Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known for short with its acronym ‘IBS’, it’s a fairly common disorder, which affects around 15% of the population in the western world.
Approximately 50% of patients, who visit the gastroenterologist each уеаr, suffer of this condition, most people are not even aware they have it.
What is IBS?
IBS is a functional disorder of the intestines which causes раіn аnd dіѕсоmfоrt; the symptoms it produces are mainly due to changes in normal bоwеl habit.
The good news is that unlike other gastrointestinal tract disease, there is no damage caused to the intestines; it іѕ nоt a рrоgrеѕѕіvе соndіtіоn and fortunately it is not life thrеаtеnіng, tо those who suffer from it.
The main symptoms are abdominal pain, discomfort, cramping and bloating as well as constipations, diarrhea or a combination of the two; feeling of incomplete defecation and the passing of mucus with the stools.
Some sufferers experience these symptoms even several times per week others only a few times per month.
Although some people live with the above symptoms which come and go, others have to deal with much severe daily bowel problems, which in some cases can affect their work, sleep and their ability to enjoy life.
IBS іѕ ѕоmеthіng thаt most people find embarrassing discussing or even admitting of suffering, but if уоu recognize that you have the above symptoms on a recurring basis, it would be appropriate to tаlk tо your doctor.
There is no specific laboratory or clinical test to be done to diagnose this disease. The medical history, physical examination and some of the common investigations will help doctors to state the diagnosis. These tests will help them to differentiate irritable bowel syndrome from other digestive tract problems, such as malabsorption syndrome, colitis, enteritis, malignancies and others, which can be more severe and dangerous.
Doctors usually investigate the person’s medical history, as well as examining and testing the abdomen to determine if internal organs are larger than normal.
To rule out the existence of more severe diseases, which can cause similar symptoms, the doctor may carry out these types of tests:
- Blood tests.
- Stool sample, to check for blood or evidence of infection.
- Sigmoidoscopy, in which a flexible, lighted tube with a tiny camera at the end is inserted into the rectum and up the left side of the colon.
- Colonoscopy, in which a longer tube is used to examine the entire colon.
Natural Treatments Are Effective
While there is no cure for IBS, most people can improve and manage those nasty symptoms by making some changes to their lifestyle, like exercising, meditate, reducing stress and especially a change to their diet.
Recent studies have proven that IBS symptoms can be significantly reduced by following a low-FODMAP diet plan, which has been developed at the Monash Universtity (Melbourne – Australia) by Sue Shepherd and Peter Gibson.
FODMAP is the acronym of:
- Monosaccharides and
Researchers have found that food that highly contain the above short chain carbohydrates, should be avoided, in order to lessen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Incorrectly some people believe that only fatty food, junk food, fried food and alcohol affect IBS, but that is not the case, as some of normally very healthy food are high in FODMAPs. In fact there is a long list of grains (wheat, barley etc.) fruits (avocado, peaches, cherries, watermelon etc.) and vegetables (onion, garlic, cauliflower, leeks, corn etc.) that need to be avoided by IBS sufferers.