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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition in which due to some problem related to the gastrointestinal tract, there is difficulty in defecation and pain in the GIT which in turn may cause blood in stools and heartburn and other general effects in the body.

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
This condition is not caused by infection, inflammation, or blockage. In fact, evaluation with X–rays, endoscopy, and blood testing usually fails to show any abnormality. The common causes are:

Gut reaction to “Triggers”
This sensitive GI tract can show a hyper–reaction to things that activate or “Trigger” pain and symptoms. Some foods that are well accepted in others can initiate a major reaction in some e.g.: spicy foods, smoking etc.

Increased sensitivity to what is happening in the gut and abdomen
Many people with irritable bowel syndrome have enhanced sensation and perception of bowel function. Another way of looking at this is that patients with irritable bowel syndrome and other functional GI disorders have lower internal pain thresholds for reasons which are not understood.

Disturbances of the normal activity and function of the digestive tract
The normal movement of food contents through the digestive tract depends upon motility, or peristalsis, which is the rhythmic muscular contraction of the gut. A disturbance in normal motility and peristalsis causes symptoms like cramping abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and relief of pain with the passage of loose bowel movements.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome has a very important psychological reference. A patient usually has a history of trauma or abuse.

Triggers of GIT
  • Foods.
  • Dietary substances.
  • Caffeine.
  • Inflammation and infection.
  • Drugs and medications.
  • Hormones.
  • Seasonal changes.
  • Stress.
  • Psychological problems.

Symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Constipation.
  • Heartburn or indigestion.
  • Chest pain.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Gas.
  • Abdominal pain, bloating and swelling.
  • Pain in the pelvis, rectum, or anus.
  • Mucus in the stool.
  • Lump in the throat or trouble swallowing.
  • Bowel inconvenience.
Treatment of Irritable bowel syndrome
  • The treatment depends on the patient’s symptoms. Those with diarrhea can take lomotil and related drugs. Increase the fiber in their diet and avoid sugar and milk products.
  • Medicines can be taken to counteract the spasms of the GIT.
  • To treat problems related to gas production there are no proper drugs. Instead, the diet could be modified to a carbohydrate–less one. Carbonated drinks etc. ought to be avoided.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants could be used to counteract the psychological points of the syndrome. Hypnotherapy and counseling sessions could be attended on a regular basis.
  • In constipation–related conditions, one could use laxatives like Milk of Magnesia and eat a diet high in bran.

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