Hippocrates said "all diseases begin in the gut", but we believe that all health begins in the gut, too.

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition of the large intestines, that includes problems with bowel movements, stomach pain, bloating and gas. Sometimes the intestinal muscles spasm disrupting the movement of food through the intestines. If they slow it down, you become constipated. If they speed up, you get diarrhoea.

Possible Causes:

Unhealthy lifestyle, imbalanced diet and stress appear to be the primary irritable bowel syndrome causes. A few other factors that could lead to irritable bowel syndrome are:

  • Your family history.
  • Infections or inflammation.
  • Psychological factors, like stress or past trauma.
  • Gut bacteria.

Risk Factors:

Research seems to indicate that while irritable bowel syndrome can affect any person, the following segments are at a higher risk:

  • More women than men are afflicted probably due to the changing hormones in their menstrual cycle.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome can affect people between the age of 14 and 40.
  • If irritable bowel syndrome runs in your family, you may be more prone to getting it.
  • People who are stressed or anxious may have irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
  • Regular spells of diarrhoea or constipation, along with niggling pain in the stomach, discomfort or bloating should not be ignored. Such people are at risk of having irritable bowel syndrome.

Signs & Symptoms:

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms could include any of the following:

  • Constant abdominal discomfort or pain due to an altered bowel habit, either constipation, diarrhoea or both.
  • Incomplete emptying of the bowels.
  • Bloated feeling.
  • Sensitivity in the intestines.

Diagnosis:

Visit Medcare’s Gastroenterology Cclinic to get the right diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. The doctor will start by enquiring about your diet, symptoms, lifestyle and if anyone in your family has digestive problems.

The following tests may be required:

  • A stool test, basic blood tests including a complete blood count, to rule out other diseases.
  • A blood test for coeliac disease which indicates gluten intolerance.
  • In case of weight loss, fever, bleeding or a family history of digestive diseases, the gastroenterologist may recommend a colonoscopy.

Treatment Options:

Irritable bowel syndrome treatment encompasses lifestyle and dietary changes, reduction of stress and medication.

  • If the problem is constipation, our doctor may recommend dietary modifications to include more fibre in your daily intake of food.
  • If the problem is diarrhoea, then irritable bowel syndrome medication is given accordingly.
  • Practising calming exercises such as meditation or hypnosis provide the much-needed relaxation to cure irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Avoid eating too quickly and overeating.
FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • How do I know if I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

    A: Once in a while, we all experience pain in the stomach or problems while passing stools. However, when this turns into a regular feature with a feeling of bloating, cramps and a white mucus with the stool, it’s time to consult your doctor and check for irritable bowel syndrome.

  • How does taking prebiotics help if you have irritable bowel syndrome?

    A: Bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and artichokes, plus soybeans and whole-wheat foods are a good source of prebiotic fibre. Prebiotics are not digested by the small intestine, but are used as fuel by colon bacteria. This fermentation process helps to increase the number of desirable or "good" bacteria in our digestive systems that are associated with better health and reduced irritable bowel syndrome.

  • What is the Roman IV diagnostic criteria for irritable bowel syndrome?

    A. The Roman IV diagnostic criteria for irritable bowel syndrome is based on:

    • Recurrent abdominal pain, at least once a week in the past three months.
    • Discomfort during defecation.
    • Change in frequency and appearance of stool.

    The above should be fulfilled for three months continuously with symptoms commencing at least six months prior to diagnosis.

  • How are stress and exercise related to irritable bowel syndrome?

    A: While there is no clear indication that stress and related conditions such as depression or anxiety cause irritable bowel syndrome, they do seem to make symptoms such as diarrhoea worse. For this reason, it’s important to manage your stress levels when treating irritable bowel syndrome. Exercise helps to improve bowel function and improves your overall feeling of well-being, so it helps to overcome irritable bowel syndrome.

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