Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, meaning it is a problem caused by changes in how the GI tract works. People with a functional GI disorder have frequent symptoms, but the GI tract does not become damaged. IBS is not a disease; it is a group of symptoms that occur together.
The most common symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain or discomfort, often reported as cramping, along with diarrhea, constipation, or both. In the past, IBS was called colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, nervous colon, and spastic bowel. The name was changed to reflect the understanding that the disorder has both physical and mental causes and is not a product of a person’s imagination.
How common is IBS and who is affected?
Most studies show that the prevalence of IBS ranges from from 10-15% of the population. IBS affects about twice as many women as men and is most often found in people younger than 45 years old.
What are the symptoms of IBS?
The symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain or discomfort and changes in bowel habits. To meet the definition of IBS, the pain or discomfort should be associated with two of the following three symptoms:
•start with bowel movements that occur more or less often than usual
•start with stool that appears looser and more watery or harder and more lumpy than usual
•improve with a bowel movement
Other symptoms of IBS may include
•diarrhea—having loose, watery stools three or more times a day and feeling urgency to have a bowel movement
•constipation—having hard, dry stools; three or fewer bowel movements in a week; or straining to have a bowel movement
•feeling that a bowel movement is incomplete
•passing mucus, a clear liquid made by the intestines that coats and protects tissues in the GI tract
At Nutri Vive Nutrition Clinic we do not clinically diagnose IBS. If you have noticed some changes to your bowel pattern, we recommended that you contact your GP for an official diagnosis and to rule out any other possible bowel conditions before seeking nutrition advice.
How is IBS treated?
IBS is usually treated by changing diet and lifestyle. Medications may also be required in some cases. The FODMAP diet is a revolutionary new nutritional approach for helping to significantly alleviate the symptoms of IBS which has been proven to be clinically effective; www.nutrivive.ie/your-nutrition/digestive-disorders/nutrition/ibs-low-fodmap-diet-sheet-ireland Contact the clinic today to find out how we can help you or your family member.