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Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Better Understanding
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Better Understanding

Marked by pain, bloating, gas, and changes in bowel movements, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a condition that affects around 5 to 10 percent of the global population. Although it can affect anyone, it is most commonly seen in people under 50 years of age. Irritable Bowel Syndrome cannot be cured; however, the symptoms can be managed with medication and healthy lifestyle modifications. This calls for proper awareness and knowledge about the condition. In this blog, we have elaborated on Irritable Bowel Syndrome with the help of experts specialising in Gastroenterology in Gurugram to help you get a better understanding of this medical condition and how it can be managed.

What is IBS?

IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder marked by an abnormality in the flow of signals between the gut and the brain. This gives rise to a variety of abdominal symptoms that negatively impact the quality of patient’s life. As per the best Gastroenterologists in Gurugram. it is strictly a functional disorder, and there is no underlying structural abnormality or malformation that may be held accountable for it. Surprisingly, females are twice as likely to develop the problem as compared to males.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is further categorised into four sub-types, primarily based on the symptoms. These include:

•    IBS-D, which is marked by abdominal cramps and diarrhoea,
•    IBS-C, which is marked by abdominal cramps and constipation,
•    IBS-Mixed, which is marked by abdominal cramps with alternate onsets of diarrhoea and constipation
•    IBS-U, which is marked by various different symptoms

Signs that you need to watch out for:

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are often overlooked or taken for granted. This is primarily because most of them are non-specific and overlap with a variety of other gastrointestinal conditions. The classic symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal cramps and changes in bowel habits (loose stools, constipation, or both). These are accompanied by other symptoms, like:
•    Bloating
•    Abdominal distension
•    Burning sensation
•    Flatulence or abdominal gas
•    Mucus in the stool
•    Feelings of incomplete evacuation while passing stools

Apart from the classic symptoms, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome may also develop secondary symptoms like anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

What causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The underlying cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not known; however, recent studies point towards a link between some of the associated symptoms and hypersensitivity of the nerves lining the gastrointestinal wall. In certain cases, this may also be caused by a lack of flow between the signals flowing from the gut to the brain and vice versa. Other factors that may be held accountable include:

•    Abnormal contraction of the intestinal muscles
•    Hypersensitivity to pain
•    Inflammation in the intestine owing to an infection or underlying medical condition
•    Problems related to gut bacteria
•    Sensitivity to certain drinks and foods
•    Psychological triggers like stress and anxiety

How can you manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Lack of proper awareness about the condition and feeling reluctant to discuss the problem often prevent people from seeking the right care for a problem like IBS that can be easily managed. As the condition cannot be cured, the focus is laid on alleviating the symptoms, which can be done in the following ways:

•    Use of prescribed medications, which include laxatives for constipation, anti-diarrheal medications for loose stools, anticholinergic medications for bowel spasms, and tricyclic antidepressants for anxiety and depression.
•    Healthy lifestyle changes with more focus on physical activity, adequate sleep, and effective stress management
•    Healthy dietary modifications involving identification of foods that trigger your IBS and eradicating them from your diet. Retire to a low-FODMAP diet by striking off foods that contain fermentable carbohydrates from your diet.
•    Use supplements if you are not getting enough fibre from your diet. This is important for promoting gut health and strength.

To know more about Irritable Bowel Syndrome and to explore the available treatment options, consult the experts from the best Gastroenterology Hospital in Gurugram, today.

Dr. Amit Mittal, Head Of the Department and Senior Consultant


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