IbsSymptomsGuide.org is a guide to the symptoms, causes and treatment of IBS
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Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS isn’t just another disease. It’s among the most mysterious and complicated health concerns, which is why countless people do their best to learn as much as possible about it.
There’s no denying that many wish to broaden their knowledge of one enigmatic disease - irritable bowel syndrome. For some, the need to learn more is merely driven by curiosity. For others, gathering information is the first step towards relief. Regardless of those reasons, one fact eventually shocks those who seek medical wisdom – the malady doesn’t just come in one form and it affects people in different ways. To discover how complex it really is, just continue reading.
It’s best to begin this write-up by answering one important question: what is IBS? Most healthcare experts would agree that it’s essentially a gastrointestinal problem that’s triggered by stress. That means that unlike most illnesses, abnormalities and microbes don’t cause this particular tummy dilemma. In a way, that’s the same as saying that diagnosis wouldn’t be a straightforward process. Doctors need to keep track of several symptoms, such as:
- Bowel-movement shifts
- Too much gas in the gut
- Frequent tummy cramps
- Stool-consistency changes
Now that the illnesses’ symptoms have been discussed and the question of “what is irritable bowel syndrome?” has been answered, it’s time to move on to four other interesting topics – prevalence, financial impact, gender differences, and discovery.
- Widespread Concern – most studies reveal that roughly 15% of those in the United States are suffering from the gastrointestinal problem. While that’s already alarming, here’s something to think about – given the sheer difficulty of diagnosing the disease, some healthcare professionals say that the real percentage could be way above 25. It should also be pointed out, that Americans aren’t the only ones who battle the bowel syndrome. It’s likely that half of the entire Brazilian population suffers from it.
- Damaging Finances – since IBS is undeniably common, it’s only to be expected that it has profit-lowering effects. Employees who are experiencing abdominal pain wouldn’t be productive (if they’re able to go to work, that is). Likewise, they usually end up spending money on all kinds of therapies and medications. Simply put, they can’t rely on healthcare coverage alone. Here’s another interesting piece of info about the digestive disease’s cost – in the US alone, around $10 billion are spent annually to fight off the ailment.
- Thinking about Gender – even though many suffer from the bowel syndrome’s dreaded bank-breaking effects, it’s safe to say that women know more about that dilemma than men do. Those wondering why, should keep this in mind: women (especially those below the age of 50) are usually the ones diagnosed with the illness. Interestingly, some physicians even believe that men don’t really suffer from the gastrointestinal concern, but instead experience another kind of disease that merely shows similar symptoms.
- Some Discovery Details – at this point, people who are curious about the malady’s many facets probably think about the question of “when was it discovered?” Back in the late 1800s, physicians were already aware of the mysterious illness’ existence – mainly due to William Osler’s works. However, they didn’t call it in its modern-day name and instead referred to it as mucous colitis. Almost a century later, doctors deemed it necessary to change its name to spastic colitis. To further prevent confusion, they eventually called it IBS.
If the digestive dilemma causes confusion among healthcare experts, then it shouldn’t be surprising that the public usually ends up puzzled by it as well. Unlike their medically-licensed counterparts though, most people don’t have the time to study diagnostics for years just to understand bowel disorders a lot better. Well, there’s a shortcut to a better understanding – becoming familiar with several confusion culprits.
- The Other I, B, and S – using acronyms is sometimes enough to cause misunderstandings. In this case, IBS syndrome could be about either bowel movement or an irritated bladder. The latter isn’t what’s being discussed throughout this article, since it’s a problem that’s barely related to the gastrointestinal track. For the sake of boosting the medical wisdom of readers though, it’s necessary to highlight a fascinating fact for each of the two conditions:
- The tummy problem is linked with relief after bowel movement
- The bladder issue causes excruciating pain during urination
- Lazy Bowel Syndrome – there’s no doubt that irritable and lazy are two very different words and have very different meanings. Still, there are those who end up confused when talking about the two, especially in a medical sense. To clear things up, it’s a must to point out that lazy bowel syndrome isn’t something that’s triggered by stress and it has two clear-cut causes – overreliance on laxatives and dietary-fiber deficiency. Sometimes, people who are suffering from that malady need to have their colons cleansed manually.
- Flaring Bowel Diseases – irritated bladder and lazy bowel aren’t the only ones that end up baffling those who wish to learn more about the irritable-bowel dilemma. Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is sometimes considered by some as the same as an IBS flare-up. While the two terms might have similar names, they’re about two absolutely different things. IBD is mainly associated with immune-system problems, while flare-ups is basically a term for episodes in which symptoms manifest and worsen.
Since the matter of confusion has been sorted out to an extent, it’s best to move on to a very important subject – classification. Simply put, even those who are merely trying to understand the disease a bit more should become familiar with its four major kinds. In doing so, they wouldn’t be speechless when others begin to talk about the M, A, C, and Ds.
- IBS-M – is a term used to describe cases in which the patient gets antagonized by hard and loose stool. To be a bit more specific, people who have that kind of gastrointestinal concern excrete very solid stool roughly 25% of the time. Bowel movements that involve formless, watery stool (which could have dehydrating effects) take up the other 25%. Given those details, it’s obvious that people diagnosed with IBS-M have to contend with different symptoms.
- IBS-A – is very similar to the previous bowel-issue variant. Well, here’s the main difference between them – the M-type is all about meeting percentages, while the A-type shows the significance of patterns. That means that patients with IBS-A have to worry about moving from diarrhea to constipation, one after another. It’s likely though, that they suffer less from injuries and dehydration than their M-type counterparts do.
- IBS-C – as many would expect, “C” stands for constipation. People who have this kind of bowel-movement problem are constipated more than 25% of the time, which in turn means that they could suffer from two things – injury in the anal region (such as fissure and prolapse) and a feeling that they’ve barely defecated enough. It should be emphasized nonetheless, that even those with IBS-C sometimes excrete formless, watery stool.
- IBS-D – the digestive dilemma’s fourth type involves frequent diarrhea. People with this kind of disease defecate mushy stool most of the time, which in turn explains why they’re often thirsty and nauseated. Aside from facing those problems, they usually run out of energy sooner than others do. Their kidneys could also develop all sorts of concerns due to the limited amount of water in the body.
Right now, most readers would probably have one thing in mind – are there recent breakthroughs related to the enigmatic bowel syndrome? Truth be told, there aren’t. However, scientists are doing their best to come up with new ways to minimize the malady’s impact. In addition, some experts are also trying to find out more about the illnesses’ roots and lesser-known effects.
- Developing a Better Diet – even though the disease isn’t really triggered by certain kinds of food, those who have it are usually told to stay away from meals that contain fructose. Recent studies about the gastrointestinal concern have revealed that much better results could be achieved by eliminating all sugars and carbohydrates that couldn’t be processed efficiently by the small intestine. There’s no doubt though, that patients who’d eliminate those from their diet would have a difficult time.
- Pinpointing the True Cause – while some scientific experts are trying to come up with ways to limit the illness’ effects, there are those who are attempting to answer the question of “what’s really causing the disease?” That’s why there are studies that tend to highlight the presence of (yet-to-be identified) microorganisms within the tummies those who’ve developed the malady. Of course, some papers are about the most popular theory of all – the existence of a problematic link between the mind and the gut.
- Discussing the Suicide Link – it’s no secret that the digestive dilemma has the potential to ruin people’s lives. After all, if the worst symptoms show up, they’d barely be able to live normally and productively. Not only do they suffer from intense pain, but they also fear what others would say about them. With those in mind, it becomes clear why some healthcare specialists are trying to (further) study the link between the disease and suicide. So far, the results of those studies makes one thing clear – suicidal ideation has become a real problem.
Those who’ve read every bit of this write-up have surely become much smarter about the topic of gastrointestinal issues. It’s safe to say though, that they still aren’t satisfied with their knowledge. Well, learning more in a convenient way is always an option, as long as they’re willing to search – the web contains countless other fascinating (and alarming) facts about irritable bowel syndrome.