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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Treatment

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an everlasting issue that affects your digestive system, activates manifestations like cramping, stomach pain, swelling, gas, diarrhoea, and constipation. It's the most widely recognised gastrointestinal (GI ) issue around the world. It is a persistent problem among people who are more than 45 years old. Currently, there is no established treatment of IBS; however, some options like counselling, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), lifestyle changes, and prescription drugs are used to treat the condition.

What Causes IBS?

Some probable causes are listed below:

  • Irregular diet
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Stress-inducing situations
  • Genetic causes
  • Imbalanced hormones
  • Hypersensitivity of the digestive tract
  • Food allergies
  • Malfunctioning food pipe (oesophagus) and intestinal tract
  • Neural system's inability to regulate the function of the gastrointestinal tract.

      What are the Symptoms of IBS?

      The most common and evident symptoms of IBS are:

      • A change in bowel habits.
      • Swelling or bloating of the abdomen.
      • A feeling that the bowels are not entirely emptied after using the toilet.
      • Persistent abdominal pain and cramping, which often lessen after using the bathroom. It may happen multiple times with no improvement in the symptoms.
      • Passing the mucus from the excretion site (or rectum) along with stool.
      • A sudden urge to use the bathroom, and the failure to pass stool despite anal pressure.

      What is the Diagnostic Procedure for IBS?

      Some important tests to diagnose IBS are:

      • Blood Tests Complete blood count is done to check for the signs of weakness and anaemia.
      • Stool Tests Affected person's stool sample is taken and sent for the laboratory examination. This test helps in detecting any existing bacterial infection or disease, intestinal parasites, blood, and mucus in the stool.
      • Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy are screening tests that utilise a thin adaptable tube with a camera on its top to study the colon from the inside. A colonoscopy inspects the entire colon, while a sigmoidoscopy covers the end portion of the rectum and sigmoid colon
      • Barium Enema It is an x-ray test that can identify anomalies in the digestive tract and colon. The technique is also known as a colon x-ray. An enema is defined as the infusion of a fluid into your rectum through a little tube. Pregnant women are urged not to take this test as it may cause complications.
      • Mental Tests Questionnaires that identify anxiety, depression, or other psychological issues might be utilised to analyse the mental triggers which cause IBS.
      • Food Allergy Tests Some food allergies cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are similar to those of IBS. Although this test is not preferred by doctors, it can help in discovering the not-so-obvious causes of bowel irritation.

      What Treatments are Available for IBS?

      There is no particular treatment which can relieve the symptoms of IBS. Although counselling, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), lifestyle changes, and prescription drugs are used in tandem to provide relief to the affected person.

      • Complementary and Alternative Medicine Numerous IBS patients switch complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) in case popular treatments fail to give adequate relief. The utilisation of peppermint oil as an antispasmodic has been favoured by a few randomised control trials (RCTs). People widely practice yoga and meditation to reduce the anxiety and discomfort due to bowel irritation.
      • Counselling Many counselling treatments have been found useful in reducing stress and anxiety. IBS-directed therapy may incorporate hypnotherapy, guided imagery, breath control and relaxation techniques.
      • Lifestyle Changes Pay attention to what foods bother you; stay hydrated; drink plenty of water; avoid caffeine, tobacco and alcohol; eat more fibre; exercise, and sleep on time.
      • Prescription Drugs Medicines like Alosetron (Lotronex), Eluxadoline (Viberzi), Rifaximin (Xifaxan), Lubiprostone (Amitiza) and Linaclotide (Linzess) help in controlling the bowel movements, spasms, pain, constipation and provide relief to the affected person. The doctors use these medicines in relieving the symptoms of IBS.

      Follow-up

      It is advised to keep in touch with your doctor to track your progress. Also, living a balanced lifestyle is may prevent the recurrence of IBS.

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