Irritable Bowel Syndrome With Constipation
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition that can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. People with IBS who experience constipation rather than diarrhea most of the time have a subtype of IBS known as IBS-C.
Constipation occurs when a person does not pass bowel movements often enough. Typically, this is fewer than three times per week.
In this article, we will discuss IBS-C in more detail, including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and symptom management.
three IBS subtypes. People with IBS-C mainly experience constipation.
Its opposite is IBS with diarrhea , which primarily causes frequent or loose bowel movements. People who have episodes of both constipation and diarrhea have mixed IBS, or IBS-M.
These subtypes can help people more accurately describe their IBS symptoms.
IBS-C is not the same as chronic functional constipation. People with IBS often have abdominal pain and cramping. By contrast, those with chronic constipation alone typically do not experience pain.
The main symptom of IBS-C is frequent bouts of constipation. This may result in:
- bowel movements that are hard, painful, or uncomfortable
- a feeling as though bowel movements are incomplete
- the need to change position or push on part of the body to have a bowel movement
- secondary health problems, such as hemorrhoids
Why Does Ibs Cause Constipation
People with IBS often experience abnormal and uncoordinated bowel contractions. When these are too fast, the end result is diarrhoea. If too weak or too slow, constipation is the outcome.
Constipation may occur alone or appear with alternating bouts of diarrhoea. It is not exactly clear why the contractions arent as rhythmical as they should be.
Gut contractions are a result of a so-called gastrocolic reflex, which is activated by stimulation of nerves in the stomach triggering rhythmic movements of the colon, allowing food waste to travel through the gastrointestinal tract. In IBS, this gastrocolic reflex is in some way disturbed or less coordinated.
Another theory is that the strains of bacteria in the gut of IBS sufferers differ from those found in people without IBS. Generally microbiota can be categorised as good or bad. If the bad strains over-populate the good strains, symptoms of IBS result.
Consuming Too Much Caffeine And Alcohol
Researchers have also pointed to caffeine and alcohol as potentially worsening IBS symptoms, although as with everything else, it varies from person to person.
As the Mayo Clinic points out, people who experience bloating and gas with IBS may want to cut back on alcohol and caffeine, which can worsen these issues. Interestingly enough, though, some people find that a certain amount of caffeine actually helps their IBS, especially people with the constipation-predominant kind. It can trigger spasms in the intestinal tract, which for some people is helpful because it helps them do a bowel movement, Poppers explains.
It will likely take some trial and error to find out how caffeine and alcohol affect your IBS personally. For reference, guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture define moderate drinking as one alcoholic drink a day for women and two for men. And the Food and Drug Administration recommends consuming no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. Thats about four cups of coffeebut remember, its not just coffee you need to watch out for. As the FDA notes, caffeine is also found in dark chocolate, soda, energy drinks, and certain teas. Its in some over-the-counter painkillers too. Note as well that these guidelines are based on the general population. You may have to cut down to a smaller amount to manage your IBS effectively.
You May Like: Probiotics Cause Nausea
Can Ibs Cause Weight Gain And What Can You Do About It
Patients with gastrointestinal problems often experience unprecedented weight change as a side-effect of their disorder. Weight gain or loss can occur depending on a handful of factors.
For example, patients with IBS experiencing constipation and abdominal pain may keep themselves from eating in order to alleviate symptoms. On the other hand, patients with GERD may find themselves eating constantly in order to suppress acid flare-ups.
So can IBS patients experience weight gain? Yes. This could be due to a host of factors involving hormonal activity, diet, and lack of exercise. The good news is that weight gain from IBS is easily manageable with lifestyle changes.
Constipation Produces The Following Symptomswhich Can Cause Stomach Pain
This cause of stomach pain that is annoying and irritating. These arent usually too much trouble unless:
- A fever is present
- Cramping lasts more than 24 hours
Stomach cramps usually come from constipation, gas, indigestion, and bloating.
This results from backed up stool in the colon.
This backed up stool causes problems with the whole gastrointestinal tract. The regular function of moving food into the digestion processes is slowed down, which can result in nausea.
The following can also cause nausea:
- Distension of the colon
- A bowel obstruction
A full feeling
When constipated, have you experienced a bloated, distended stomach? Then in a few hours perhaps it gets worse, as your stomach starts feeling even tighter and starts to hurt.
This tight sensation makes you feel heavy and full. Sometimes you might skip a meal because you feel so full and by skipping a meal can cause a hunger headache and dehydration.
This can cause severe stomach pain. Constipation can cause intestinal blockages at any point in the colon.
These can block the intestinal track from passing waste material, fluids or gas along the digestion pathway, producing sharp stomach pains.
Gas build up
This can be caused by constipation. Yeast in the colon ferments the stool, and a byproduct of fermentation is gas. When this gas cant be expelled, it produces pressure and pain.
Written byBel Marra HealthPublished onMay 31, 2017
Read Also: Pregnancy Symptoms Constipation
When To Seek Medical Help
You should see your GP if you think you have IBS symptoms, so they can try to find out the cause.
Your GP may be able to identify IBS based on your symptoms, although blood tests may be needed to rule out other conditions.
You should see your GP right away if you have other symptoms including:
- unexplained weight loss
- bleeding from your bottom or signs of anaemia
These symptoms can sometimes be a sign of a potentially more serious condition.
Add The Right Kind Of Fiber To Your Diet
Fiber is often recommended for people with IBS. But its important to keep in mind that all fiber is not created equal.
In their new guidelines, the ACG recommends soluble, but not insoluble, fiber to reduce IBS symptoms, noting that this type of fiber may be particularly helpful to patients with IBS-C.
Soluble fibers dissolve in water, pull water into the stool, and form a gel-like substance that helps move contents down the gastrointestinal tract.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water, so it stays intact as it moves through your digestive system.
Soluble fiber is found in many foods, including oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, avocado, and Brussels sprouts. Reaching for these food more often can help ensure that stools are soft and pass painlessly and easily.
Initially switching to a higher fiber diet, however, may increase gas and bloating. To help your body get used to more fiber, it can be a good idea to add these foods to your diet a little at a time.
Fiber supplements are also an effective way of adding fiber to your diet. Psyllium is rich in soluble fiber. You may want to start with a teaspoon a day, and then gradually increase.
You really need to take 20 to 30 grams of soluble fiber to see a beneficial effect, and it needs to be a daily habit, says Brennan Spiegel, MD, a gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. But go slowly at first because you need to build up a tolerance for it.
Also Check: Sudden Diarrhea And Chills Treatment
An Attack Of Dysentery
Dysentery is a form of severe diarrhea associated with blood and mucus. Every IBS patient can have an attack of dysentery due to infections through contaminated food or water.
It is a common cause of blood in stool with your IBS.
There are two main types of dysentery according to the organism causing it:
- Amoebic dysentery: caused by an organism called entamoeba.
- Bacillary dysentery: caused by a bacteria called shigella.
How to know if you have dysentery?
- Severe diarrhea with frequent attacks of diarrhea, you will continuously feel urge to go to the bathroom even every 5 minutes.
- Diarrhea is mainly formed of mucus and blood.
- Not related to eating .
- Associated with intense abdominal cramps
- May be nausea or vomiting.
- Associated with fever.
What to do if you have dysentery:
Milder attacks of dysentery can resolve spontaneously. But if you have a fever or severe symptoms you should go to your doctor.
Your doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics , antispasmodics , and antipyretics .
The best thing is not to get infected. Only drink water from reliable sources and eat adequately cooked food.
For more information about dysentery
Research Into Ibs Is Ongoing However There Are A Few Theories Regarding Potential Causes:
- Sensitive nerves: A theory that the nerves in the intestines may be extra sensitive, leading to pain and discomfort in the gut.
- Fluid absorption: A belief that the colon may be absorbing too much fluid from the stool or the muscles in the colon are moving too slowly, which can cause the stools to become too dry and hard to pass.
- Brainbowel connection: There could be a miscommunication between the brain and the bowel that leads to a change in bowel movements.
- Gut bacteria: A theory that strains of gut bacteria in IBS sufferers are different from those who dont have IBS. The thought is that IBS is the result of bad strains outnumbering good gut bacteria.
Don’t Miss: Pouchitis Probiotics
Manage Your Ibs Gain Weight
Just because you have IBS doesnt mean you have to deal with the extra weight. At Gastro Center in New Jersey, we find ways to improve your lifestyle as a person with IBS.
With our proactive methods, we can create a diet and exercise plan that fits your needs. Get in touch with us today.
59 Main Street, Suite 1 West Orange, NJ 07052
Many People With Ibs Experience Tiredness
Even if fatigue is not an IBS symptom itself, anyone would feel tired if they had to cope with months of pain and stomach upsets and many patients do report feeling weary.
My IBS symptoms had disappeared for five months, and now they are back with constipation, shortness of breath and fatigue. Julie says.
Now that I am 25, my symptoms have gotten worse. Constipation, bloating, swelling, fatigue, and fevers.” Jennifer reports.
I am 23 and should be living my life like there’s no tomorrow, but I am at the point where I am scared to go out anywhere for a few hours. I can’t be on my feet for more than a couple of hours in one go without feeling like I’m going to faint and throw up. I’ve got the bloating, gas, nausea, constipation, fatigue. Linda says.
So what could be causing this exhaustion, apart from the ongoing slog of having to cope with a wayward digestive system?
Interestingly, one of the accepted triggers for chronic fatigue syndrome is a viral infection, and weve known for years that IBS can develop straight after food poisoning or gastroenteritis .
One study in Norway found that three years after an outbreak of the parasite giardia, 46 percent of people had developed IBS with a similar amount of people developing chronic fatigue. This suggests that the effects of the infection may be felt for years in some patients, possibly due to low-grade inflammation.
You May Like: Turmeric Causes Diarrhea
How Is Ibs Diagnosed
If youve been having uncomfortable GI symptoms, see your healthcare provider. The first step in diagnosing IBS is a medical history and a physical exam. Your provider will ask you about your symptoms:
- Do you have pain related to bowel movements?
- Do you notice a change in how often you have a bowel movement?
- Has there been a change in how your poop looks?
- How often do you have symptoms?
- When did your symptoms start?
- What medicines do you take?
- Have you been sick or had a stressful event in your life recently?
Depending on your symptoms, you may need other tests to confirm a diagnosis. Blood tests, stool samples and X-rays can help rule out other diseases that mimic IBS.
What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The specific cause of IBS isn’t known, but it tends to run in families.
Some foods like milk, chocolate, drinks with caffeine, gassy foods, and fatty foods can trigger IBS symptoms. So can infections, and anxiety and stress. Some people with IBS are more sensitive to emotional upsets. Nerves in the colon are linked to the brain, so things like family problems, moving, or taking tests can affect how the colon works.
People with IBS may be more sensitive to belly pain, discomfort, and fullness. Sometimes, people never find out what brings on their IBS symptoms.
Unlike other digestive conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, IBS doesn’t carry a risk of permanent damage to the intestines.
Don’t Miss: Famotidine Bloating
How Long Will I Need To Take Laxatives For
If youve had constipation for a short time, your pharmacist will usually advise you to stop taking the laxative once your stools are soft and easily passed.
However, if your constipation is caused by an underlying medical condition or a medicine youre taking, your GP may advise you to take laxatives for much longer, possibly many months or even years.
If youve been taking laxatives for some time, you may have to gradually reduce your dose, rather than coming off them straight away. If you have been prescribed a combination of laxatives, youll normally have to reduce the dosage of each laxative, one at a time, before you can stop taking them. This can take several months.
Your GP will advise you about when its best to stop taking long-term laxatives.
Dont Miss: Does Peanut Butter Cause Heartburn
Common Causes Of Abdominal Cramps
You are getting through your day which seems fine, and then you are suddenly hit with abdominal cramps. Alternatively, you wake up with a dull ache low down that gradually gets worse through the day. While you may consider taking painkillers to help get rid of the pain, you are just treating the symptoms. It is important to get to the bottom of the reason for your cramps.
Abdominal pain and cramps can occur for all types of reasons. We often push them off as that time of the month but there could be something else happening. If the cramping persists, you may want to speak to a doctor to find the exact cause of them.
There are seven highly common reasons why we suffer from cramping in the abdomen. Here they are to help you determine if they are the reason you are getting cramps.
Read Also: Peanut Butter And Acid Reflux
Read Also: Nausea Heartburn Indigestion Upset Stomach
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 large quantities 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.
Possible Causes Of Ibs
While we do not know for sure what causes IBS, it is a multifactorial disorder that likely involves an interaction between the GI tract, bacteria in the gut, the nervous system, and external factors, such as stress.
Although not proven, theories exist as to factors that influence IBS symptoms, including:
- neurological hyper-sensitivity within the GI nerves
- physical and/or emotional stress
- the amount or pattern of physical exercise
- chronic alcohol abuse
- abnormalities in GI secretions and/or digestive muscle contractions
- acute infection or inflammation of the intestine , such as travellers diarrhea, which may precede onset of IBS symptoms
The GI system is very sensitive to adrenalin the hormone released when one is excited, fearful, or anxious and to other hormones as well. Changes in female hormone levels also affect the GI tract, so IBS symptoms may worsen at specific times throughout the menstrual cycle. Since these hormones can affect the transit time of food through the digestive tract, this might account for the predominance of IBS in women, although direct evidence is still lacking.
It is important to note that since there is no definitive proof of the source of IBS, many promoted potential causes and advertised cures of this syndrome are simply speculation.
You May Like: Low Fat Probiotic Yogurt