Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
What is the irritable bowel syndrome?
The irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disorder that affects the large intestine (the colon). It is defined by chronic abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits without any known cause. Some people have IBS with diarrhea, and some have IBS with constipation.
IBS is a common condition, affecting an estimated 10-15% of the population. It affects women more than men 2:1 and is associated with anxiety and depression. While it can occur at any age, it is most common in young and middle-aged adults. Women are more likely to be affected than men. There is no known cure for IBS, but there are treatments that can help to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
It is characterized by chronic abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Symptoms may vary from mild to severe and can occur intermittently or on a regular basis. Some people with IBS may also experience fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
There is evidence that people with IBS also have lactose intolerance, problems with their joints and muscles, and fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, endometriosis, and celiac disease.
- About 60% of people with IBS also have fibromyalgia, a syndrome of chronic widespread pain.
- Endometriosis increases the risk of IBS by three-fold.
- Lactose intolerance is common in people with IBS.
- IBS symptoms are similar to the symptoms of celiac disease.
The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but it is thought to be a combination of factors, including abnormal muscle contractions in the intestines, changes in gut bacteria, inflammation, gut hypersensitivity, a disturbance of gut-brain interaction, obesity, and sensitivity to certain foods. IBS may also be associated with stress and anxiety. Other factors include a diet high in refined carbohydrates and fats, and low fiber intake. High serum low density lipoproteins (LDL) is an independent predictor of IBS in obese patients.
There is no single test for IBS, rather a diagnosis is usually made based on symptoms and a physical examination. Your doctor may also order tests to rule out other conditions, such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.
There is no known cure for IBS, but there are treatments that can help to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. These include diet and lifestyle changes, stress management, and medications. Some people with IBS may also find relief from complementary and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or probiotics.
IBS can be unpredictable. Learning to live with stress and making lifestyle can help you cope. Ask your Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn clinician about the FODMAP Diet and learn the things that make your IBS flare up.
If you have IBS, it is important to work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that works for you. There are many different options available, and what works for one person may not work for another. It is important to be patient and persistent in finding a treatment that works for you. With the right treatment, most people with IBS can manage their symptoms and live normal, healthy lives.
Contact Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn to schedule a consultation today.