Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome
 Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Colonoscopy

Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive dysfunction, which manifests as abdominal pain, flatulence and other unpleasant senses. These sensations are usually associated with the changes in bowel evacuation frequency and stool consistency.

Causes

Irritable bowel syndrome is independent of organic pathology or disease. This is an intestinal regulation disorder, which is strongly influenced by psychological factors. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is thought to be induced by previous bowel diseases, surgeries, mal-nutrition and, most importantly, stress, mental disorders and psychological problems.

Signs and Symptoms

The main symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are the abdominal pain and flatulence. These symptoms tend to disappear or weaken after evacuation. IBS may also include diarrhea, constipation, or diarrhea may alternate with constipation. Pain during defecating and mucus in stool may occur. These symptoms may accentuate during stress or menstruations. The symptoms of IBS may be accompanied by headache and pain in the back. Furthermore, some patients suffer from insomnia, urinary and sexual dysfunction.

Diagnostics

There are no specific tests for irritable bowel syndrome. The diagnosis is confirmed if these symptoms have lasted for 12 weeks during the recent 12 months and there is no organic pathology, which could cause these symptoms. The patient should be carefully questioned and examined and the IBS diagnosis is confirmed only if there are no inflammatory, neoplastic, infectious or other organic diseases found.

Treatment

In case of irritable bowel syndrome the treatment is complex. Treating psychological problems and reducing stress are extremely important. Autogenous trainings are also significant. If the patient is suffering from depression or panic disorder, psychiatric consultation is necessary.

The treatment of Irritable bowel syndrome also depends on the predominant symptom.

  •  If diarrhea is dominant, medications for diarrhea (loperamide, cholestyramine) are prescribed. It is recommended to eat easily digestible foods (rice, semolina), blueberries.
  •  If constipation is dominant, it is recommended to eat foods containing more fiber (vegetables, fruits, whole grains) and drink plenty of water. If these measures fail, laxatives are prescribed.
  •  Flatulence is eased by simethicone (espumizan). It is recommended to adjust the diet by limiting foods that cause excessive gas and frequently eat small portions of food.
  •  Abdominal pain is soothed by drotaverine and other antispasmodic drugs.

Prognosis

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disease that can recur and fluctuate (improvement is usually followed by an impairment). Adequate treatment can reduce symptoms and partly the cause. The patient's survival prognosis is good.

   

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