Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS, is a disease that is characterized by symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation. There is no known cause of it (like many ailments today), but it seems to have many theories behind what causes the symptoms or aggravates it.
Some Theories as to What Causes IBS.
IBS is not something that they have a clear picture as to where it comes from. There are some ideas out there as to how flare ups are triggered. Many of the people, nearly 70 percent, are women and it’s theorized that hormonal changes could be one of the triggers. Also when it comes to stress, those that suffer from IBS are thought that their immune system reacts differently than ‘normal’ immune systems. Another is the effect of serotonin, too little in the gut causes IBS with constipation, and too much causes IBS with diarrhea.
They are however very certain as to certain things that are certain to not be the cause of IBS. It is not something that has to do with a structural problem, it’s not technically considered a physical disorder, itdoes not cause other issues within the digestive system, and it is not cancer.
In order for them to determine if you are suffering from IBS you must meet certain criteria, If you have symptoms (changes in bowel movements, excess gas and/or bloating, abdominal pain, and/or mucus in the stool) and these symptoms have been consistent for the last 6 months minimum, had abdominal pain at least 3 days per month for the last three months, and you meet two of the following: pain is relieved by having a bowel movement; pain is consistent with changes in frequency of bowel movements; and/or pain is connected to a change in appearance or consistency of stool.
Is IBS Treatable?
IBS is not curable, but treatments are something that will vary from person to person, on a case by case basis. In order to treat them, first the doctor will need to know what causes them. So keeping a journal is usually the first step. Noting everything you are eating and any stressors through the day will help them to determine the root cause for you. Once you figure out the cause, you can work on a treatment plan.
Some of the ideas are that you should limit the foods that cause the symptoms. Generally, if you have kept a diary you will be able to clearly see it in black and white. Also some of the other treatments are to limit caffeine and alcohol, limit fatty foods, and avoid foods that cause excess gas such as beans, cabbage, raw cauliflower and broccoli.
If you have IBS-D (diarrhea) then limiting dairy, fruit, and artificial sweeteners has been known to help and also take medications that can help prevent it or reduce the symptoms. If you have IBS-C (constipation) increasing fiber intake and potentially taking a fiber supplement may also help.
Some of the other treatment plans include increased exercise, quitting smoking (if you smoke) and reducing stress. If it is stress related or something that happens when your emotions change if you are dealing with depression or anxiety, seeing a doctor and getting medications to moderate that could also help.
As stated, IBS is not curable, because really they have no idea what the initial cause of someone getting this is, so managing the symptoms is key. Being truly in tune with ones body is important to creating a treatment plan that will be beneficial, and being honest about what you are eating and doing and feeling is going to be the basis for a well thought out treatment plan.