What is IBS?
IBS, also known as irritable bowel syndrome, is a disorder that causes your bowels to be overly sensitive to stimuli. As a result, various symptoms within the intestinal tract can occur, significantly disrupting your daily life.1
There are 4 different types of IBS:
- IBS-D: Symptoms that primarily include diarrhea.
- IBS-C: IBS symptoms that primarily include constipation.
- IBS-M: IBS symptoms that both diarrhea and constipation.
- IBS-U: IBS symptoms that follow an irregular pattern.2
Data courtesy of Badgut.org 3
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Bloating and gas
- Extremely urgent or incomplete bowel movements
- Mucus or foam in stool
Any of these symptoms may be constant or resolve, only to come back. They also range in severity from person to person and can be severely debilitating. 4
The good news:
IBS doesn’t make you more susceptible to other digestive disorders or any form of cancer. Surgery is not a method of treatment for this ailment, nor is it a life-threatening condition. So don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about your symptoms, so they can properly diagnose and treat your IBS. 5
What causes IBS? Who is at risk?
There is no single cause for IBS; however, studies show that certain factors can increase your odds for this condition.
Any of these factors can contribute to getting IBS:
- You have a hypersensitivity to pain.
- You have family that has IBS.
- You are highly stressed.
- You have experienced past abuse.
- You have food allergies.
- You frequently overeat.
- You are taking an antibiotic or antidepressant.
- You’ve suffered from food poisoning.6
This is not a complete list of factors. Contact your doctor if you have any symptoms or concerns that you may be at risk for IBS.
So, what treatments are available?
While this disorder does not have a cure in general, you can feel significantly improved with the right treatments after a few weeks or months. Some people have even reported as become symptom-free when sticking to the correct treatment.
Your treatment will depend on what your doctor recommends. Often treatment is coupled with lifestyle changes, such as diet and stress management. Medications are typically dependant on the symptoms that persist. 7:
- Anti-diarrheal medications such as Cholestyramine (Prevalite), Colestipol (Colestid), Eluxadoline (Viberzi), Colesevelam (Welchol)