A common disorder of the large intestine is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). This disorder affects 18% of people around the world. It’s a long-term chronic condition triggered by the poor quality of sleep, diet, changes in bacteria of the gut, or stress. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, cramps, etc.
The symptoms of IBS may be inconsistent, i.e., they appear and vanish frequently. IBS symptoms may be severe and have to be managed by making lifestyle changes, diet, controlling stress, medications, and counseling. IBS triggers vary from person to person, and it is impossible to determine which foods to avoid by people suffering from IBS.
Some of the most common symptoms that can identify IBS are as follows:
Abdominal Pain and Cramps
The most common symptom that could lead to a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is abdominal pain and cramps. Your hormones and nerve signals make your brain work with your gut to influence digestion. The good bacteria present in your gut release good signals, which often get distorted, leading to muscle tension in your digestive tract, usually near the lower abdomen.
Frequent diarrhea is also the most common symptom of IBS. Roughly around one-third of patients with IBS are victims of Diarrhea-predominant Disorder. People suffering from this symptom of IBS have twice as many bowel movements as a normal person. Diarrhea stool is watery and loose and sometimes contains mucus. It causes fatigue and low stamina that limits physical exertion.
An opposite symptom of diarrhea may also occur in IBS; constipation. Almost 50% of IBS suffering patients have constipation. Due to lack of communication between the bowel and the brain, digestion slows down, causing the bowel to absorb water from the stool, making it difficult to pass. Exercising, consuming soluble fiber, keeping hydrated, and taking probiotics and laxatives can relieve the condition.
Bloating and Gas
IBS can also lead to increased production of gas in the gut. This gas production causes uncomfortable bloating, making your abdomen appear rounder as it is full of gas. Approximately 83% of patients with irritable bowel syndrome complain about persistent bloating and cramping. Walking, exercising, abdominal massages, peppermint capsules, yoga poses, and medications can help reduce bloating.
Most people suffering from IBS are sensitive to certain foods. An abnormally sensitive gut triggers food intolerance. About two-thirds of IBS patients tend to avoid certain foods that usually trigger other IBS symptoms. The cause of food sensitivity of the gut is still unclear. Commonly gas-producing foods like FODMAP and gluten and lactose-containing foods trigger symptoms in IBS patients. Also, stimulants like caffeine can trigger symptoms.
Other than the symptoms mentioned above, irritable bowel syndrome patients also experience a vicious cycle of digestive disorder that causes insomnia, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. The severity of these IBS symptoms varies from person to person. These have an adverse effect on your functionality and productivity. Sometimes the symptom flare-ups last for two to four days and then disappear. Their inconsistency also varies from person to person.