Irritable bowel Syndrome or IBS as it is otherwise known is a chronic disorder that, unfortunately can turn out to be a long-term problem. Potentially lasting for life. It affects your gastrointestinal tract and intestines, and is a condition that is known for its recurring problems in your stomach and bowels. This includes regular bouts of diarrhoea and/or constipation, stomach pain and spasms, bloating and gas etc. Yes I know its not very nice, but think of the poor sufferers.
In effect, people who suffer from IBS have intestines that either work too hard, or do not work hard enough to eject waste materials from their body. Thus, there is a lack of the normal continual rhythm that characterizes the average human digestive system. Its almost as if messages from the brain to the intestines are mixed up, a bit like faulty wiring causing a short.
Research suggests that IBS sufferers appear to have a colon that is somehow more sensitive to a variety of different stimuli, that have little or no effect on people who do not suffer from the condition. For example, certain foods that have no effect on other people can cause big problems for IBS sufferers. Furthermore, stress is also known to be an extremely important contributory factor for many sufferers. Most experts will agree that IBS does not cause permanent damage, or lead to more serious conditions such as cancer or inflammatory bowel diseases.
After talking to experts in this field about the causes of IBS, no real definite answer was forth coming. Neither was anything found on the internet. However a form of criteria has been established to help physicians diagnose IBS. This has been named the Rome 111 Criteria. More information regarding this can be found on the internet.
On top of this, there is some evidence that the immune system, the body system that fights infection and disease, is also somehow involved in deciding who suffers from IBS and who does not. Although this seems a crazy idea, it does seem to make sense that the immune system has a part to play in dictating how severe the condition is in any individual sufferer as well.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that most commonly hits people between the years of 20 and 30, with women being twice as likely to suffer from the condition as their male counterparts. In fact it affects almost 20% of the population in the western world. And its probably because of its delicate nature that sufferers do not talk openly about their problem.
One of the major difficulties attached to dealing with the problem is that whilst many the symptoms are easily recognizable, the actual cause of irritable bowels syndrome has not been fully established. For example, there are no signs of physical disease in the colon of most IBS sufferers, whilst there are no specific tests that can be used to diagnose the condition either. We can go further and say that if you contacted the experts in this field and asked them what caused IBS they would not be able to give a definite answer. Even searching the internet will not give you an answer. IBS causes are many and diverse and this makes it very difficult to come up with one simple answer.
Nevertheless, it is a fact that for many IBS sufferers, the symptoms do deteriorate after eating or when they are under stress, so this is a consideration which your doctor will take into account if they were attempting to diagnose whether you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or not.
In addition, the causes of irritable bowel syndrome is not really one recognizable medical condition at all as the term is used as a blanket to cover many different medicals symptoms that would usually be seen as nothing more than an upset stomach if they were they to occur in isolation.
What this means is that every imaginable symptom that you could possibly conceive of as a result of suffering an upset stomach is a symptom that you can associate with irritable bowel syndrome as well.
If your stomach has been playing you up and your feeling unwell, the first thing is to see your doctor or other medical care professional. If IBS is diagnosed, this will mean a prescribed pharmaceutical medicine for you to take. This option might be an effective way of managing your condition, but as with many pharmaceutical situations and the drugs related to them, you have to consider the side effects before deciding whether this approach to IBS is the right one for you.
The second alternative, and probably the safer, is to do things the natural way, dealing with your condition using only treatment methods and substances that in many examples have been used for hundreds and thousands of years, including Chinese medicine.
As suggested, IBS is a condition that can persist for many years, but the good news is, the problem itself does not tend to get more serious or severe overtime. Whilst individual ‘attacks’ can vary in severity, the condition itself does not.