Managing IBS

The Facts on IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, is a bowel disorder which primarily effects the gastrointestinal tract. Characteristics and symptoms of this disorder include mild to severe abdominal pain, bloating, cramps, excess gas, changes in bowel habits, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS generally begins after a stressful life event or major infection. Pain disorders and psychological conditions are more common in those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.

Diagnosing IBS

There is no specific test that is used to diagnose IBS. It is generally diagnosed on its symptoms. Since the symptoms of IBS can be caused by many different diseases, doctors follow a procedure to categorize the patient’s symptoms. This criteria eliminates other diseases or may red flag symptoms that indicate it is another problem. Irritable bowel syndrome often accompanies several other medical conditions. These include fibromyalgia, depression, endometriosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and abdominal surgery.

Treating IBS

There is no cure for IBS, but IBS can be treated to relieve symptoms. Treatments include dietary adjustments, psychological help, and medication. Changes in diet is the most effective treatment for IBS. There are a number of dietary changes that can be made to lessen the pain, discomfort, and bowel dyfunction. Removing milk products from one’s diet, minimizing the consumption of red meat and fatty or fried products, and increasing the amount of soluble fiber foods all can help. Also, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and carbonated beverages should be avoided.

Medications that can be used include laxatives, antispamodics, and drugs affecting serotonin in the intestines. Sufferers of IBS can also try psychotherapy injunction with antidepressants. Hypnotherapy has also shown some success in the treatment of IBS. Alternative treatments are also available. Probiotics, which are generally accepted to be beneficial strains of bacteria and yeast, can help normalize bowel movements. There is also evidence that acupuncture can help ease symptoms.

If you have symptoms of IBS, see you doctor as soon as possible to get a proper diagnosis. IBS is a manageable condition and you can live a normally, happy life again.