Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder that causes bloating, stomach cramps or sensation of a dull ache, constipation, diarrhoea, or can alternate between both. The symptoms of IBS can be eased with treatment, or in many cases with the correct treatment, the sufferer can achieve minimal or be symptom free.
IBS is a functional disorder of the gut, which means that the gastrointestinal tract is not working properly, but nothing is wrong with the structure. It is a condition that affects a large number of people in Australia at least once in their life. It can affect anyone, but teenagers and young adults are likely to show symptoms of the ailment. It is also known to affect women more than men.
Irritable bowel syndrome usually brings discomfort and pain in various parts of the abdomen. The pain goes on and off, and the length varies. The pain may go away after passing wind or opening the bowel. People suffering from IBS describe the pain as sharp stabbing (colic-like) or a dull, heavy, dragging feeling. The level of the pain varies from mild to severe.
Irritable bowel syndrome causes swelling and bloating of the abdomen and could make the patient pass wind more often than normal. Some people with IBS suffer from diarrhoea as well as constipation. Other symptoms of the ailment may include: acid reflux, a sensation of incomplete emptying of the bowel (in spite of possible frequent bowel motions) excess burping, heartburn, indigestion,nausea, the passing of mucus, itching of the rectum, and tiredness.
Some people with IBS have occasional mild symptoms while other people suffer for long periods. It should be noted that blood in stools is not a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome.
Irritable bowel syndrome is thought to be caused by the abnormal activity (abnormal wave-pattern) of some parts of the gut, which is the long tube that extends from the mouth to the anus that includes the small and large intestines. Food goes through the gut by contractions of the muscles in the wall.
Pain and other symptoms are experienced if there are abnormal or overactive contractions. Emotional upset or stress can cause IBS, as some patients confessed suffering from the symptoms during a stressful event in their life. Symptoms tend to worsen when the patient is anxious or stressed.
Some IBS sufferers can attribute their symptoms to their diet. A small number of IBS cases are believed to happen after suffering from gastroenteritis or amoebic dysentery which is an infection of the gut that causes vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
The pain and discomfort brought on by irritable bowel syndrome can affect a person mentally. Some patients with IBS also suffer from depression and more than half are diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder.
IBS can be troublesome, but it doesn’t pose a serious health risk. It is also unpredictable, as symptoms can flare up without any warning.
It is important to know, that John McGuire did his last dissertation at university on IBS and this was published in The Journal of Complementary Medicine which is a peer review journal. It is due to his success in treating IBS that both GP’s and specialists refer their patients to him.
Naturopath treatment York City Health Clinic
Author: John D. McGuire