The description of irritable bowel syndrome typically used by doctors evaluating patient symptoms is pain or discomfort in the abdomen that is relieved by a bowel movement, changes in frequency or appearance of the stool and bloating or gas. These symptoms can be associated with other digestive disorders, some which are more serious, so even if your symptoms fit the description of irritable bowel syndrome, it is important to discuss them with your doctor. The specific causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unknown, but it affects an estimated one out of every five people at some point in their lives.
The possible causes of irritable bowel syndrome differ depending on whether the pain or discomfort is accompanied by diarrhea or constipation. Treatment plans vary as well. Too much fiber in the diet may lead to diarrhea and some people may be overly sensitive to certain types of fiber. Too little fiber in the diet may lead to constipation. Everyone experiences diarrhea or loose stools and constipation at times, but people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome experience frequent or chronic abdominal pain that is associated with changes in the frequency of bowel movements.
The description of irritable bowel syndrome used by physicians will include either constipation or diarrhea, in other words, the diagnosis will read IBS with constipation or IBS with diarrhea. In some cases, people experience both at different times, that is to say sometimes they have pain that is followed by diarrhea and sometimes they have pain that is accompanied by constipation.
The number of times that a person needs to move their bowels varies. Some may have a movement two or three times per day and others only two or three times per week. As previously mentioned, it is a change in frequency of movements that fits the description of irritable bowel syndrome. Women suffer from IBS more frequently than men and, because of this; it is believed that monthly hormonal changes may be possible causes of irritable bowel syndrome in women.
Other possible causes of irritable bowel syndrome include food allergies or sensitivities, enzyme deficiencies, imbalance of bacteria in the intestinal tract and stress. Some say that stress is definitely not one of the causes of irritable bowel syndrome, but many people who suffer from IBS suffer from anxiety, stress or other emotional issues, as well. In addition, studies have shown that stress management, behavioral and hypnotic therapies can all relieve some or all of the symptoms included in the description of irritable bowel syndrome . These therapies have been effective in both IBS with diarrhea and IBS with constipation.
For more information about irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems, visit www.digestive-disorders-guide.com
Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience as a healthcare professional and currently writes informational articles for the Digestive Disorders Guide. Read more at http://www.digestive-disorders-guide.com