Gastro Health

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Written by Dr. Mahmoud Abdallah Elashkar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

 

Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional disturbance of colonic motility without organic causes. IBS is characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits.

Causes:

Unknown, but psychological disturbance plays a role.

Symptoms:

IBS is known to have a long history with long interval period. The symptoms include abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, abdominal distention and others.

1) Abdominal Pain:

  • Recurrent abdominal pain over any part of the colon, but more common in left abdominal quadrant.
  • Diffuse and cramping pain with no radiation.
  • The pain will increase with food and improve by defecation.
  • Some women with irritable bowel syndrome notice an association between pain episodes and their menstrual cycle.

2) Changes in Bowel Habits:

There are changes in bowel habits overlap between constipation and diarrhea, but constipation is more common.

3) Abdominal Distention:

It includes bloating, gas and belching.

4) Other Symptoms:

  • Patient with IBS often complains of anxiety, depression and tension headache.
  • Dyspepsia, heartburn, nausea and vomiting are also common.
  • Comorbid conditions include fibromyalgia and stressor-related symptoms.

Diagnosis:

IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, so after exclusion of diseases that share with IBS in the symptoms, we should look for Rome criteria III. The criteria requires that patients should have had recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort for at least three days per month during the previous three months that is associated with two or more of the following:

  1. Relieved by defecation.
  2. Onset associated with a change in stool frequency.
  3. Onset associated with a change in stool form or appearance.

The supporting symptoms include altered stool frequency, altered stool form, altered stool passage (straining or urgency), mucorrhea and abdominal bloating or subjective distention.

Tips About IBS:

Some tips about IBS that make you understand your symptoms are as follows:

  1. Remember, it is a chronic disease.
  2. Not associated with weight loss.
  3. Not associated with steatorrhea or greasy, fatty stool.
  4. Not associated with bloody diarrhea.

Treatment:

  • Diet: high fiber diet improves the symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. Avoid Legume.
  • Avoid coffee, tea and smoking.
  • Antispasmodics such as Peppermint oil, Pinaverium, Trimebutine, Cimetropium or Dicyclomine.
  • Antidiarrheal such as Diphenoxylate and Loperamide (Imodium).
  • Antianxiety drugs like Diazepam (Valium), Lorazepam (Ativan), and Clonazepam (Klonopin) belong to this class of drugs. Antianxiety drugs are occasionally prescribed for people with short-term anxiety that is worsening their irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. However, these drugs should only be taken for a short period of time since they can be addictive.
  • Tegaserod (Zelmac) activates serotonin receptor in the GIT (gastrointestinal tract).

To know more about irritable bowel syndrome consult an irritable bowel syndrome specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist/irritable-bowel-syndrome

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018

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