Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder that affects the digestive system, in particular, the large intestine. It has has a variety of names including spastic bowel, colitis, and functional bowel disease. There are four types including IBS with constipation (IBS-C), IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), alternating (IBS-M), or non of the previous categories, called unsubtyped (IBS-U).
Is IBD the same as IBS?
No. The main difference is that IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) does not cause inflammation, ulcers, or damage to the gastrointestinal system. It is less serious but still presents difficult symptoms such as cramps, bloating, gas, mucus in the stool, diarrhea, constipation, or both. Anemia, weight loss, bleeding, and fever are not symptoms for IBS.
Although IBS is not life threatening, it can cause problems that change quality of life such as impacting work, school, and daily activities.
IBS causes discomfort or pain in the digestive system and trouble with bowel movements, either going more or less often than what is considered to be normal. Associated symptoms are abdominal pain, spasms, gas, and bloating. Most people experience alternating diarrhea and constipation. The symptoms tend to come and go, and can last for days, weeks, or even months at a time.
Possible causes for IBS have been genetically related, overactive bowels, excessive serotonin, certain bacteria or bacterial overgrowth and hormones. It can also be caused by other infections, celiac disease, leaky gut, environmental sensitivities, and malabsorption of nutrients.
There is no single treatment that works for everyone, therefore it can be difficult to find the trigger. This is why it is important to work with your doctor and track your habits, to discover the cause. Nearly all people with IBS can get help, but no single treatment works for everyone. You and your doctor will need to work together to find the right treatment plan to manage your symptoms.
Although it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact trigger, a few basic changes can make help symptoms improve over time:
Consider food sensitivities and keep track of what you’re eating (common food triggers: dairy, wheat, sugar, corn, citrus, chocolate)
– Limit the cruciferous family vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower.
– Limit or avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking
– Mind-body, mindfulness, and stress reduction techniques such as yoga, counseling, and meditation
– Medication (fiber or bulking agents such as psyllium, antidepressants, probiotics, and laxative for constipation)
Be your own expert.
Nori supports you in being your own expert by assisting you in identifying the culprit of your condition. We will help guide you through discovering, identifying, and taking action to change what is making you sick. It’s not just you, studies show that it can take well over 21 days to build a habit.
The main source of material was adapted from: Lipski, Elizabeth, Ph.D., CCN, CHN: Digestive Wellness 4th Ed. McGraw-Hill; 2012