Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Around 6 to 18 percent people worldwide have experienced and are affected by irritable bowel syndrome. This is a medical condition which involves a change in the frequency of bowel movements. The trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can include daily factors such as diet, stress, and poor sleep. However, the trigger factors of irritable bowel syndrome vary for different people and no specific foods can be blamed for this disorder. Below are listed the most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome which you should know about.

Pain and cramping
Abdominal pain can be considered as a common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. In normal circumstances, the gut and brain work together and control digestion. This generally happens through hormones and nerves which release signals through good bacteria which are found in the gut. In irritable bowel syndrome, the signals usually get distorted and lead to pain in muscles of the digestive tract. Usually, this pain occurs in the lower abdomen; however, in some cases, it occurs only in the upper abdomen. This pain usually decreases after a bowel movement. The treatment for this problem includes the use of bowel relaxants such as peppermint oil. Cognitive behavior therapy is also found to be useful in such cases.

Diarrhea is also considered among the key irritable bowel symptoms. Around one-third of the patients are affected by this symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. A study was conducted to find the connection of diarrhea with irritable bowel syndrome. It came out that among 200 people who had diarrhea-related irritable bowel syndrome almost all had an average of twelve bowel movements in a week which was double the number of such movements experienced by people who did not have diarrhea-related irritable bowel syndrome. This symptom of irritable bowel syndrome is a major cause of stress among people.

Irritable bowel syndrome can also lead to constipation. Around 50 percent of the people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome suffer from constipation. As opposed to diarrhea, constipation is the restricted presence of bowel movements and people who suffer from this symptom of irritable bowel syndrome usually experience only less than three bowel movements in a week. Constipation which occurs in conjunction with irritable bowel syndrome includes abdominal pain which eases only with bowel movements.

Constipation, when occurring due to irritable bowel syndrome, often leaves a person with the feeling of having an incomplete bowel movement and can turn into a serious health issue, if it continues for long. Drinking water, intake of soluble fibers, use of probiotics, and use of laxatives in limited quantity will always help in relieving conditions related to irritable bowel syndrome.

Gas and bloating
Due to the alteration in digestion in conditions related to irritable bowel syndrome, gas production in the gut increases significantly. This leads to bloating which can turn into an uncomfortable situation. Those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and experience bloating usually find it as the most disturbing symptom of this health disorder. Bloating can be reduced by avoiding lactose and other such food items.

Food intolerance
Around 70 percent of people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome have reported that some specific foods trigger some symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome. It is, however, not clear as to why certain food items trigger food intolerance. Trigger foods might be different for distinct people but the most common ones of such food include gas-producing foods as gluten and lactose.

Fatigue and difficulty in sleeping
A significant number of people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome have also experienced fatigue and have found difficult to sleep peacefully. In one such study, 160 adults who were diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome were found to have low stamina which limited their physical exertion and also reduced their interaction socially. Irritable bowel syndrome is also related to insomnia and people affected by this find it difficult to fall asleep at times.

Anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression are also known to be linked to irritable bowel syndrome. In one such study conducted among a large number of people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, it was found that around 50 percent of people had anxiety disorders. Moreover, a majority of such people were also found to have mood-related disorders.

Irritable bowel syndrome is not included in the list of serious medical conditions. However, whenever any person experiences this medical complication, it is better to consult a doctor and take the required medications so that the ill effects are minimal.

A reoccurrence of abdominal pain for over six months is a clear sign of irritable bowel syndrome. The pain which emits due to this medical condition is reduced when bowel movements occur. However, seeking medical aid is the best possible remedy for this condition as it can lead to significant weakness, if not checked in time.