Health Media Today
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Could You Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Author : Carolyn Eagle, Senior Editor, Health Media Today Category : Health and Wellness
Canada has one of the highest rates of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the world, with an estimated 5 million Canadians sufferers. Significantly fewer seek treatment, whether out of embarrassment or lack of understanding. It is important to speak to your doctor if you suspect you may be suffering from IBS and to rule other potentially more serious causes of your symptoms.
WHAT IS IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
(IBS) IBS is a disorder affecting the large intestine (colon) which causes symptoms such as gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. While the exact cause is not known, doctors have been able to outline several factors which can contribute.
The muscles of the colon naturally contract as we pass food through to the rectum. IBS may cause these muscles to contract more strongly or for longer periods, contributing to cramping and diarrhea. Similarly, weak contractions can lead to constipation.
Another theory is that miscommunications between the brain and the colon lead the body to over react to the normal changes the body experiences during digestion, leading to IBS symptoms.
WHO IS MOST AT RISK
• Young people – most IBS sufferers are under 45
• Women – twice as many women as men have IBS
• Anyone with a family history of IBS
• People with a history of anxiety, depression, panic disorders, and other psychological conditions
• People with migraine headaches and Fibromyalgia
• Anyone with a history of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or psychological trauma
SYMPTOMS OF IBS
• Abdominal pain or cramping
• Bloating and gas
• Diarrhea or constipation – sometimes alternating from one to the other
• Mucus in the stool
• Needing to rush to the toilet. This is often in the morning
• Feeling the urgent need to void your bowels several times a day
• Nausea, heartburn, and belching
• Tiredness, backache or muscle pain
• Poor appetite
• Increase in signs and symptoms for women during and around their menstrual period
If you are experiencing combinations of these symptoms, it is advised to visit your doctor to rule out other causes or concerns. IBS can be managed and controlled by some through diet, lifestyle, and stress management. Your doctor can identify the best course of treatment for your particular symptoms.