Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders of digestive system producing a spectrum of symptoms such as persistent and recurring abdominal pain associated with passing of motion, change of bowel habit (diarrhea, constipation, or alternate diarrhea and constipation), etc. without any apparent cause.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the disorder of function, which means that the bowel doesn’t work, as it should. If one visualizes the bowel, it appears perfectly normal without any inflammation or other structural changes. In people with IBS, the intestines squeeze too hard or not hard enough and cause food to move too quickly or too slowly through the intestines.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) tends to be mild in most cases; however it can be disabling in some of the severe cases.
  • Most of the patients can manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) well if they learn to control their diet and modify lifestyle along with opting for proper treatment.
  • IBS though affect people of all ages and both the sexes; it is more common in young people; usually in late adolescence or early adulthood. The condition is almost two to three times common in females as compared to males.

What are the causes of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of those diseases whose exact cause continues to evade the medical fraternity even today With aggressive research done in this area over a period of time, scientists have come to the conclusion that the cause of IBS may be multi factorial, the cumulative effect of which results in the derangement of normal functioning of bowel.. Some of these factors include:

1. Psychological factors:

Patients of IBS report of increasing symptoms during the events of stress and many patients with IBS report that their symptoms began during periods of major life stressors such as a divorce, death of a loved one, school exams, or after moving to a new job or city.

Maximum of the patient's exhibit range of emotional disturbance including anxiety, depression, and neurosis.

It is a known fact that our emotions and intestines are interwoven. The brain and the intestines are closely connected by nerve fibers that control the functioning of the intestines. It is believed that in IBS the communication between brain and gut may be impaired.

2. Sensitivity to food:

  • Symptoms of IBS have also been known to be triggered by the ingestion of certain foods to which the individual is sensitive.
  • Chocolate, milk products, caffeine, or large amounts of alcohol are frequent offenders.
    One theory states that lack of fiber in the diet can have detrimental effect. This lack of fiber causes irregular contractions of the large intestines.
  • Bloating and gases may be triggered by the intake of certain vegetables, fruits and carbonated drinks.

3. Genetics and heredity:

  • Some studies indicate that there are more chances of IBS running in a family.
  • It is believed that there are some inborn tendencies of an individual that make him/her react adversely to stress or certain food and resulting in IBS.

4. Other disease conditions:

An acute infection of the intestines (such as infectious diarrhea) can trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms

5. Conventional medicines:

Many patients of IBS report worsening of their symptoms following use of some of the conventional medicines like antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatory medicines etc.

6. Researchers have also found that women with IBS may have more symptoms during their menstrual periods, suggesting that reproductive hormones can increase IBS symptoms

What are the Risk factors of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Inflammatory bowel disease affects about the same number of women and men. Risk factors may include:

  • Age. Inflammatory bowel disease usually begins before the age of 30. But, it can occur at any age, and some people may not develop the disease until their 50s or 60s.
  • Family history. You’re at higher risk if you have a close relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, with the disease.
  • Cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is the most important controllable risk factor for developing Inflammatory Bowel disease. It leads to more-severe symptoms and higher risk of complications.
  • Some pain relievers. These medications include ibuprofen, naproxen (Aleve) and aspirin. These medications have been shown to cause gastrointestinal ulceration and may make existing IBD worse. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) does not have this effect
  • Where you live. If you live in an urban area or in an industrialized country, you’re more likely to develop IBD. Because IBS occurs more often among people living in cities and industrial nations, it may be that environmental factors, including a diet high in fat or refined foods, play a role in IBS.

What are the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disease and the presentation varies from case to case. The duration, severity and type of symptoms are all individual-specific.

In some cases, the symptoms may be mild and persistent at all times. In other cases, the symptoms may come up only during times of stress and then disappear completely.

1. Altered bowel movements/habits:

  • Some people with IBS have constipation (difficult or infrequent bowel movements, hard stools); others have diarrhea (frequent loose stools, often with an urgent need to move the bowels); and some people experience both, for example several weeks of constipation followed by a few days of diarrhea.
  • The diarrhea typically occurs immediately after a meal or when getting up in the morning. Sometimes people with IBS pass mucus with their bowel movements.

2. Abdominal pain and cramps:

  • The abdominal discomfort of an irritable bowel ranges from sharp, cramp to a continuous, dull ache.
  • Common sites of pain include the lower abdomen, specifically the left lower quadrant. Meals may precipitate pain while pain is commonly relieved by defecation.

3. Gas formation, bloating, and abdominal distention:

4. Urgency:

  • Sometimes the person with IBS has a cramp and an urge to move the bowels but cannot do so.

5. Sensation of incomplete evacuation:

  • The patient feels like he still needs to have a bowel movement after he has already had one.(incomplete evacuation)

6. Extra-colonial symptoms:

  • Nausea (with or without vomiting), feeling full after eating only a small meal, difficulty swallowing, a sensation of a lump in the throat or a closing of the throat, heartburn or acid indigestion, chest pain, sensation of urinary urgency, incomplete emptying after urinating, fatigue and generalized body ache or muscular pains, and pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Bleeding, fever, weight loss, and persistent severe pain are not symptoms of IBS but may indicate other problems.
  • Homoeopathy effectively manages various symptoms of IBS gently and safely.

How is Inflammatory Bowel syndrome diagnosed?

  1. Physical examination:
  2. Tests:
  • Blood tests: To detect, iron deficiency anemia or Infections.
  • Stool sample: WBC's in stools indicates of IBS
  • Colonoscopy
  • X-Ray
  • Barium enema
  • Endoscopy
  • MRI

How does Homeopathy treat IBS?

IBS) can have significant impact on individual’s social, personal, and professional life.
Homeopathy offers proven treatment for the IBS which treats the Mind and Body connections.

IBS calls for the treatment which should address the emotional stress, the stress coping system and the intestinal hypersensitivity. This is what homeopathy attempts doping exactly.

The scientific and documented study shows that the homeopathic treatment helps achieve:

ü Soothing of mind

ü Slowing down of negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness, frustration, hyperactivity, anger, restlessness, etc.

ü Helping body’s stress coping system

ü Alleviating the abnormal hypersensitivity of the bowels

ü Relieving the symptoms of bowel hyper motility

ü Enhancing level of joyous state of mind

ü Individualistic approach whereby every patient is treated based on one’s case

The Homeopathy medicine works at the deeper level, bringing the deviations of harmony among various systems of body back to normalcy. The homeopathic medicine establishes a good communication between the brain and the gut thus ensuring proper relay of signals.

The positive outcome of this is that the motility of intestines becomes regular and rhythmic thus relieving complaints of either diarrhea or constipation or both.

Moreover, Homeopathy improves the pain threshold of individual thus alleviating symptoms of pain and cramps associated with IBS.

Homeopathy medicines work at deeper level of an individual to root out root causes.

The two factors that are triggering causes of IBS are emotional stress and exaggerated sensitivity to food items.

Homeopathy has very well perceived the influences of psyche on the physique of an individual. Homeopathy medicines positively influences the emotions and thinking of an individual so that the person can cope with stress optimistically. Homeopathy medicines have proven efficacy to manage mental stress and its offshoots like IBS.

Moreover Homeopathy medicines aid in minimizing food sensitivities and allergies.