Spastic colon, functional colitis, irritable colon, mucous colitis- whatever alternative name you want to call it, Irritable Bowel Syndrome can occur at any age, but often begins in adolescence or in early adulthood.It affects women more than men and affects 1 in 5 American adults. Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, as it is commonly called, is a functional disorder, not a disease. Though some of its symptoms are similar to the inflammatory Crohn’s Disease, IBS is not an inflammatory condition.
The causes of IBS can include:
*having had infectious diarrhea
*having had any other bowel inflammation
*prolonged use of laxatives
*low fiber diet
*low levels of serotonin
*mild celiac disease
*certain foods, such as caffeine drinks, alcohol or wheat, rye and barley.
In addition, many women experience increased symptoms at the time of their menstrual periods. This may mean a connection between IBS and hormonal imbalance.
There are no specific medical tests that can determine if you have IBS. Rather, the tests are
to rule out other diseases, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease. If the tests are negative for other diseases, your doctor may diagnose IBS based on your symptoms. The following tests may be utilized.
*sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy
*stool sample exam
The amount of symptoms vary from person to person and can include any of the following symptoms.
*chronic alternating constipation or diarrhea
*abdominal pain or tenderness that is relieved by having a bowel movement
*mucus in the stool or change in appearance
*loss of appetite
*nausea and/or vomiting
All of these symptoms can be worsened by emotional upset.
Because there is no cure for IBS, your doctor will treat your symptoms. Your doctor may prescribed any of the following.
*Lomotil for diarrhea
*anti-spasmodic to control colon spasms
*Lotronex(also called Alosetron)
Lotronex has been re-approved by the Food and Drug Administration with specific restrictions. Great caution is advised, as it can cause severe constipation and decrease the flow of blood to the colon.
There is some evidence that IBS is affected by the immune system and that the immune system is affected by stress. Therefore, stress management is an important part of treating IBS. The options listed below can help.
You may want to try one or all of the alternative treatments listed.
The herbs that may be helpful.
*Slippery Elm for diarrhea
*Cascara Sagrada for constipation. This is a strong herbal laxative.
*Peppermint for gas
*Garlic for gas, also helps colon to rid itself of mucus and parasites.
Complications of IBS.
*aggravation of hemorrhoids
*malnutrition, due to food avoidance
IBS can also interfere with your relationships, your work and your ability to live a full life.
It’s important to keep in mind that you cannot treat just IBS, you have to keep the whole person in mind.
Resources for those suffering with IBS.
The International Foundation For Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
P. O. Box 170864
Milwaukee, WI. 53217-8076
Fax (414) 964-7176
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Self Help and Support Group