What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a highly prevalent intestinal disorder that can cause abdominal pain, abnormal and erratic bowel movements, and other symptoms. Although IBS symptoms may not be constant, they are persistent and require long-term management. IBS is not life-threatening, and in many patients, IBS is a minor annoyance, but in others, it significantly reduces the quality of life.

Two out of every three IBS patients are female. Although IBS can strike at any age, it is most common before age 50, and often develops in the second and third decade of life.

What are the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome experience abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, or constipation. Though we all are likely to experience symptoms like this at one time or another, those with IBS have symptoms that occur over the long term and come and go over time. The symptoms may also feel much more severe in people with IBS.

How Does IBS Affect My Body?

Although IBS can be painful, it does not cause lasting harm to your intestines or predispose you to serious diseases like cancer. However, this condition can sometimes result in a number of non-intestinal “extra-intestinal symptoms”, including:

.Headaches

.Fatigue

.Back pain

.Pain and clicking in the jaw

.Dry mouth or dry eyes

.Chronic pelvic pain

.Decreased sexual drive

.Painful sexual intercourse

.Bladder spasms

.Urinary urgency

In addition, depending on its severity, IBS can significantly impact sufferers’ day-to-day lives, putting them at higher risk of developing mental health conditions such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, and depression. Emotional distress, in turn, affects bowel habits and may worsen IBS symptoms.

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Although there are numerous theories, the exact cause or causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unknown. As your body absorbs nutrients and fluids, the muscles in your large intestine move food along. When you have IBS, your muscles may not work properly, flushing food too quickly or stagnating with food stuck there. This dysfunction causes the symptoms described above.

Although not everyone is affected in the same way, women are more likely than men to report the condition. Certain foods, such as dairy, chocolate, and even fruits and vegetables, can cause IBS symptoms. Artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages might also be triggers. Medicine, such as antibiotics, can contribute to it as well. Stress, hormones, and genetics also can play a role in the onset of IBS. Unhealthy food habits, sedentary lifestyles, medications, and other factors can be triggers.

Furthermore, IBS frequently occurs as a result of gastrointestinal diseases, a microbiome imbalance, or conditions such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which could be a trigger or a confounding factor. Our Manhattan Gastroenterology experts believe that some people’s bowels are simply more sensitive than others. However, in order to make an accurate diagnosis, we must rule out many other causes.

The exact reason for IBS development remains unclear but based on a study published recently on PubMed, our nervous and gastrointestinal systems are more connected to it than we realize. Our subconscious mind has a strong influence on the muscles of the small intestine. When we are stressed, our intestine responds by spasming. Doctors suggest that leading a healthy lifestyle with adequate physical activity and a healthy diet will always be beneficial.

How does the gastroenterologist diagnose IBS?

There is no specific test for IBS. Rather, we establish the diagnosis based on your clinical history and physical exam, and by excluding disorders that may mimic IBS, such as intestinal infection, celiac disease, or lactose intolerance. Typically, we also will do blood and stool tests and may request imaging studies (e.g. CT or MRI) and endoscopic studies (e.g. colonoscopy or esophagogastroduodenoscopy).

What Are the Different Types of IBS?

Doctors often classify IBS into one of four types based on your usual stool consistency. These types are important because they affect the types of treatment that are most likely to improve your symptoms.

The four types of IBS are: (criteria and categorizations can change over time)

 

IBS with constipation, or IBS-C

.Hard or lumpy stools less than 25 percent of the time

IBS with diarrhea, or IBS-D

.Loose or watery stools less than 25 percent of the time

Mixed IBS, or IBS-M

. You have both hard and lumpy bowel movements and loose and watery movements on the same day.

Unsubtyped IBS or IBS-U

. Increased or decreased stools at onset of pain

. A never empty sensation after passing stools

. Passing mucous from the rectum

. Morning cluster of motions

IBS has recurrent abdominal pain plus two or more of:

. Pain from defecation

. Altered stools at the onset of pain

. Abdominal bloating

Risk Factors for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The exact reason why some people experience IBS and its symptoms isn’t fully understood. However, the more of the following risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop this condition:

. Being under the age of 50

. Being female

. Consuming certain foods

. Experiencing hormonal imbalance

. Having a family history of IBS

. Being under severe stress

. Having a mental health illness

Women are more likely to be affected by IBS and may have more symptoms during their menstrual periods.

How can Irritable Bowel Syndrome be treated?

Although IBS cannot be “cured,” in most cases we can significantly lighten your symptoms. Successful treatment may require diligent detective work, careful observation of symptoms patterns, and trial and error.

Often, we will work in partnership with an allied health professional, such as a dietician, psychologist, or physical therapist. Typically, the most effective approach is multi-pronged — involving diet, lifestyle, and medication treatment.

We individualize IBS treatment based on your symptoms, lifestyle, and needs. Your doctor may start by recommending lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet, or giving up cigarettes.

At Aayushman clinic, Dr.Krishna Mohan and his team specialize in diagnosing and treating digestive health problems. Their years of knowledge and expertise ensure all of their patients receive the best, most comprehensive care.

Preventing Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There are several self-care preventive measures you can try to reduce your risk of IBS or to increase the time between flare-up episodes, such as:

 

  • Healthy IBS diet – The first line of defense is to avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and many processed foods. Gluten sensitivity can cause inflammation in your body’s organs and soft tissue, exacerbating your IBS symptoms. Reducing your consumption of lactose (found in milk and other soft dairy products), fructose (found in fruits and honey), carbohydrates, and sugar substitutes is also a good way to avoid experiencing IBS symptoms. Consider aiming for a fiber intake that works for you, drink plenty of fluids, and eat at the same time each day.
  • Regular exercise – Increased physical activity can help improve current IBS symptoms and prevent the emergence of new manifestations. Furthermore, exercise can help improve your overall quality of life and symptoms associated with gastrointestinal disorders, such as depression and fatigue.
  • Stress reduction – According to the recent research published on PubMed, mindfulness-based stress reduction has proven to be highly effective in improving gastrointestinal symptoms and associated problems in IBS patients.

Because IBS is a multifactorial condition with no clear cause, there is no single self-care technique we can point out as a preventive measure. However, you can make strides to avoid IBS symptoms by incorporating a healthy diet, reducing stress, and improving your current fitness level

When Should You See a Healthcare Provider?

While many learn to live with IBS, seeking additional medical attention is crucial if:

  • You experience sudden or extreme changes in IBS symptoms
  • Medications and diet changes fail to provide results
  • You must avoid a wide variety of foods to control your symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome has a negative impact on both your health and overall quality of life. Ignoring this condition or failing to seek treatment can lead to serious gastrointestinal complications.

What to Eat When You Have Ibs?

The digestive system is typically an excellent and well-functioning mechanism. However, when something goes wrong, the entire system suffers. A well-planned and well-matched nutrition and diet can help ease or eliminate symptoms.

Different diets may help different people with IBS. New York specialists suggest changing your diet for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve. Or it could take a little longer. The main goal, however, is to achieve balance and improve your eating habits.

Aayushman clinic Gastroenterology centre IBS specialists recommend the following dietary changes to help treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms:

  • eat more fiber

 

  • avoid gluten
  • follow a low FODMAP diet

Nutritional therapy must be highly personalized, so consult with your gastroenterologist. Among the possibilities are the following:

Avoid gluten

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten-containing foods include most cereals, grains, pasta, and many processed foods. Specialists observed that some people with IBS have more symptoms after eating gluten, even though they do not have celiac disease.

Low FODMAP diet

There is a diet known as the low FODMAP diet. Some foods contain difficult-to-digest carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are referred to as FODMAPs. Apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, mango, nectarines, pears, plums, watermelon, and juice containing any of these fruits are examples. Artichokes, asparagus, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic and garlic salts, lentils, mushrooms, onions, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are examples of vegetables. Milk, milk products, soft cheeses, yogurt, custard, and ice cream are examples of dairy products. Honey and foods containing high-fructose corn syrup are also good examples.

We suggest trying the low FODMAP diet for a few weeks at our IBS treatment center to see if it helps with your symptoms. If your symptoms improve, our specialist may recommend you gradually reintroduce FODMAP-containing foods into your diet. You may be able to eat some FODMAP-containing foods without experiencing IBS symptoms. Nutritional therapy must be highly personalized, so consult with your gastroenterologist.

Complications of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The severity of IBS symptoms can lead to both physical and mental health complications, ultimately resulting in increased absences from school and work, limitations in social functioning, and the need to make lifestyle modifications.

Physical health complications that may result from IBS include:

  • Anal fissures

 

  • Hemorrhoids

 

  • Fecal impaction

 

  • Rectal prolapse

 

  • Malnourishment

Mental health complications that can develop due to IBS include:

  • Depression

 

  • Generalized and social anxiety

 

  • Agoraphobia

 

While not life-threatening, IBS is physically debilitating, unpredictable, and often a long-lasting problem that changes the way you live your life. That’s why you should consult an experienced gastroenterologist to receive proper care and learn how to keep your symptoms at bay.

Important Reminder:

The information provided above is meant to be used as an informative guide for patients. For precise and individualized recommendations, please consult with one of our board certified gastroenterologists to discuss your symptoms.

For additional information or to book an appointment at the Aayushman clinic Gastroenterology Center, please feel free to reach out to our dedicated team by calling us at 8860291508. You can also schedule online or reach out to us via the Contact Us form.

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