herbal Medicine A soothing tea of camomile, peppermint, and fennel is recommended. Herbalists may prescribe cramp bark, golden seal, wild yam, and licorice.

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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.


Nancy D. Pace

 
 
     
 
 





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