Every time when you visit your favorite eat out and have your favorite spicy pasta, you develop severe abdominal cramps with pain and bloating. This has been happening for quite some time. Thinking it to be a minor gastric problem, you ignore it. Don’t ignore it any further, as it may be one of the serious conditions of the digestive system called Irritable bowel syndrome.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an intestinal problem where the food moves in the intestines too quickly or slowly as the intestines compress the food during digestion with more or less force. It is more common in women and starts around 20 years of age. Irritable bowel syndrome is also called as irritable colon, spastic bowel and functional bowel syndrome.
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may differ from one person to another. A few irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are;
The symptoms may aggravate during stressful conditions like travelling, after having a big meal, unbalanced diet, and during menstrual periods in women.
In some people, their digestive system cannot digest lactose sugar in the milk and milk products. This is called lactose intolerance.
The irritable bowel syndrome symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome worsen in people who are lactose intolerant. It is advised to consult your doctor if you are a lactose intolerant person.
Most of the people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome for a long time without any treatment. It is always better to consult the doctor sooner for treatment as it will avoid aggravating the problem.
The doctor conducts a complete medical examination and takes note of all the symptoms. There is no specific diagnostic test for Irritable Bowel syndrome; however the doctor may recommend blood tests, X rays and testing of a sample of stools to rule out any other medical condition.
The doctor may conduct Colonoscopy to see if there is any problem like abnormal growth, ulcers, inflamed tissue, and polyps in the colon. In this procedure, a tube with a camera at its end is passed through the anus into the colon. The image in the camera is displayed on a screen for the doctor to see. The doctor diagnoses Irritable bowel syndrome on the basis of the symptoms, and test results.
The doctor studies your symptoms thoroughly and then recommends the treatment. For symptom like diarrhea, the doctor will recommend medication like lomotil or loperamaide tablet.
If you are having constipation problem, then the doctor may advise that you take a fiber rich diet, and may put you on laxatives.
To reduce abdominal pain and cramps, an anti spasmodic is prescribed. To relax the muscles in the bladder and colon, doctors prescribe medications like Donnapine and librax.
For women with severe Irritable bowel syndrome medication called Lotronex is given with certain restrictions. All the medications should be taken only after consulting the doctor, otherwise it may lead to serious complications.
A combination of diet, medication, support, and counseling will help to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Fiber in diet helps in proper bowel movements. If you are suffering from constipation, then taking diet rich in insoluble fiber is recommended.
Foods like wheat bran, whole wheat bread, and vegetables are insoluble fibers that help in the movement of food through the intestine, and give bulk to the stool.
Foods like citrus fruits, apples, beans, vegetable fiber psyllium are examples of soluble fiber foods that form a gel like substance when dissolved in water that helps in constipation as well as diarrhea.
Fiber should be introduced in your diet slowly as sudden intake can cause bloating and gas formation in the abdomen. Gradually the digestive system gets used to fiber food and subsequently bloating and gas formation decreases.
Certain foods like caffeine, fat, chocolate, alcohol, beans, cabbage and some fruits aggravate the symptoms of Irritable Bowel syndrome.
Caffeine and fat contract the intestine causing cramps in the abdomen.
By eating beans, cabbage, and certain fruits, gas formation occurs.
Drinking carbonated drinks, eating too quickly, and chewing gum also can cause gas formation in the abdomen due to swallowing of air.
It is better to keep an account of the foods that are causing discomfort, and then slowly decreasing their intake.
It has been observed that during stressful situations the symptoms, of irritable bowel syndrome worsen. The nerves of the colon are connected to the brain and they contract as a response to stress like anger and anxiety. These contractions of colon cause abdominal pain. You should talk to your doctor regarding methods to reduce your stress.
You can practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, exercise, hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, meditation, yoga and massage to lower your stress. You can also take an appointment with a counselor to discuss your problems.
You can control Irritable bowel syndrome by eating a healthy diet, avoiding fatty foods, eating 6 small meals rather than 3 large ones, drinking six to eight glasses of water, avoiding excess use of laxative and managing stress through relaxation techniques. This is the treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.