Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder that affects the large intestine (colon).
Spastic colon is another term for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), The term “spastic” describes spasms of muscles in the small and large intestines. But this term spastic colon isn’t always accurate, because IBS may also be associated with decreased motility/movement of the intestine.
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are:
Abdominal pain or cramping
Diarrhea or constipation — sometimes in alternating bouts.
Mucus in the stool
For most people, IBS is a chronic condition. The symptoms might get better or worse or even disappear completely over time.
But there are symptoms that may indicate a more serious condition, such as:
Abdominal pain that progresses or occurs at night
Diarrhea and constipation can aggravate hemorrhoids. Also, when you avoid certain foods, you may not get enough of the nutrients your body needs.
IBS may negatively affect your quality of life, leading to discouragement or depression.
Because there are usually no physical signs to definitively diagnose IBS, your doctor will diagnose it by ruling out other conditions.
If you don’t respond to that treatment, you’ll likely require more tests. So, be ready for a lengthy process of diagnostic tests sometimes, like: Imaging tests:
and Laboratory tests:
Treatments and drugs
Because it’s not clear what causes irritable bowel syndrome, treatment focuses on the relief of symptoms so that you can live as normally as possible.
In most cases, you can successfully control mild problems of irritable bowel syndrome by learning to manage stress and making changes in your diet and lifestyle. If your problems are moderate or severe, you may need more than lifestyle changes. Your doctor may suggest medications.
Eliminating high-gas foods. items as carbonated beverages, vegetables — especially cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower — and raw fruits, should be avoided.
Eliminating gluten. Research shows that some people with IBS report improvement in diarrhea symptoms if they stop eating gluten (wheat, barley and rye).
Eliminating FODMAPs. Some people are sensitive to types of carbohydrates found in certain grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. You may be able to get relief from your IBS symptoms on a strict low FODMAP diet and then reintroduce foods one at time. Talk to your dietitian about it.
Anticholinergic and antispasmodic medications.
Lifestyle and home remedies
In many cases, simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome. Although your body may not respond immediately to these changes, your goal is to find long-term, not temporary, solutions:
1- Chew very well on your food. Take the time to chew your food into smaller and smaller pieces until it’s essentially a liquid before swallowing. The interaction that your saliva has with your food is very important for the digestion process. It will make
2- Experiment with fiber. Although it helps reduce constipation, it can also make gas and cramping worse.So, the best approach is to slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet over a period of weeks. Foods that contain fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.
3- Avoid problem foods. Keep a food diary, find out what upsets your colon, and eliminate it from your diet. If certain foods make your signs and symptoms worse, don’t eat them. These may include alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated beverages such as coffee and sodas, medications that contain caffeine, dairy products, red meat, and sugar-free sweeteners such as sorbitol or mannitol.
If gas is a problem for you, foods that might make symptoms worse include beans, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Fatty foods also may be a problem for some people. Chewing gum or drinking through a straw can lead to swallowing air, causing more gas.
Take care with dairy products. If you’re lactose intolerant, try substituting yogurt for milk. Or use an enzyme product to help break down lactose. Consuming small amounts of milk products or combining them with other foods also may help. In some cases, though, you may need to stop eating dairy foods completely. In this case, make sure to get enough protein, calcium and B vitamins from other sources.
Herbs. Fresh Peppermint and peppermint may provide short-term relief of IBS symptoms.
Probiotics. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that normally live in your intestines and are found in certain foods, such as yogurt, and in dietary supplements. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, you may not have enough good bacteria. Adding probiotics to your diet may help ease your symptoms.
Drink plenty of fluids every day. Water is best. Alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine stimulate your intestines and can make diarrhea worse, and carbonated drinks can produce gas. So, water and herba teas are your best options.
4- Eat at regular times. Don’t skip meals. If you have diarrhea, eating small, frequent meals makes you feel better. But if you’re constipated, eating larger amounts of high-fiber foods may help move food through your intestines.
5- Exercise regularly. Exercise helps relieve depression and stress, stimulates normal contractions of your intestines, and can help you feel better about yourself. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a medical problem.
6- Use anti-diarrheal medications and laxatives with caution. In the long run, these medications can cause problems if you don’t use them correctly. So, always check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medications, and read the patient information leaflet. You will find it packed with your medicine.
Always remember that a healthy lifestyle is the key factor to overcome IBS. All the best.