Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is an irritable bowel syndrome (“spastic colon”)?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional bowel disease, which can be quite disabling. It has been suggested that hormones are a main factor in the cause of this syndrome. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome experience higher stimulation of the smooth muscles that make up the bowel wall.

Who is affected by irritable bowel syndrome?

Generally speaking, irritable bowel syndrome occurs first in the teens or early twenties, but then tends to become chronic. It is much more common among women. Theories link female hormones cheap nfl jerseys with the development of the syndrome while testosterone is associated with a calming effect on the intestinal region.

What are the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

A patient will complain of abdominal bloating, swelling, and pain that is relieved by bowel movements. After a bowel movement there is often a feeling that the rectum was not cleaned out entirely, even though it was. There is often mucous in the stools. These symptoms are brought on by food intake or by stress and they always occur during the waking period. At night most patients have no pain or sleep disturbance. If there is a different pattern, then further investigations should be done to rule out an obscure infectious process, celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.

There are two types of irritable bowel syndrome, each with their own additional signs and symptoms.

Diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome causes patients to have an abnormal bowel pattern with a tendency of overstimulation where diarrhea is a major symptom. Patients may experience diarrhea alongside pain when getting up in the morning or immediately after a meal. Bloating and rectal urgency are also very common. If there is no pain associated with the diarrhea, the physician should look for alternative causes of this symptom such as celiac disease, Crohns disease and others.

Constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome causes a bowel pattern with a tendency of “sluggishness”. Bowel habits fluctuate between periods with constipation and a normal pattern. There is a tendency to have pains in one area of the colon (large bowel). Eating often triggers pains oakley womens sunglasses in that area, which can be of a continuous dull nature or be more colicky. A bowel movement will often lead to relief of the symptoms. The stools usually contain white or clear mucous. The patient complains of bloating, nausea, gas pains jordans for cheap and difficulties to digest food.

How is irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed?

There are various questionnaires available to establish whether or not a specific bowel pattern will qualify for the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.

The physician performs a thorough examination and possibly a few tests to rule out other causes of similar symptoms. The history establishes when the symptoms started and will include questions around the symptoms discussed above. There will also be a discussion of emotional and personal problems that may trigger the condition. The physician may decide to see the patient on several occasions, perform some minor investigations, and reexamine the patient on different days rather than making a diagnosis during the first visit. This allows the physician to fill in the gaps that may not have been first apparent.

The physician may also use:

  • a rectal examination (for both sexes);
  • a pelvic examination (in women);
  • a proctosigmoidoscopy – a test where an instrument is used to inspect the rectum and the sigmoid colon; and
  • a colonoscopy – used to rule out other diseases in the colon and rectum.

How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?

When all the tests are complete and the physician has confidently diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome, it is important that they takes time to explain the diagnosis in detail. It is also important for the physician to hear the patient’s concerns and discuss them. This interaction and mutual respect will be the foundation for an ongoing therapeutic relationship. The purpose of the therapy is to give the patient relief of the symptoms. Counseling or hypnotherapy may be useful if stress is a large component of a patient’s symptoms.

Additional treatment depends on the type of irritable bowel syndrome that is present.

Constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome requires high fiber diet with a recommended 12 grams of fiber per day. Tegaserod, a drug that helps decrease the bowel transit cheap football jerseys china time in the colon, may be used alongside the high fiber diet.

Diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome is treated with a normal dietary intake. The hyperactivity of the bowel can be toned down through the use of ondansetron (brand name: Zofran) or granisetron (bran name: Kytril). These will also suppress vomiting and help against pain and diarrhea. Loperamide (brand name: Imodium, Loperacap) can be used just before a meal to help with diarrhea, but long-term use of this is not recommended as tolerance to this medication can develop. Antidepressants in doses much lower than normally used for depression will help to alleviate the emotional component of irritable bowel syndrome.

IceWave patches from Lifewave are an FDA-approved non-drug method available, which will control pain, but would only be suitable for chronic cases where surgery is not needed.

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