Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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These symptoms point to a broad diagnosis

A person suffers from a functional disorder when an ordinary bodily function becomes diminished. Upon examination, everything appears to be normal. The individual will experience symptoms without any organic basis. Irritable bowel syndrome is one of those functional disorders. Some physicians characterize it as a spastic colon. It’s often diagnosed by ruling out other conditions.

Most sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome experience abdominal cramps and pain. Other symptoms include constipation, bloating, gas and diarrhea.

Because irritable bowel syndrome has no known organic basis, it’s a symptom based diagnosis. It’s a chronic condition without a cure. It can only be managed on a long term basis. There might be times when symptoms will get better or worse, or other times when they completely disappear and return in the future.

Since there’s no organic basis for it, nobody really knows what causes irritable bowel syndrome. The bodily process of peristalsis is a bodily function involving intestinal muscles that involuntarily expand and contract to push food down from a person’s esophagus to their intestinal tract. It then travels to their rectum. One theory involves those muscles either pushing too strongly or weakly. Another theory involves a gastrointestinal dysfunction originating from the central nervous system. The condition might also be attributable to depression or anxiety. Irritable bowel syndrome appears to coexist with psychiatric episodes fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Finally, there’s evidence of some sufferers experiencing bacterial overgrowth in their small intestines.

Different methods of treatment have been found effective in managing the disorder. Because nobody really knows what causes the condition, treatment concentrates on alleviating its secondary effects. Many people have experienced relief from a diet that restricts carbohydrates that aren’t absorbed well in the small intestine. Consumption of fructose and lactose are also restricted. Other dietary measures include elimination of high gas foods like cabbage and broccoli and/or foods that contain gluten like wheat, barley or rye. Stress management is also encouraged. Prescription medications have also been shown to reduce bowel irritation. These need to be discussed with your doctor.

Eating at set hours develops regular bowel function. Avoid foods that historically cause or worsen an onset of the disorder. Regular daily exercise alleviates depression and reduces stress. It also contributes to normal intestinal function.

Anybody can have periodic onsets of irritable bowel syndrome. If you suspect the disorder, try appropriate dietary relief plus regular exercise, and see your doctor.

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