IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME 3 A Quick View on IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME Definition Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a condition that affects the intestinal tract, more specifically the colon or the large intestine. First thought of as a psychosomatic disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome is now considered a functional disorder which means that though physical disorders are not present, this still does not negate that there is an actual source of pain. It all lies in the physiological factors rather than the physical components such as the anatomy of the intestine or the chemical interaction within the system. Since it is a syndrome, it is characterized by a combination of symptoms for which the causes are unknown. Prevalence Irritable Bowel Syndrome is known to be one of the most prevalent conditions diagnosed in primary health care. In fact, one in every ten hospital visits is known to cover this disorder. Signs and symptoms Most patients experience mild to severe abdominal cramping, bloating, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea or an alternation of both. In most people, the symptoms are mild. However, for more aggravated conditions, severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be disabling which for some reasons, do not respond well to medications and treatment. It can also be a chronic condition which can affect people for longer periods. However, there are periods when there is not one sign at all of being affected by this disorder. However, it is likely that once the symptoms reoccur, the condition is worsened. Fortunately, unlike with other intestinal disease, Irritable Bowel Disorder does not develop into more serious conditions since it does not cause inflammation or damage on the tissue of the intestines. Causes While there seems to be lots of documented cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, there is still no known cause for this disorder. The intestinal walls are lined with muscles that regularly contract to facilitate the digestion of food. This then will relax to release the digested food, which will then be delivered towards the rectum. In normal states, these muscles contract and relax at a coordinated rhythm. For people with irritable bowel syndrome though, there seems to be a significant disorder in this process. For some, the muscles contract and relax stronger while for other patients, the opposite occurs. This condition then leaves the person bloated or feeling uncomfortable with their bowel movement. A number of studies assert that changes in the actions of nerves can have effects in the bowel movement. Others believe that there must be some roles that the autonomic nervous system play in the control and sensation covered by this syndrome. Still others believe that hormonal changes may have some effects on this syndrome since women are more likely to develop this disorder as compared with men. Treatments Since we don't know exactly why this syndrome occurs, the medical community has not yet produced any effective cure to eliminate this disease. It is however a common knowledge that changes in lifestyle, diet and stress management can all add up to the possibilities of treating this disease. Abstention from certain foods that trigger this disease also proves helpful. Such problematic foods include mostly all fat-based products and those that have high fat content. Symptoms can also be relieved through medications. Be careful though that you follow the strict guidelines that were given to you by your physician to avoid side effects and drug interaction.
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