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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Information

  • Irritable bowel syndrome is a common intestinal disorder that is characterized by bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, cramping, and constipation. Typically no abnormalities appear during standard medical testing, and so irritable bowel syndrome is identified by the symptoms. Although irritable bowel syndrome can cause serious discomfort, the intestines are not harmed...
  • Causes of IBS

    Medical researchers have not determined what causes irritable bowel syndrome. Theories about IBS include an increase in intestinal or colon sensitivity in reacting to stress or specific foods, a sensitive reaction to stretching of the bowel, or a response by the central nervous system. Women develop irritable bowel syndrome twice as often as men, and may be responding to hormonal changes.

    Treatments for IBS

    The majority of people undergoing irritable bowel syndrome do not receive any treatment. However, there are a variety of treatments and practices available to help reduce or manage the symptoms. At home, you can work to reduce foods that produce gas such as cabbage, broccoli, and carbonated beverages. Taking fiber supplements such as methylcellulose or psyllium may help minimize constipation. Avoiding caffeine and fatty foods can help lessen abdominal pain. A reduction in fruit, dairy products and artificial sweeteners can help curtail diarrhea. If necessary, medications such as Loperamide can help reduce occurrences of diarrhea.

    Alosetron is the only drug available specifically to treat irritable bowel syndrome, and is typically used as a last resort because of severe possible side effects. For women only, it is designed to relax the colon and slow the passage of waste through the bowel. It is currently only available from doctors enrolled in a special program.

    IBS Resources and Support

    The DailyStrength irritable bowel syndrome support group provides members an opportunity to safely give and receive help and advice regarding their health challenges. The variety of symptoms and treatment options can be discussed through one-on-one chat, forum discussion posts, and journals.

    If you are newly diagnosed, or suspect you have IBS, you may wish to explore these resources and discuss them further in the IBS Forum.

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