I.B.S. ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Overview:
IBS is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by abdominal pain, excessive gassiness, bloating, and irregular bowel movements. Most people with IBS suffer from constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both. It is estimated that 20% of the general population suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, and IBS is one of the most common problems addressed by primary care physicians.
IBS may also be referred to as spastic colon, mucous colitis, spastic colitis, nervous stomach, or irritable colon. IBS is difficult to diagnose with traditional medicine as it can not be discovered through physical examination, x-rays, or blood tests.
For many doctors, IBS is believed to be caused by stress or emotional conflict. While stress may aggravate IBS symptoms, research indicates that people with IBS have a more sensitive colon which reacts to only mild stimuli that would not bother most people.
Certain foods and/or medications may trigger spasms, and researchers have found that IBS symptoms worsen for some women during their menstrual cycle, indicating that reproductive hormones may have an effect.
Chocolate, dairy products, and alcohol have been shown to cause spasms which delay the passing of stools, leading to constipation, and caffeine is likely to cause loose stools, especially in those with IBS.
IBS symptoms include: abdominal cramping and pain, excessive gassiness and flatulence, painful constipation, diarrhea, or alternating between constipation and diarrhea, stools containing mucus, and increased urgency to pass stools. In some cases, a person with IBS may feel a painful urge to move the bowels without success in trying, or they may still feel the need to move the bowels immediately following a bowel movement.