What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome – What are the Symptoms of IBS – What is the Cause of IBS – What is the Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS - is a common disorder that may affect up to one third of all Americans at some point in their lives. It is also called nervous colon, spastic colon, spastic bowel, mucous colitis or spastic colitis. IBS is not a disease, but rather a condition or pattern of symptoms, primarily consisting of pain and bloating. It is not life threatening.
What are the symptoms of IBS?
Symptoms may include constipation, diarrhea, gas, or cramps. Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms may come and go or change over time. Constipation and diarrhea may alternate. Rectal bleeding is NOT a symptom of IBS and should be evaluated immediately by your physician.
What causes IBS?
The primary cause is the intestinal muscles, which work automatically to move food products along the intestinal path, do not function properly. They may contract too forcefully or weakly, too quickly or slowly at various times.
Can stress cause IBS?
Stress factors can include physical, dietary, psychological, or environmental, and they may contribute to IBS. It is always wise to try to reduce the source of stress as it may affect many areas of the body.
Is it IBS or something else?
When experiencing intestinal problems it is wise to see your physician to study your medical history and get a physical exam. This is especially true if symptoms persist. Often a colonoscopy will be recommended which will define the problem and a course of treatment can be determined.
How is IBS treated?
Diet can contribute to IBS. Therefore increasing “roughage” (ex. Fruits, whole grains, and vegetables) and/or increase water intake can help soften stools or absorb excess water to prevent diarrhea. Understanding that IBS is not serious or life threatening can reduce the stress level. There are medications your physician may prescribe that act directly on the intestinal muscles to help contractions return to normal.
Are there foods to avoid?
Typically physicians may suggest avoiding caffeine, milk or other dairy products or alcohol as they can make symptoms worse.
Increasing fiber intake with everyone’s busy lifestyles is not always easy. That’s why we provide our patients with a line of high fiber, vegetarian supplements that contain no sugar, starch, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, corn, soy, yeast, wheat, egg, or milk products.
Our patients have found these supplements to be easy and effective in maintaining regularity.*
*These dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.