Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Also known as colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, nervous functional bowel, or IBS, irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder that affects the colon. 

The properly functioning colon moves stool along by rhythmic contractions. With IBS, the nerves and muscles in the colon are extra sensitive, causing them to contract irregularly and intensely. These abnormal contractions can lead to changes in bowel movements, such as pain, diarrhea or constipation. 

Rather than being a specific disease, IBS is a “syndrome,” or a collection of symptoms. IBS is very common, and tends to run in families. It does not lead to cancer.  However, prolonged contractions from IBS can cause balloon-like pockets to push out from the bowel wall, leading to diverticulitis. This condition needs to be treated as soon as possible. 

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Stomach cramps 
  • Painful diarrhea or constipation 
  • Mucus in the stool 
  • Swollen or bloated abdomen 
  • The feeling of an incomplete bowel movement 

Diagnosing Irritable Bowel Syndrome

To relieve the symptoms of IBS, a physician must first diagnose the condition. Your medical history is a strong indicator, and your physician may conduct a series of tests, such as a stool sample analysis, x-rays of the intestinal tract, or a simple blood test. 

Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome 

There is no cure for Irritable Bowel Symptom, but a number of steps can relieve the symptoms. They include: 

  • Eliminating or reducing the intake of foods that aggravate Irritable Bowel Symptom
  • Eating a high-fiber diet or taking bulking agents, such as Metamucil or Citrucel, which can result in larger, softer stools that reduce the pressure in the colon 
  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals 
  • Taking antispasmodic drugs that can help relax the muscles of the colon and reduce bowel pressure 
  • Using mild sedatives to reduce stress and anxiety 
  • Exercising, which can help quiet the bowel 
  • Controlling the response to stress

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 314-996-3627 or contact us online.

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