Irritable Bowel Syndrome Abdominal Pain: What it Means

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What is IBS?

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a common digestive disorder and is by far the most common illness diagnosed by gastroenterologists in the UK and the USA, accounting for approximately 65% of all cases referred from a GP.

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What Causes IBS?

IBS is a functional disorder. A functional disorder means that there is a problem with a certain part of the body. For example, depression is also considered a functional disorder. When an otherwise healthy part of the body is displaying symptoms and is otherwise free of injury or infection, it is classified as a functional disorder. So focusing on IBS, this means that the gut, most often the colon (large intestine), if examined would appear normal and healthy (it is normal and healthy), as there is no disease present. The symptoms IBS patients experience are caused purely by the gut not functioning effectively. The gut is out of sync if you will.

There are many IBS symptoms (irritable bowel syndrome abdominal pain) that can cause discomfort. They may be triggered by certain factors, whether they are dietary or emotional. Some conditions can mimic this disorder. Because of this, it’s important to visit your doctor for an examination. Taking the time to learn what triggers the condition is the best way to treat IBS abdominal pain.

IBS Symptoms

  • You may be experiencing several symptoms that could be caused by IBS. Abdominal pain that occurs for twelve weeks during a full year, which may or may not be consecutive, may be an indicator that you have this disorder. A classic sign of this condition is when you feel better after you have a bowel movement. Your stools may change in appearance, and you may notice that the frequency of your movements might have changed.
  • Alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation may occur. Stools may differ in size and consistency, becoming loose and watery or hard and small. Sometimes, you may experience an urgent need to have a bowel movement or feel that you have not completely finished having one. Mucus may be present in your stool. Your stomach may grow distended because of the trapped gas in your colon.

IBS Triggers

  • There are certain factors that may worsen the symptoms. Eating large meals may bring on an attack, especially if it’s rich or contains several spices that are known as irritants.
  • Alcohol, milk products, chocolate, and caffeine have been associated with flare-ups. If you are having problems, you may try avoiding these items to see whether there is an improvement in your condition.
  • Also, bread or baked goods that contain wheat, rye, and barley may also cause problems. Stress is also a major factor because it can cause depression and anxiety, which can affect what you eat and how often. Women who are menstruating may suffer from about anytime before, during, or after their cycle occurs because of the hormonal changes that occur in their bodies.

Conditions Similar to IBS

There are other medical conditions that may imitate IBS. These can include inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance, endometriosis, celiac disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pancreatic problems, diverticulitis, tumors, and thyroid disorders. Using artificial sweeteners and abusing laxatives or antacids might also trigger an onset. You might experience other symptoms that are not related to the bowel. Urinary conditions, a bad taste in your mouth, headaches, backaches, fatigue, or insomnia are some examples.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if they come on suddenly, you need to see your physician right away. He will perform an examination to make sure that you do not have any serious illnesses, such as malignant tumors or parasites. Once he makes his IBS diagnosis, he can prescribe dietary changes or medications that can treat your IBS abdominal pain.

Avoiding Triggers

You can take steps to avoid IBS symptoms (irritable bowel syndrome) by learning what triggers your attacks. Once you discover what these are, you can adjust your lifestyle so that you eat the right foods. Over time, you may see a noticeable improvement in the quality of your life.

IBS diagnosis Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be hard to diagnose because it shares symptoms with other diseases. Stomach cramps, bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea are among the symptoms most common in people with IBS. Unfortunately, all these symptoms are all too common; they can be the symptoms of other conditions.

Yet, physicians and researchers regard this syndrome as among the most common disorders and often distinguish it as much by what it is not, or by the absence of signs of other diseases. Unlike more serious ailments, like Crohn’s or colitis, for example, IBS does not produce inflammation of the colon. Neither does it increase the odds of colorectal cancer, as those diseases can.

Since the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome abdominal pain are so common and varied, IBS can be difficult to immediately diagnose. Though IBS is a chronic disease and the symptoms can be contradicting.

Featured Image Source: Thinkstock/Milan Markovic

Posted on October 19, 2016