Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a functional disorder related to an irregular bowel movement. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms are present in nearly 9% – 21% of the general population.
IBS can significantly impact a person’s lifestyle and productivity. Mainly these conditions occur in people of age group between late teens to the early 40s. It is a chronic condition with very high chances of relapse with variations in the degree of severity.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
IBS is not really a disease. It is actually a symptom of a cluster digestive system health disorders that change the movement of bowel in the intestine. Some of the health conditions that lead to IBS symptoms are:
- Change in the gut flora
- Increased permeability of the intestines
- Dysfunctional brain-gut interactions
- Poor psychosocial health
- Gut immune dysfunction.
People with IBS have different types of symptoms that can include constipation, diarrhea, or alternating episodes of constipation and diarrhea. However, for all cases of IBS, the stool could be hard, thin, soft or in liquid form. IBS is classified according to the primary symptoms that a patient faces:
- IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
- IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
- Mixed IBS (IBS-M) with both constipation and diarrhea.
How long does IBS last?
While IBS does not cause any permanent harm to intestines or to any chronic health disorder, it is highly uncomfortable due to malfunctioning of intestinal muscles and can trigger a lot of mental and physical stress.
Modern lifestyle has taken its toll even on the young population and Irritable Bowel Syndrome has become very common. Persistent stress, pollution, untimely eating, and incompatible foods are some of the reasons that are either the triggers or primary causes behind IBS symptoms.
How do you know if you have IBS?
Many people go through severe symptoms right after the meals or after the consumption of meals rich in complex carbohydrates, caffeine, spices, lactose, fatty foods, or alcoholic drinks.
Most people with IBS find that the symptoms are worse or more frequent during periods of increased stress, such as final week or the first few weeks on a new job.
Sometimes other illnesses such as infectious diarrhea or too many bacteria in the intestines can be the reason behind it.
It is important to see your doctor if you have a persistent change in bowel habits or if you have any other signs of IBS.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms
- Abdominal pain – A feeling of cramping or bloating, pain in the lower half of the belly which is usually eased or partly eased after passing a bowel movement.
- Formation of excess gas in the stomach
- Diarrhea mostly with violent ones
- Constipation is sometimes alternating with painful episodes of diarrhea
- An occurrence of mucus in the stool. Stools may be harder or smoother, or ribbon-shaped
- Some people also suffer from urinary symptoms or sexual problems.
What are the primary causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome – IBS
Accumulation of toxins within the body along with Vata Dosha imbalance are the primary causes of IBS according to Ayurvedic principles. Toxin build up in the body can result from multiple factors including diet, lifestyle, and environment.
Irregular contraction of muscles in the intestine
There are layers of muscle present on the walls of the intestines which contract with the moving of food through the digestive tract. When the contractions are stronger and continue for a longer time than normal can create gas, bloating and diarrhoea. On the other hand, weak intestinal contractions can reduce the flow of food passage and cause constipation and hard, dry stools.
Inflammation in the intestines
There is a much higher number of immune system cells present in the intestine of some people with IBS. These cells are responsible for causing pain and diarrhea.
Problems in the nervous system
Differmities in the nerves of the digestive system may make you feel uncomfortable. You can feel more uncomfortable when your abdomen enlarges due to gas or stool. Because of poor coordination between the brain and the intestines, your body overreacts to change than it does normally. Therefore, the digestive process decreases and it gives rise to pain, diarrhoea or constipation.
Microbial or Viral Infections of the digestive system
Severe infection can be another cause of IBS. After a severe bout of diarrhoea (gastroenteritis) due to bacteria or a virus, this problem can occur. IBS occurs due to bacterial overgrowth or a surplus of bacteria in the intestines.
Changes in bacteria in the Gut
Microflora, the “good” bacteria are found in the intestines and these play a key role in keeping us healthy. Research reveals that there are some differences between the microflora in people with IBS and healthy people.
Vata Dosha Imbalance
Vata Dosha is responsible for all motions inside the body including excretion. Additionally, colon is the main seat of Vata in the body. Hence, when Vata is out of balance, IBS symptoms become prominent including irregular bowel movement, bloating, flatulence, hair fall, fatigue, and excessive weight loss.
What are the Triggers for IBS Symptoms?
Besides the above causes, there are some other factors that make IBS symptoms worse, hence termed as the triggers for IBS.
Foods that trigger IBS
Many people suffer from IBS or their IBS symptoms get worsened by eating or drinking specific foods or beverages. For example, dairy products, wheat products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, and carbonated drinks worsen the symptoms of IBS.
In comparison to men, women are more susceptible to have IBS. It happens due to some hormonal changes. Many women experience the signs and symptoms of IBS getting worse during or around their menstrual periods.
Most of the time, people having IBS experience the signs and symptoms more when they are highly stressed. A lot of times psychosocial factors such as physical or mental abuse, bad experiences such as accidents, or loss of loved ones can lead one to stressful conditions and hence trigger IBS symptoms.
Antibiotics can worsen or trigger IBS as they impact our gut flora. Regular use or abuse of antibiotics can also be the cause of permanent alteration of gut biome and hence a condition as IBS