What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition that causes abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits, affecting the frequency of bathroom visits and the consistency of stool.
People with IBS typically have episodes of diarrhea and/or constipation, along with gas, bloating, abdominal cramping and frequent, strong urges to use the bathroom.
IBS affects how quickly or slowly food moves through the digestive system, resulting in diarrhea or constipation. Those who experience diarrhea often feel an urge to use the bathroom soon after meals.
People with IBS often have anxiety, depression, or strong reactions to stress. These emotional responses may make IBS symptoms feel worse, but they arent the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms.
Normal: Occasional Abdominal Pain That Clears Up Quickly Not: Frequent Or Even Constant Abdominal Pain
Weve all been there: Nausea, gas or stomach cramps set in, and you have a pretty good idea what caused it. Maybe it was the chili you ate, or it could be that stomach virus thats going around. As miserable as pain like this is, its also normal. It typically passes in 24 to 48 hours.
The abdominal pain that comes with IBS isnt so rare or short-lived. In fact, its the key symptom of IBS. In one survey, 80% of people said pain was the symptom that made their IBS feel severe. And the pain was enough to cause many people to cancel plans or miss days of work.
Not everyones IBS pain feels the same. Some describe it as cramping, while others say its stabbing or sharp. One telltale sign of IBS: The pain or discomfort happens when you also have bowel movement changes. This can include changes in frequency or consistency .
What Is The Treatment For Ibs
There is no cure for IBS, but there are things you can do to feel better. Treatment may include:
- Changing your diet
Your doctor may give you medicine to help with symptoms:
- Fiber supplements such as psyllium to help control constipation.
- Anti-diarrheal medications, such as loperamide , to help control diarrhea.
- Antispasmodic agents such as peppermint oil or dicyclomine to slow contractions in the bowel, which may help with diarrhea and pain.
- Antidepressant medications such as a tricylcic antidepressant or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor if symptoms include pain or depression.
- IBS medication. A medication known as Lubiprostone is approved by the FDA for women with severe IBS-C .
Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you to. All drugs have side effects and may affect people differently. Tell your doctor about any over-the-counter medicines you take.
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How To Treat Ibs With Medication
There are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help ease the symptoms of IBS. Here are some of the most common medications doctors recommend, depending on your specific symptoms:
- Fiber supplements or laxatives to help ease constipation. Another option is a prescription IBS-C medication, such as Linzess® or Amitiza®.
- Smooth-muscle relaxants or anticholinergic medications. They help relieve the painful muscle spasms in the bowel as well as diarrhea.
- Anti-diarrhea medications. This might be an OTC medication such as loperamide , or a prescription medication approved for treating IBS with diarrhea such as alosetron . However, alosetron is used in women only.
Ultimately, theres no one best way to treat IBS. Everyones symptoms and root causes are different, says Mathes. Working with a physician and a dietitian can help you not only get the right diagnosis, but also find the right treatment.
Can Your Bowels Stop You From Peeing
Constipation or incomplete bowel emptying is a major cause of urinary issues. The bladder and bowel share nerve control and are located adjacent to each other in the body. Any issue with one of them can lead to problems with the other. For example, if the colon becomes blocked due to constipation, it won’t be able to release its contents which can lead to urinary retention.
The good news is that most cases of constipation can be resolved with proper treatment. If you’re not completely empty after having a large meal, have difficulty moving your bowels, or feel like you need to go frequently but aren’t able to, then you should see a doctor so that any underlying medical conditions can be treated.
In addition to being treated by a physician, constipation can also be managed at home. A well-formed stool includes both hard and soft stools, but if you struggle with defecating regularly, it’s possible that you go through periods where either type of stool is likely to be absent from your stool pattern. This can be caused by certain medications or diseases that affect the intestinal tract, such as irritable bowel syndrome .
So, yes, your intestines can prevent you from passing urine. In fact, this is something that everyone experiences from time to time.
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Who Is More Likely To Develop Ibs
Women are up to two times more likely than men to develop IBS.1 People younger than age 50 are more likely to develop IBS than people older than age 50.2
Factors that can increase your chance of having IBS include:
- having a family member with IBS
- a history of stressful or difficult life events, such as abuse, in childhood
- having a severe infection in your digestive tract
Find An Experienced Health Professional
People with IBS can become frustrated and feel their symptoms are not treated seriously. These frustrations, along with sometimes inappropriate therapy, can often make the symptoms worse. Finding a therapist with experience in the successful treatment of IBS is important. Being treated by a multidisciplinary team is optimal.
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How Can I Control Ibs
It may be frustrating trying to get a handle on IBS. Treatment can often be trial and error. But the good news is that nearly everyone with IBS can find a treatment that helps them.
Usually, diet and activity changes improve symptoms over time. You may need some patience as you figure out your triggers so you can take steps to avoid them. But after a few weeks or months, you should notice significant improvement in how you feel. A nutritionist can help you plan a healthy, filling diet that meets your needs.
Will I Need A Colonoscopy
Depending on your symptoms, medical history and other factors, your provider may recommend a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to examine your colon in more detail. These two outpatient procedures are similar. The difference is that a sigmoidoscopy examines just the lower half of the colon. A colonoscopy examines the entire colon.
Heres what you can expect during a colonoscopy. Your provider will:
Often, providers can make an accurate diagnosis and even deliver treatment using a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a much less invasive procedure compared to an abdominal operation.
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Normal: Occasional Constipationnot: Chronic Painful Constipation
Occasional constipation is common. As many as a third of American adults deal with it, according to a review of studies by the American Gastroenterology Association. Symptoms include:
- Fewer stools than usual
- Feeling that the bowel doesnt empty completely
- Symptoms lasting longer than 2 months and less than 6 months
Constipation is also common in people with IBS . The symptoms mimic the normal type described above, but theres a key difference: With IBS-C, the constipation comes with abdominal pain and discomfort, as well as bloating and/or gas. Plus, people with IBS-C often have constipation well beyond the 6-month mark, making it a chronic and painful problem.
How Are Frequent Bowel Movements Treated
Mild cases of diarrhea can be treated with an over-the-counter medicine, such as Pepto-Bismol®, Imodium A-D® and Kaopectate®. These are available as liquids or tablets. Follow the instructions on the package.
Note: do not take antidiarrheal medicines if a bacterial infection or parasites are the suspected cause . It is important to allow bacteria or parasites to pass through the digestive system.
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Can My Doctor Prescribe Medicine For Ibs
There is no cure for IBS. If you’re having bad symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medicine to help you manage or lessen your symptoms. For example, antispasmodic medicines may be prescribed to reduce cramping if your main symptom is pain. Hyoscyamine and dicyclomine help relax the spasms in the colon. Heating pads and hot baths can also be comforting.
When diarrhea is a problem, medicine such as loperamide may help.
Pain Unrelated To Bowel Movements
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In people with IBS, the criteria for diagnosis says abdominal pain should be related to bowel movements.
Many IBS patients say this is not always true. But for the most part, people with IBS feel like their pain has something to do with their diarrhea or constipation.
If you have pain you don’t think is related to your bowel movements, talk to your doctor. It may still be IBS, but it is worth looking at other possibilities.
If you have an IBS diagnosis but you think your pain is not typical of IBS, talk to your doctor at once. Persistent pain should always be evaluated by a doctor.
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Is It Irritable Bowel Syndrome Or Something Else
Everyone experiences stomach pain or digestive issues from time to time. Most of the time, its your bodys way of responding to certain foods, medications, stress or even hormonal changes. But an estimated 10% to 15% of American adults experience ongoing abdominal discomfort and changes in bowel habits that last for more than three months.
Many of those people assume theyre experiencing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome . But according to the American College of Gastroenterology, only about 5% to 7% of those symptomatic adults actually have been diagnosed with the condition.
While IBS doesnt lead to serious disease or permanently harm the large intestine , there are other, potentially harmful, abdominal conditions with similar symptoms. Getting an accurate diagnosis ensures youll get the right treatment to ease your gastrointestinal distress.
Heres what you need to know:
Can Bowel Problems Cause Frequent Urination
You are not alone if you have bladder issues such as frequent urination in addition to irritable bowel syndrome . There is a link between bladder symptoms and IBS, and specific treatment options can assist. For example, antispasmodics can help reduce muscle spasms related to IBS and prevent bladder overdistension during a panic attack.
Your bladder is connected to your large intestine, or colon, through the ureters. If there is an obstruction anywhere along this route, urine may back up into the kidneys where it cannot exit. This can lead to pain, inflammation, and damage to the kidneys. The condition is called urinary retention. People who suffer from it need to have a catheter inserted into their bladder to release any pressure that might be building up.
Frequent urination can be a sign of many different conditions. If you are drinking more than usual and experiencing increased heart rate and sweating when you void, then you should see your doctor. Other possible causes include diabetes, prostate problems, neurological disorders, and even stress. In some cases, there is no cause can be found for the problem.
The first thing you should do if you are having trouble stopping your urine flow is see your doctor. He or she will conduct a thorough physical examination and other tests may be done to rule out any serious medical conditions.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
People with IBS can live normal lives. Symptoms may flare up periodically, but the condition doesnt typically worsen over time or lead to other health problems. About half of people with IBS only have intermittent symptoms. Those who have periods of cramping, diarrhea, and constipation may be able to manage the condition with a doctors help, which may include medication and lifestyle changes.
Understanding Acid Reflux And Gerd
Gastroesophageal reflux is a disease that may cause significant damage to the tissues and cells of the esophagus over time. Its the chronic form of acid reflux.
GERD occurs when stomach acids back up into the esophagus due to a poor-functioning lower esophageal sphincter . The LES is a band of muscle that acts as a valve between the esophagus and the stomach.
The main symptom of both acid reflux and GERD is frequent heartburn. Other symptoms may include burning in the throat or a sour liquid taste in back of the mouth.
While occasional acid reflux is normal, GERD symptoms are persistent and typically require treatment to relieve symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing.
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Dietary And Lifestyle Modifications
The bowel responds to how and when a person eats, so it is important to eat regular, well-balanced, moderately sized meals rather than erratic, variable meals. Occasionally, IBS symptoms improve by allowing sufficient time for regular eating and bathroom routines. In addition, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and getting a moderate amount of exercise can help reduce symptoms.
Some individuals report that dietary fats and the food additive monosodium glutamate trigger symptoms. Some find symptoms worsen when consuming a large volume of liquids with meals. Others find that cooking vegetables and fruits lessens IBS symptoms, compared to when eating them raw. Those with IBS might need to avoid or decrease consumption of GI stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, particularly if the predominant symptom is diarrhea.
Having IBS does not necessarily mean you produce more gas, but your intestines might be highly sensitive to the passage of gas. Reducing the ingestion of air, which is the major source of intestinal gas, and avoiding large quantities of gas-producing foods can help. To decrease swallowed air, avoid chewing gum, gulping food, drinking carbonated beverages, washing food down with liquids, and sipping hot drinks. Poor-fitting dentures, a chronic postnasal discharge, chronic pain, anxiety, or tension may also contribute to increased air swallowing.
Why May Fiber Be Helpful
It can be helpful because it improves how the intestines work. There are two types of fiber:
Soluble fiber helps relieve diarrhea and constipation. It dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material. Many foods contain soluble fiber, such as apples, beans, and citrus fruits. Psyllium, a natural vegetable fiber, is also a soluble fiber. You can buy psyllium supplements to drink, and you can add it to other foods.
Insoluble fiber helps relieve constipation by moving material through your intestines and adding bulk to your stool. But this type of fiber can also make your symptoms worse. Insoluble fiber is in whole-grain breads, wheat bran, and many vegetables.
Increase the fiber in your diet slowly. Some people feel bloated and have gas if they increase their fiber intake too quickly. Gas and bloating usually improve as you get used to eating more fiber. The best way to increase your fiber intake is to eat a variety of high-fiber foods.
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Why Do Kids Get Ibs
No one really knows what causes IBS, but it tends to run in families.
Stress can affect kids with IBS too. Stress can speed up your colon and slow your stomach down. Stressful feelings also can be a trigger for IBS. Let’s say a kid has a big test at school the next day and really worries about it, that’s stress. Or if a kid’s parents argue a lot that’s stress too. A kid in this situation can learn to handle stress in other ways, so IBS symptoms will go away or at least be less severe.
What kids eat can also be a trigger. This can be different for each kid. For example:
- A high-fat diet may bother some kids.
- Sugary drinks may cause diarrhea in other kids.
- For other kids, eating big meals and spicy foods might cause problems.
How Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treated
There is no cure for IBS instead, doctors work with patients to help them learn how to manage their symptoms. Strategies include dietary and lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.
The following lifestyle changes may help reduce IBS symptoms:
- Avoid foods that trigger IBS symptoms, such as high-fat foods, foods that produce gas , dairy products, artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, coffee, and alcoholic beverages
- Add more fiber to your diet, which may help to improve the quality of stool
- Take steps to lower stress levels, including exercising regularly, practicing good sleep hygiene, and avoiding high-stress situations
Your doctor may also suggest or prescribe medication for your symptoms.
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Normal: Diarrhea A Couple Of Times A Yearnot: Chronic Or Recurring Diarrhea
Some people define diarrhea as having loose, watery stools. Others say its having more frequent bowel movements. Either way, diarrhea normally hits only a few times a year, and it goes away on its own in 1 to 3 days.
But for people with IBS who have diarrhea as a primary symptom , loose or frequent stools can continue for months or even years. In one study, adults with IBS-D had more than twice the number of bowel movements in a week than those without IBS. These happen during the day . But the need to go can be so often and urgent that it gets in the way of everyday life.