Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS) – Symptoms and Causes

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome abbreviated as IBS is a common health disorder that is associated with the large intestines (colon).

What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

The signs or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can vary from one person to another. Some of the common signs include:

•    Abdominal pain/ cramping
•    Mucus present in stool
•    Nausea
•    Diarrhoea or constipation
•    Gas

What causes irritable bowel syndrome?

The causes of irritable bowel syndrome are still unknown, but some factors play a role. Triggers may also vary from person to person. Common triggers include:
•    Stress – Everyone gets stressed now and then. Like when you have to sit for an exam or first week on a new job. Although stress does not cause the symptoms, it may trigger or worsen them.
•    Hormones – Because women are most likely to have IBS, this is because research shows that hormonal changes constitute to this condition. Most women who have Irritable bowel syndrome find that signs and symptoms worsen during their menstrual periods.
•    Foods – It is important to take note that no specific foods are linked to IBS, but it is believed that impaired absorption of sugar lactose is the most common trigger of IBS among people. Other foods implicated are Spices, Chocolate, Fats, beans, cabbage and carbonated beverages’ just to name a few. Foods that trigger IBS may vary, so it is important to note down what you eat through a food diary to help you point out which foods are a problem for you.

Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome

The causes of IBS are still unknown and the medication served is meant to relief you of the symptoms so that one can live a healthy and normal life as possible.
1.    Fibre supplements.
According to WebMD research into the role, fiber supplements play in treating irritable bowel syndrome is conflicting. While some researches find no benefit in fibre, a few find that added fibre to the diet causes bloating and gas, and a handful reporting that soluble fibre help IBS patients with constipation and diarrhoea. It also continues to say that a recent study found psyllium, a soluble fibre, provided significant pain relief for IBS patients with constipation and diarrhoea.
2.    Anti-diarrheal medications
If you have diarrhoea as one of your symptoms, then drugs like loperamide (Imodium) that slows can be of help. Other people may benefit from medications called bile acid binders, such as colestipol (Colestid), colesevelam and cholestyramine.
3.    Antidepressants and Antispasmodics
Antidepressants should be used with caution in people with glaucoma. They can also worsen constipation and lead to other symptoms, such as difficulty urinating. Antispasmodics may also be useful if cramping is a major problem.
4.    Antibiotics & Probiotics
According to Mayo Clinic ‘, people whose symptoms are due to an overgrowth of bacteria in their intestines may benefit from antibiotic treatment’. Certain probiotics may help you cope with IBS symptoms. The best-known probiotic is the type found in yoghurt (Active cultures).

Herbal Supplements for IBS
  1. Peppermint oil is beneficial for if you have gas and bloating symptoms.  This is because it helps relax the muscles in the intestines, thus reducing muscle spasms that also contribute to abdominal pain.
  2. Slippery Elm is thought to calm irritation by coating the intestinal walls. It also helps in softening of the stool, thus easing constipation.
  3. Chamomile mostly used to treat inflammation, muscles spasms, ulcers, gastrointestinal disorders and haemorrhiods.


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