Irritable bowel syndrome

Description of Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common ailment that affects the large intestine that leads to abdominal pain, cramps, and other symptoms. It is well known as, spastic colon, spastic colitis, and mucous colitis.
Causes and Risk Factors
The exact cause of the disease is not known. The intestines, which normally are lined with a thin layer of muscle, contract, and relax throughout its intestinal tract up to the rectum. The contractions in the syndrome are stronger and lasting longer than normal. This may lead to bloating and sometimes, diarrhea.
Common triggers are:
1. Acidity
2. Certain medications
3. Stress
4. Food: Intake of certain foods such as chocolate, milk, and alcohol may cause constipation and diarrhea.
5. Carbonated beverages, fruits, and vegetables
6. Irregulated hormone levels
Risk factors include:
1. Age: The irritable bowel syndrome usually appears before the age of 35 years.
2. Condition is more common in women.
3. People with a family history
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms range from mild to severe. Most of the time symptoms are mild. Common symptoms are:
1. Abdominal pain
2. Diarrhea
3. Constipation
4. Gas
5. Fullness
6. Frequent loose, watery stools
7. Urgent need to have a bowel movement
8. Hard time passing the stools as well as fewer bowel movements. People with the syndrome may have poor appetite.
Apart from medical history of the patient, the following investigations may be advised:
1. Blood tests may be done to see if they have celiac disease (sensitivity to wheat protein).
2. Stool culture
3. Colonoscopy may be carried out in some patients. A small tube may be inserted through the anus to examine the colon.
4. Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This test examines the lower part of the colon with a sigmoidoscope.
5. Computerized tomography scan: The scan produces cross sectional x-ray images of the internal organs.
6. Lactose intolerance test
Complications and When Should You See a Doctor
The diarrhea and constipation may cause hemorrhoids. The impact of the irritable bowel syndrome may make it difficult to keep up plans and to enjoy a healthy sex life. Sometimes, it can lead to depression and anxiety.
Content Details
Last updated on:
01 Nov 2021 | 04:56 PM (IST)
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