IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome:-

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long-term condition that causes re-occurring pain or discomfort in the abdomen (tummy) and an altered bowel habit which may be diarrhoea or constipation. It is one of the most common problems of the digestive system.

It is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition and is second only to the common cold as a cause of absence from work. Studies suggest the worsening of the IBS symptoms in stressful conditions. It affects all aspects of life and significantly reduces the quality of life.

Recent European and American epidemiological investigations do validate that there is increased prevalence of IBS in women aged 35-44 and confirm the significant impact of disorder on the functional status and quality of life. Upto 1 in 5 people in Europe develop IBS at some stage of their life.

Gender, race, and age all play a role in the prevalence of IBS. Recent studies suggest that in the United States of America the incidence is 10% and its prevalence 20%. These numbers are dependent on the diagnostic criteria used as well as on the population studied. Approximately 70% of patients who meet the diagnostic criteria for IBS do not seek medical care; the remaining patients account for 12% of primary care visits. Community-based estimates suggest that up to 30% of patients with a gastrointestinal complaint will have IBS but only a minority of patients diagnosed by a gastroenterologist.

The medicines might provide immediate relief from the symptoms of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome but the root cause of the problem is not touched upon and the dangerous side-effects can be worse than the IBS symptoms.

In conventional treatment the affected organ becomes the target and physicians identify the causative agent of the illness such as a virus or bacteria and treat it. The various drugs used in conventional treatment of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome and their side-effects are follows.

Most allopathic physicians prescribe anticholinergic drugs which block the responses of nerves in the colon which might relieve you temporarily from IBS; however these drugs will leave you with several side effects including dry mouth, blurred vision, and difficult urination.

Antidepressants such as propantheline and also antianxiety drugs; these can cause hot flushes, drowsiness, dizziness and so on for which more medicines will be required.

The various antibiotics used can alter the population of the helpful bacteria in the intestines causing diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, acidity and so on.

Antacids which are most frequently prescribed, will leave the patient with constipation and intestinal upsets which will again cause acidity and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Narcotics, including diphenoxylate and loperamide, can stop diarrhea by slowing the movement of stool through the intestine. They can lead to constipation and are potentially addictive.

Painkillers like ibuprofen (Nurofen) or aspirin can make the symptoms worse.

It is usually seen that if a patient is treated for constipation predominate IBS, diarrhea results and vice-versa. There are certain drugs like lotronex which are given in cases with diarrhea can reduce the blood supply to the colon and may cause severe constipation.

Homoeopathic medicines are prescribed by studying the holistic symptomatology of the patient rather than the name of the disesae or condition. This is because each case of a particular illness can manifest differently in different people.

The most recent approach uses in treating IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is addressing the overall symptoms of this disease and prescribing a remedy capable of normalizing unfavorable responses to aggravating factors such as stress, diet, hormonal and so on. Homoeopathy is a non steroidal treatment which cures patient permanently and leaves no side effects.

The quality of life affected can be effectively taken care by proper treatment.

In IBS or irritable bowel syndrom people are afraid to go out of home because diarrhea can trouble them anytime or they can have acidity, gas boat, flatulence which stops them from attending the necessities of their lives. Just relax because homoeopathy has the answer. The loose bowel movements or unusually hard stools can be easily taken care by the remedies. Homoeopathy stimulates the immune response and corrects the faulty response of the immune system and will help the gastrointestinal tract to work more effectively and efficiently.

Spasms of the colon which never let a patient do anything and which are intensified when a patient is planning to go out or is stressed can effectively be taken care with the appropriate medicines. The medicines improve the blood supply of the colon and hence improve the disturbed colon.

While choosing the medicines the causes of various symptoms of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome like diarrhea (loose stools), constipation, gas boat, flatulence are also evaluated. The causes may be sedentary habits, dietary errors, faulty feeding habits, mental stress, and weakness of digestive system muscles and so on. Timely administration of the homoeopathic treatment can easily take care of the relapses and cure the IBS from its root cause.

The need for some or all of your existing conventional medication reduces gradually as the patient improves with homoeopathic treatment. It cures from the root cause assuring the patient of not facing the similar problem in future.

We strongly urge and recommend IBS patients globally to consider homoeopathy for its safe, gentle & long-term benefits.

                   Medicines which give great relief. However, the correct choice and the resulting relief is a matter of experience and right judgement on the part of the doctor. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus homoeopathic remedies of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome are tailer made unlike conventional treatment in which all patients receive the same medicines although trade name may be different.

How to Diagnose:-

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is considered a functional disorder where in diagnostic testing does not show any visible disease process. To determine whether a person is just having temporary digestive distress or if he does have IBS, doctors use a standard called the Rome III criteria.

According to this criteria, it can only be diagnosed if symptoms have been present for at least six months. Symptoms must have been experienced on at least three days of at least three months.

Specifically, symptoms must consist of recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort with two or more of the following :

Pain is relieved by a bowel movement

Onset of pain is related to a change in frequency of stool

Onset of pain is related to a change in the appearance of stool

Symptoms:-

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS affects each person differently. The hallmark is abdominal discomfort or pain. Other frequently encountered symptoms are :

  • Abdominal cramping and pain that are relieved after bowel movements
  • Alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation
  • Change in the stool frequency or consistency
  • Gassiness (flatulence)
  • Passing mucus from the rectum
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal distension
  • The following are NOT the symptoms or characteristics:
  • Blood in stools or urine
  • Vomiting (rare, though may occasionally accompany nausea)
  • Pain or diarrhea that interrupts sleep
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

Causes:-

The cause of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is not clear. It may have something to do with over activity of part or parts of the GI Tract. The small and large bowel (also called the small and large intestine) are parts of the GI tract inside the abdomen.

Food is passed along by regular contractions (squeezes) of the muscles in the wall of the GI tract. Pain and other symptoms may develop if the contractions become abnormal or overactive. The area of over activity in the GI tract may determine whether constipation or diarrhea develops. Recent research is linking psychological factors to physiological functioning in many digestive disorders including IBS.

How Does Stress Affects:-

Stress—feeling mentally or emotionally tense, troubled, angry, or overwhelmed—can stimulate colon spasms in people with IBS.

The colon has many nerves that connect it to the brain. Like the heart and the lungs, the colon is partly controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which responds to stress. These nerves control the normal contractions of the colon and cause abdominal discomfort at stressful times. People often experience cramps or ‘butterflies’ when they are nervous or upset.

In people with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, the colon can be overly responsive to even slight conflict or stress. Stress makes the mind more aware of the sensations that arise in the colon, making the person perceive these sensations as unpleasant.

Explanation and Reassurance to patients:-

IBS  should be explained about the absence of any fear of developing cancer or any serious trouble in the future. Patient should be given psychological support.

IBS is known to worsen with stress; thus it is very important to establish ways to manage stress. Aside from exercise, which reduces tension, a hobby or other social activities could provide a break from stressful situations. Writing on a journal and meditation are some examples to help relieve stress.

Dietary Advice:-

  • Have regular meals and take time to eat.
  • Avoid missing meals or leaving long gaps between eating.
  • Drink at least eight cups of fluid per day, especially water or other non-caffeinated drinks, for example herbal teas.
  • Restrict tea and coffee to three cups per day.
  • Reduce intake of alcohol and fizzy drinks.
  • Reduce intake of ‘resistant starch’ (starch that resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the colon intact), which is often found in processed or re-cooked foods.
  • Limit fresh fruit to three portions per day (a portion should be approximately 80 gm).
  • People with diarrhea should avoid sorbitol, an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free sweets (including chewing gum) and drinks, and in some diabetic and slimming products.
  • People with wind and bloating may find it helpful to eat oats such as oat-based breakfast cereal or porridge.
  • It is generally advised that fiber in the diet should be increased gradually over a long period of time, to give the bowel time to adjust. Not all fiber is the same. ‘Soluble’ fiber, which is found in oats and many green vegetables, is generally well tolerated and beneficial in IBS or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Some ‘insoluble’ fibers – especially nuts, seeds and legumes – often make symptoms worse. Wheat bran can help ease constipation but should be used with care, as it can also trigger attacks in some people. An increase in fibre will only be effective if fluid intake is adequate.

How to Prevent:-

  • Avoid alcoholic drinks
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress levels, in fact avoid taking stress
  • Move your diet routine to 5 small meals a day
  • Avoid fried food and red meat.