What is IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an intestinal disorder characterized by stomach ache, gas, diarrhea and constipation. It is also known as IBS colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, nervous colon and spastic bowel. It is the most common disease that gastroenterologists diagnose with about 10-15% of the adult population having IBS.
Though what causes IBS is unclear, it is believed that microbial factors play a key role in triggering it. It has been often seen that IBS is preceded by food poisoning in most of the cases. Therefore, researchers believe that microbes involved in infectious gastroenteritis may have an impact on the immune system that leads to long-term changes in the gut. Other factors that lead to IBS include: problems with contraction of the GI muscles and how food moves through them; extra sensitive nerves in the GI tract; miscommunication between nerves in the brain and gut; hormonal imbalance etc.
Mostly, people aged 50 or younger are likely to develop IBS. People with a family history of IBS are the other cohort which are at a higher risk of developing it. Additionally, persons with a history of anxiety, depression or other mental issues, are vulnerable to develop IBS.
Types of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Depending upon the state of stools and abnormality of the bowel movements, IBS is categorized into 3 types:
- IBS-C i.e., IBS with constipation: In this, more than a quarter of the stools are hard or lumpy and less than a quarter of stools may be loose or watery
- IBS-D i.e., IBS with diarrhea: In this, more than a quarter of the stools are loose or watery and less than a quarter of the stools are hard or lumpy.
- IBS-M i.e., IBS with mixed bowel habits: In this, more than a quarter of the stools are hard or lumpy and the other quarter of the stools are loose or watery.
Signs & Symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Though the main cause behind the development of the irritable bowel syndrome is not clear, there are multiple signs and symptoms which can easily indicate the presence of the disease. These include:
- Stomach cramps & pain which usually reduce after passing of the stools
- Repeatedly using the toilet
- Bloating & swelling in stomach
- Formation & passing of excess gas
- Feeling of fullness of the stomach or bowels even after passing the stools
- passing of mucus from rectum
- changes in the pattern of bowel movements
Sometimes consumption of certain food items or fruits & vegetables may trigger the symptoms or worsen the current situation, causing diarrhea or constipation. These include beans, celery, onions, carrots, raisins, bananas, apricots, prunes, brussels sprouts, pretzels, bagels, dairy products, sugar free gum, some candies and caffeinated products.
Some people might experience additional symptoms depending on their health or prior medical history. These symptoms include:
3) Constant sickness
4) Loss of bladder control or incontinence
5) Frequent urination
6) Halitosis (bad breath)
7) Headache and/or joint or muscle pain
8) Painful sex (dyspareunia) & irregular menses in women
Sometimes, anxiety and depression may also occur due to the persistent illness, discomfort and embarrassment which may accompany the condition.
Moreover, when the condition becomes more serious, the following signs & symptoms may be seen:
- Weight loss
- Rectal bleeding
- Iron deficiency (anemia)
- Unexplained vomiting
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Persistent pain
Since irritable bowel syndrome can become fatal and deadly at later stages, its early diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. Therefore, one should immediately take a doctor’s advice if any of the early-stage symptoms or complications are noticed. In Delhi NCR, among a number of experienced and renowned gastroenterologists available for consultation, doctors at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad are the best. Visit them today for consultation or book appointment online.
Diagnosis of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
A gastroenterologist will confirm the presence of IBS by examining the symptoms and medical history of the patient. S/he might ask questions related to:
- Painful bowel movements
- Frequency of bowel movements
- Change in appearance of stools
- Presence of IBS-related symptoms
- Any medication
- Any recent sickness or stress
However, some other tests such as blood test, stool test and X-ray may be done to find the root cause or exact nature of the disease.
Treatment of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Since there is no specific cure for IBS, doctors provide personalised treatments according to the needs and condition of individual patients. Moreover, making lifestyle and dietary changes can do wonders for IBS patients. Some advisable dietary and activity changes include:
- Take a fibre-rich diet
- Add a supplemental diet to your existing diet, such as Metamucil or Citrucel
- Intake plenty of fruits
- Avoid caffeinated products
- Limit the use of dairy products such as cheese & milk (lactose intolerance is common in people with IBS)
- Exercise everyday
- Quit smoking habits
- Do yoga & meditation
- Intake probiotics i.e., the ‘good bacteria’ which can help improve symptoms
Although the above measures provide relief and improvement in IBS to a large extent, appointment with doctor on a regular basis is required for containing the disease. Senior and experienced gastroenterologists should be consulted for getting effective and right treatment for the condition. Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad offers treatment for patients suffering from gastro-intestinal, liver, pancreatic and biliary disorders. The best gastroenterologists in Delhi NCR available at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre are as follows:
Dr. Manish Kumar Gupta – Considered as one of the leading gastroenterologists in Delhi NCR, he is recognized for his work in chronic liver disease, pancreatitis, and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). He is also an expert in diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy, ERCP, EUS, and capsule endoscopy.
Dr. Sushrut Singh – A consultant in the department of gastroenterology and hepatology, Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, he is one of the best gastroenterologists in Delhi NCR. An advanced endoscopist and expert in endoscopic gastric balloon placement for obesity, he is known for performing various gastric and liver-related procedures with great precision.