Irritable Bowel Syndrome
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition of the large intestine that causes uncomfortable symptoms. Most cases of IBS are minor and unlike gastrointestinal disease such as Crohn’s Disease or Colitis, doesn’t lead to any serious conditions such as colorectal cancer. A very small amount of people with IBS have severe symptoms.
Symptoms of IBS include:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal pain and/or cramps
- Feeling bloated
- Rapid change in bowel habits
- Food Intolerance
These symptoms need to occur over a long period of time in order to be diagnosed with IBS. It’s also important to know that these symptoms can occur without having IBS, or can be caused by other GI conditions.
There’s no central root to why IBS occurs. However, the physical cause of IBS is when the muscle lining in your intestines that’s used to rhythmically contract and relax to push food through them is not working properly. This means that the contractions may last longer/shorter or tighter/weaker than they should be, leading to the many uncomfortable symptoms.
The following stimuli may cause IBS in some people, although it varies from person to person:
Food allergies/intolerance – Make sure you know which foods cause your IBS symptoms, keep track of when symptoms occur and make a list
Other illnesses – GI infections such as gastroenteritis can cause IBS as well as other GI diseases
Psychological factors – Stress, depression and anxiety can all cause IBS
Hormonal imbalance – Improper levels of reproductive hormones, neurotransmitters and estrogen can lead to IBS
Anyone can develop IBS, but certain factors seem to make people more likely to develop it, such as:
Age – IBS occurs more in younger people, usually between teenage years until their 40’s
Gender – Women are twice as likely to develop IBS than men
Mental health disorder – Since IBS can be psychological, people emotionally unstable are more likely to develop it
Family history – Just like with any ailment, a family history of IBS can mean you’re more likely to have it as well
IBS Treatment in Chicago, IL
Most cases of IBS can be helped with the following treatments:
Changing diets – Eliminating gluten, high gas foods (soda, certain vegetables) as well as cutting out some carbohydrates like fructose and lactose (FODMAPs). This is also why it’s important to keep track of what foods cause IBS for you.
Medication – Some medications can calm IBS symptoms such as:
- Anti-diarrheal (Imodium)
- Fiber supplements (Metamucil)
- Antidepressants. Depending on if you have depression or not, your physician pay prescribe different types of antidepressants
- Antispasmodic (Levsin)
- IBS-specific medication (Lotronex, Amitiza)
- Antibiotics if the IBA is caused from infection
If you have IBS, your physician will most likely prescribe you a medication. If you have further questions about IBS, call GI Solutions of Illinois at (773) 631-2728 to schedule an appointment.