Irritable bowel syndrome is a type of intestinal disease in which a number of symptoms may be observed without any underlying damage. Such symptoms may include changes in the pattern of bowel movements or an abdominal pain along with intestinal problems. Such symptoms may occur over a long period of time, even years. Irritable bowel syndrome is usually classified under four categories:
- When diarrhea is common (IBS-D)
- When constipation is common (IBS-C)
- Both are common (IBS-M)
- Neither of them occurs often (IBS-U)
Irritable bowel syndrome can negatively affect your quality of life which may result into interruptions in regular school or work life. Related disorders commonly found are depression, anxiety or chronic fatigue syndrome.
The causes behind irritable bowel syndrome are not clear. Its diagnosis is based on the commonly observed signs and symptoms.
Symptoms of IBS usually get worse after a meal and they tend to appear and disappear in episodes.
The most common symptoms include:
- Pain and cramps in the stomach, that may be relieved by releasing stool
- Noticeable change in the pattern of your bowel movements, such as- diarrhea, constipation, or in some cases, both
- Frequently experiencing the urge to go to the toilet
- Bloating or swelling of your stomach
- excessive accumulation of gas
- Releasing mucus from bottom
- Uncomfortable feeling of not having your bowels completely emptied after coming from the toilet
Along with the symptoms stated above, some people may experience additional problems. These include:
- Lethargy at work
- Felling sick all the time
- Problems in bladder, such as waking up at midnight to urinate, experiencing an urgent need for urination, finding difficulties in urinating completely, etc.
- Experiencing pain during sex
- Loss of bladder control or incontinence
There is no proper cure for irritable bowel syndrome. Your doctor may suggest you treatments to improve your symptoms. Such treatments may include changes in your diet, counseling, medications or probiotics.
When to seek a doctor:
If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, you must talk to a doctor, so that he can identify the cause behind such symptoms and start treating you. Irritable bowel syndromes are usually confirmed by asking questions about the type of symptoms that you are going through. In some cases, additional tests may also be required to rule out other conditions. You must visit a general physician if you suffer from anxiety or depression, as these problems can even worsen your conditions of irritable bowel syndrome.
You must also visit a general physician in case you experience any other unusual symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, bleeding from the bottom, swelling or formation of lumps in your stomach, or signs of anemia.
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, or you wish to learn more about other gastroenterology diseases, gastroenterology problems and treatments related to gastroenterology care, you may contact a doctor to resolve all your issues and lead a healthy life.