Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS) is characterized by a very wide range of symptoms due to which it gets difficult for a doctor to diagnose it. The symptoms might appear separately from time to time or an individual might suffer from more than one symptom at once. Moreover, it’s rare for two people suffering from IBS to have similar symptoms. There are even differences in how men and women suffer through it due to their obvious biological differences. The following list of symptoms and treatments for IBS can be used as a reference by an individual to check if most of the boxes are getting ticked or not.
MAJOR SYMPTOMS OF IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME(IBS)
A few of the most commonly visible IBS symptoms in people suffering from it are listed below:
- Unbearable pain and abdominal cramps
One of the proposed causes behind IBS is distortions of nerve signals sent from the brain to the large intestine to initiate coordinated movement. When this happens the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract undergo uncoordinated movement leading to the tensioning of the muscles. Therefore, pain is experienced in the gut.
The pain usually gets relieved after the passage of stools otherwise medicines are prescribed by the doctor to provide some relief to the excruciating pain associated with it.
Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms in the case of Irritable bowel syndrome. About 33% of people experience diarrhea as the predominant symptom of IBS. More often than not it is unmanageable due to the sudden acceleration in bowel transit through the intestinal tract. Therefore it also gives rise to undue stress as the individual fears getting into an uncomfortable social situation due to his bowel disorder. Besides this, a lot of water and mucus are expelled with the stools.
In the case of C ( C stands for constipation) type of IBS, the bowel transit slows down inside the excretory tract and therefore stools start absorbing greater amounts of water. There’s always a sensation of incomplete bowel movement even after complete expulsion. This can again lead to excessive straining of the tract.
- Alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
Constipation and diarrhea in the case of irritable bowel syndrome are probably based upon the brain’s signals to the gastrointestinal tract. This happens in the case of a more severe kind of IBS and the alteration makes it more intense.
- Gas and bloating
Alteration in digestion patterns gives rise to the formation of gas. The gas in turn results in bloating. This is accompanied by cramps when it comes to IBS symptoms in females.
- Intolerance towards certain foods
Some foods inherently trigger IBS and it can be managed by the amounts in which the foods are consumed. In case the reaction to the food is severe, it is best to avoid it.
- Exhaustion and sleep-related issues
Severe gastrointestinal disorders are closely connected to fatigue and lack of quality sleep. People with IBS often experience unrest due to an erratically behaving gut. The lack of sleep causes tiredness and the cycle continues.
- Depression and frequent anxiety attacks
There are two possible conclusions regarding the mental health issues associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Either IBS gives rise to anxiety and depression or a sad and anxious disposition is what lies at the heart of IBS. The cause is debatable but they are related in some way or the other.
OTHER RED FLAGS IN TERMS OF MINOR SYMPTOMS OF IBS
Some minor symptoms of IBS that appear frequently along with the aforementioned major symptoms:
- The symptoms start in adulthood i.e before turning 50
- Sudden loss in weight
- Frequent rectal bleeding
- Stress-induced fever
- Repeated bouts of vomiting and nausea
- Increased in the intensity of abdominal pain at night
- Recurring bouts of diarrhea
IBS symptoms in females or women are closely related to their menstruation cycles. Symptoms like diarrhea and severe abdominal pain are reported to occur before the menstrual cycle starts and bloating and constipation are usually experienced after the ovulation period.
Fewer men report suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome than women. Many experts believe it is because men are less likely to openly talk about a disorder related to their bowel system. Some people have been found to have waited for as long as ten years before looking for medical help for IBS just to avoid accepting it as a genuine medical issue they are dealing with. IBS symptoms in men are similar to those in women. Consequently, both suffer in more or less similar ways in their day-to-day lives.
TREATMENT OF IBS
There is no permanent cure for IBS. Treatment of IBS might include the following things:
- Following balanced and healthy diet plans
- Taking medications as prescribed by the doctor
- Undergoing therapies for relieving stress and anxiety associated with IBS
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing the multiple symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. They are unique to each suffering from it and therefore the doctor’s approach should be based on the factors applicable in the individual’s case only. He might consider several things like the duration of the symptoms experienced and the individual’s family history with IBS.
Fortunately, IBS is not a life-threatening condition and does no considerable damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore there are no chances of cancer. On the flip side, the adverse effects of IBS on one’s social life and mental health are undeniable.