rome criteria for diagnosing ibs - Irritable Bowel Syndrome Signs and Symptoms
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Signs and Symptoms

Because irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms may include diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, the recommended prescriptions and over the counter medications for irritable bowel syndrome vary depending on the individual. For example, Zelnorm is used to treat IBS with constipation, but it should not be used by those who suffer from IBS with diarrhea.


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A final word Lastly, please do make sure that you have been officially diagnosed with IBS and had your symptoms fully investigated before trying any self-help methods. As Joe found out, bowel symptoms can be due something other than IBS: 'I was diagnosed with IBS, but I went to get a second opinion. They did an ultrasound followed by a barium follow-through which showed major inflammation and blockage of my small intestine. The final diagnosis is Crohn's disease. It's a pity they didn't catch it before I was seriously ill, instead of fobbing me off with excuses of 'It's IBS, there's no cure so live with it!''

It could be ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, two inflammatory bowel disorders which can cause similar symptoms to IBS but need different treatments.

There has been a great deal of controversy over the role that poor digestion and/or absorption of dietary sugars may play in aggravating the symptoms of IBS. Poor digestion of lactose, the sugar in milk, is very common as is poor absorption of fructose, a sweetener found in many processed foods. Poor digestion or absorption of these sugars could aggravate the symptoms of IBS since unabsorbed sugars often cause increased formation of gas.

However, this new awareness sometimes means that patients decide they have IBS without seeing a doctor. In fact it is impossible to self-diagnose IBS, because there are far two many medical conditions which can produce symptoms of diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.

Irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of other more serious conditions such as colitis and Crohn's disease. If you have some or many irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor. A complete physical exam or other tests may be necessary to learn what is causing your pain. Your doctor can also help you decide if over the counter or prescription medications for irritable bowel syndrome or other therapies are right for you.

Although these abnormalities in production and transport of gas could give rise to some of the symptoms of IBS, much more work will need to be done before the role of intestinal gas in IBS is clear.

Patsy Hamilton has over twenty years experience as a health care professional and currently writes informational articles for the Digestive Disorders Guide. Read more at http://www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.

Stress and IBS Daniel believes that his symptoms are related to his emotions and stress: 'I thought that when I was stuck on the toilet, experiencing the most severe cramps, thinking I was about to pass out from the pain, feeling like I was about to throw up, I was the only one. I'm still trying to work it out but I believe it has a lot to do with my psychological state. I say this because although I don't get too stressed out at any one moment, I do have general worries about money and life. I tend to find when I'm not worrying about these things I don't get the pain as much, if at all. It's easier said than done of course, I can't just stop worrying about money or my future, but being aware of these things seems to help - being optimistic and knowing that everything is only temporary. I have been taking Colpermin (peppermint capsules) as a preventative which often helps and for a while I took painkillers which I think helped.'

If you find that your symptoms are worse after drinking milk you may have lactose intolerance. And, of course, in a small number of cases it could be bowel cancer.

For example, if you are a woman you could have endometriosis, a condition where tissue which usually lines the ovaries is found in other parts of the body. If the tissue attaches to the bowel then abdominal pain can be the result.

Irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms typically include abdominal (stomach) pain that is relieved by a bowel movement. It is believed that the pain may be caused by muscle spasms, so anti-spasmodic medications for irritable bowel syndrome are sometimes prescribed. The idea being that reducing the muscle spasms or contractions may relieve the pain, relax the intestines and possibly prevent diarrhea. Anti-spasmodic medications, like most prescription drugs, are not intended for long term use, so a complete treatment program which includes dietary changes and other therapies may be recommended as well.

If you have celiac disease you will be suffering because you are eating the gluten in bread, cakes and pasta (among other foods), and all you need to do to feel better will be to cut out gluten from your diet.





About the author:
Sophie Lee has had IBS for 15 years. She runs the website IBS
Treatment http://www.irritable-bowel-syndrome.ws where you can
find reviews of all the different treatments available for IBS.

Even when patients do see a doctor, however, a significant number don't receive the correct diagnosis until their second or third visit, or until they see a gut specialist. It is vital to find a doctor who is willing to take the time to investigate any symptoms that don't fit with the IBS diagnosis, and who can ensure that you don't have one of the many medical conditions which can produce bowel and stomach problems.

Looking at your diet Laura describes how a close examination of her diet helped her IBS: 'I was placed on every kind of medication, and sometimes they worked in the short term, sometimes they didn't work at all. The doctor finally suggested trying to alter my diet in cycles, and we discovered that eating meat was my problem. I became a vegetarian and no longer have constant problems. Sometimes I even go years without any pain at all. It's worth all the effort you put into it when you finally feel better.'

Just this week I received an email from a women who was told she had IBS, and then the doctors changed their minds after a laparoscopy to look for endometriosis.

Anti-depressants are sometimes prescribed for IBS. Depression is not commonly one of the irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms, but studies have shown anti-depressants may block pain receptors in the brain. Most prescribed medications for irritable bowel syndrome target pain relief. Stress and anxiety sometimes accompany irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms and anti-depressants may help relieve these, as well as the pain.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a fairly well-known disorder these days ' medications for IBS are advertised on TV and in the media, and thankfully it is now far less of a taboo to talk about your bowels.

All the self-help tips in this article have come from IBS sufferers who have found a way to control their irritable bowels. Before trying any form of self-help, please make sure that you have your doctor's approval, and do check that anything you try will not interfere with any medication you are taking.

Because of this fact it is vital to get your symptoms thoroughly checked out by a doctor, especially if they are continuing for a long period of time or are interfering with your work or social life.

Irritable bowel syndrome is believed to be due to the abnormal function (dysfunction) of the muscles of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract or the nerves controlling the organs. The nervous control of the gastrointestinal tract, however, is complex. A system of nerves runs the entire length of the gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to the anus in the muscular walls of the organs. These nerves communicate with other nerves that travel to and from the spinal cord. Nerves within the spinal cord, in turn, travel to and from the brain. (The gastrointestinal tract is exceeded in the numbers of nerves it contains only by the spinal cord and brain.) Thus, the abnormal function of the nervous system in IBS may occur in a gastrointestinal muscular organ, the spinal cord, or the brain.

Soluble versus insoluble fiber Some nutritionists believe that IBS sufferers' intestines react differently to soluble and insoluble fiber, and this has been Stu's experience: 'After trying all kinds of drugs and healthy eating, my pains were still there. I found by accident that it wasn't so much what I ate but whether I ate it on a full stomach or not. My failsafe is pasta on an empty stomach, I get no reaction - it is soluble fibre that settles the colon apparently. I quickly searched on the internet for recipes high in soluble fibre and I have improved. Most significantly though I am on no medication and this puts me in control of the IBS, not the other way around. I think this is important as stress certainly can trigger the symptoms off. I don't avoid insoluble fibre as it is essential for the body, but I recommend that you eat it on a full stomach.'

The nervous system that controls the gastrointestinal organs, as with most other organs, contains both sensory and motor nerves. The sensory nerves continuously sense what is happening within the organ and relay this information to nerves in the organ's wall. From there, information can be relayed to the spinal cord and brain. The information is received and processed in the organ's wall, the spinal cord, or the brain. Then, based on this sensory input and the way the input is processed, commands (responses) are sent to the organ over the motor nerves. Two of the most common motor responses in the intestine are contraction or relaxation of the muscle of the organ and secretion of fluid and/or mucus into the organ.

 
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Fiber, water and yoga Pam, who struggles with constipation, has developed a combination of things which work for her: 'I drink Metamucil (psyllium fibre) every day and try to relax, pray or meditate, even do a little yoga. The more I make myself relax and take time to de-stress the better I can manage my problem. I know time for yourself is very hard to come by sometimes but I have to if I'm going to manage this. I try to drink at least three bottles of water a day. This is also hard sometimes but I have to take care of me the best I can. I also take a mild anti-depressant. This has helped a bunch in my stress department and in turn has helped my IBS.'

Over the counter medications for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea include Kaopectate, Imodium and other anti-diarrhea products. But though they may be effective for slowing diarrhea, they will not help to relieve the other irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms. Herbal and botanical remedies may be effective for the relief and control of IBS with diarrhea or constipation, but there is no conclusive evidence that they work. There are only user testimonials. What works for one may not work for everyone and natural does not always mean safe. Herbs and botanicals should only be purchased from reliable companies. Doctor consultation is often recommended, but most doctors know very little about herbal and botanical treatment. A better source for information may be an herbalist or doctor of naturopathic medicine.

Calcium tablets Linda, who suffers from severe diarrhea, says: 'What has helped me for more than two years is calcium carbonate, an over-the-counter supplement. I take three tablets a day, one at each meal. The most success has come from using any formula of calcium supplement that is like Caltrate 600 Plus with vitamin D and minerals. The only side effect is at the beginning of taking the calcium you may have some gas or indigestion, but this usually goes away after taking a regular dose for a few days.'

Kim, who also suffers from bad diarrhea, says: 'I tried taking digestive enzymes with acidophilus and found significant relief within three days. I am not afraid to eat now, but find that I still cannot eat very much refined sugar or high fibre vegetables. I have also added a cup or two per day of peppermint and chamomile tea. When I do have an episode it occurs late in the day and by the next morning I am feeling back to normal.'

Sufferers often find that they have to deal with the symptoms themselves, through self-help methods and supplements, rather than by using conventional medicines. However, this does not mean that there is no hope of improvement. By sharing their experiences, sufferers can learn a lot about what really helps to ease IBS.

Flaxseed Watching your diet is sometimes not enough to completely control the symptoms, and natural or herbal supplements can help, as Marion discovered: 'After about six months of a horrendously restrictive diet (ultra low-fat vegan with no raw veggies or fruit except banana) and a lot of Metamucil, I managed to get it sort of under control. But if I deviated from the diet, the chronic diarrhea would come back. Someone I met told me that she had helped her IBS by taking a tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed with a glass of water or juice every morning. I thought it was another crackpot cure, but eventually I decided to try it. She had told me that pre-ground flaxseed didn't work because flax seed starts to oxidize as soon as you grind it and that whole flax seeds are no good either, because they cannot be digested properly. After years of IBS, in about two weeks it just went away. I cannot believe that I now have perfectly normal, regular bowel movements.'

If your doctor has already diagnosed you with IBS, and you are happy with that diagnosis, then you can concentrate on relieving your IBS symptoms and not worry about these other conditions.

Irritable bowel syndrome signs and symptoms may include excessive gas, bloating or feeling that the stomach is swollen. If these symptoms are present, recommended over the counter medications for irritable bowel syndrome may include Gas-X or other anti-gas products. Herbs and botanicals designed to prevent or relieve gas are also available.

If you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you will know how difficult it is to treat. Doctors can be dismissive of IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating, and when treatment is offered it may only help for a short while before the distressing symptoms return.

Other researchers argue that the cause of functional diseases is abnormalities in the function of the motor nerves. For example, abnormal commands through the motor nerves might produce a painful spasm (contraction) of the muscles. Still others argue that abnormally functioning processing centers are responsible for functional diseases because they misinterpret normal sensations or send abnormal commands to the organ. In fact, some functional diseases may be due to sensory dysfunction, motor dysfunction, or both sensory and motor dysfunction. Still others may be due to abnormalities within the processing centers One area that is receiving a great deal of scientific attention is the potential role of gas produced by intestinal bacteria in patients with IBS. Studies have demonstrated that patients with IBS produce larger amounts of gas than individuals without IBS, and the gas may be retained longer in the small intestine. Among patients with IBS, abdominal size increases over the day, reaching a maximum in the evening and returning to baseline by the following morning. In individuals without IBS, there is no increase in abdominal size during the day.

But if you have never been properly diagnosed, now is the time to go to your doctor and explain your symptoms clearly, because you will only receive the help you need if you know exactly what is wrong with your body.





About the author:
Sophie Lee has had IBS for 14 years. She runs the IBS Tales
website at http://www.ibstales.com where you can read hundreds
of stories and tips from IBS sufferers.

You may have picked up an intestinal parasite such as giardia from foreign travel, or you could have fibromyalgia, a condition that can cause bowel symptoms but can also cause problems such as 'brain fog' and muscle pain.

As already mentioned, abnormal function of the nerves of the gastrointestinal organs, at least theoretically, might occur in the organ, spinal cord, or brain. Moreover, the abnormalities might occur in the sensory nerves, the motor nerves, or at processing centers in the intestine, spinal cord, or brain. Some researchers argue that the cause of functional diseases is abnormalities in the function of the sensory nerves. For example, normal activities, such as stretching of the small intestine by food, may give rise to abnormal sensory signals that are sent to the spinal cord and brain, where they are perceived as pain.

Mina also found that dietary change helped control her symptoms, alongside traditional medication: 'I've made a number of changes to my diet. I've eliminated milk and mostly any dairy, fried foods, sugar for the most part, pop, alcohol, potato chips, spicy food, rice, pasta and bread. Most recently I'm eliminating flour. But my best friend for the last couple of years has been Imodium Quick Dissolve tablets. I don't ever leave home without them. I just have to make sure I don't overdo it. If I ever become immune to the wonder drug I am gonna be a real mess!'

If you suffer from constipation rather than diarrhea, you could try magnesium supplements instead, as these can have a slight laxative effect. Digestive enzymes and probiotics

Dietary fat in healthy individuals causes food as well as gas to move more slowly through the stomach and small intestine. Some patients with IBS may even respond to dietary fat in an exaggerated fashion with greater slowing. Thus, dietary fat could and probably does aggravate the symptoms of IBS.

For more information about irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems, visit www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.

For more information visit: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment


 
 
     
 
 





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