What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome and How Could You Solve This?

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome and How Could You Solve This?

Apr 5, 2017

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most frequent digestive tract disorders encountered by general practitioners and gastroenterologists. According to World Gastroenterology Organization, IBS is defined as a functional bowel disorder in which abdominal pain or discomfort is associated with defecation and/or a change in bowel habit. Abdominal discomfort (cramping), bloating, flatulence and disordered defecation (diarrhea or constipation) are some common associated symptoms. The symptoms vary between individuals and affect some people more severely than others. IBS mainly occurs between the ages of 15 and 65 years and the prevalence is greater in women.

According to the diagnostic criteria (Rome III criteria), IBS may be subtyped or subclassified on the basis of the patient’s stool characteristics, as defined by the Bristol Stool Scale as follow:

IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D):

  • Loose stools > 25% of the time and hard stools < 25% of the time
  • Up to one-third of cases
  • More common in men

IBS with constipation (IBS-C):

  • Hard stools > 25% of the time and loose stools < 25% of the time
  • Up to one-third of cases
  • More common in women

IBS with mixed bowel habits or cyclic pattern (IBS-M):

  • Both hard and soft stools > 25% of the time
  • One-third to one-half of cases

Un-subtyped IBS

  • Insufficient abnormality of stool consistency to meet criteria IBS-C or M

IBS is not life-threatening, and it does not lead to other colon conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or colon cancer. But IBS can be a long-lasting problem that changes how a person live their life. What are the causes of IBS? While there are several things known to trigger IBS symptoms, but the exact causes remain unknown. Studies suggest that IBS happens might due to digestion problems, increased sensitivity of the gut and disturbance on the gut microbiota.

IBS can be improved over time with a few basic changes in diet and activities are needed. Caffeine-containing drinks and dairy products should be avoided. Add more fiber to the diet like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Consume probiotic and drink at least three to four glasses of water per day. Keep a record on the foods that have eaten to figure out which foods trigger IBS. Common foods that trigger IBS are red pepper, green onions, red wine and cow’s milk. Finally, learn to be relaxed, either by getting more exercise or by reducing stress in the daily life.

Below is an assessment on IBS. If you have 3 or more YES and the symptoms present for at least 3 times a month in the past 3 months, you may have from IBS.

  • Abdominal pain is relieved after visiting the toilet
  • Abdominal bloating and discomfort
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Alternating constipation and diarrhea
  • Urge to poop or incomplete bowel emptying
  • Mucus discharge
  • Straining to poop
  • Gastrointestinal wind
  1. IBIS Irritable Bowel Information & Support Association of Australia. Available at http://www.ibis-australia.org/
  2. Quigley, E., Fried, M., & Gwee, K. A. (2009). Irritable bowel syndrome: a global perspective. World Gastroenterology Organization.
  3. Ratini, M. (2016). Irritable Bowel Syndrome. [Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/ibs/guide/digestive-diseases-irritable-bowel-syndrome#2-3, 10th April 2017]