For the many Americans who suffer from IBS, Irritable bowel syndrome isn’t just a problem. It’s a way of life. IBS refers to a condition that is characterized by the large intestine not operating in the way that it should. Not really a disease, IBS is a disorder. The interesting thing to note is that patients who suffer from IBS exhibit no abnormalities in their intestine nor have they sustained intestinal damage. That is the real mystery of the disorder.
For this reason, no clear-cut cause for IBS has ever been established. There are some observations and theories on the subject. One thing that experts do note is the fact that IBS appears to include both sensitivity and muscle spasms in the large intestine. Because of this, gas and stool move quickly through the small and large intestines. Patients suffering from IBS may notice that this condition escalates when they are suffering from great amounts of stress. When life is going smoothly, and patients are at ease, the symptoms often fade tremendously.
Patients suffering from IBS have to endure a variety of symptoms. Among these are bloating, diarrhea, sometimes constipation, lower stomach pain, and cramping. The pain that comes along with IBS isn’t a constant pain. It can disappear for days or weeks even. The pain often goes away after a patient has a bowel movement.
If you are suffering from IBS, the muscles and nerves that reside in your large intestine have strong responses to outside factors such as stress. Certain foods that don’t bother most people can spark stomach muscle contractions that lead to diarrhea when the food is sped through your digestive track.
An extremely common disorder, IBS affects about one in every five Americans over the age of twenty. Because of the embarrassing nature of the disorder, many people do not seek medical attention for this problem.
Depending on the severity of your disorder, it can range from annoying to life-altering. In severe cases, it can cause people to be unable to leave the house, maintain a job, or lead an active life. For this reason, it’s important to seek medical attention, garner a diagnosis, and discuss treatment options.
IBS differs from other irritable bowel disorders, especially in the fact that there are no abnormalities in the intestines and no apparent cause for the episodes. A doctor makes the diagnosis mostly by evaluating your symptoms and ruling out all other possibilities. Your doctor will more than likely order a series of tests to ensure that you do not suffer from another type of irritable bowel disorder or even a more serious condition.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffers from IBS, take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. With around 20% of the population suffering from this disorder, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Talk to your doctor about methods of coping with this disorder. Don’t let IBS control your life. Many patients lead normal, rich, complete lives.
Susan Reynolds has an interest in IBS. For further information on IBS please visit http://www.natural-irritable-bowel-syndrome-relief.com/ibs.html or http://natural-irritable-bowel-syndrome-relief.com/blog/2006/08/26/overview-of-ibs/ .