Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder which is characterized by persistent and recurring abdominal pain, bloating and altered bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation or alternate diarrhea and constipation).
It is a motility disorder that involves the small and large intestine. The intestine appears normal as there is no inflammation or structural changes.

[/expand]Age / Sex of Irritable bowel syndrome

Women are at more risk then men. It is reported in patients before 35 years of age.

Causes of Irritable bowel syndrome

The cause of IBS is not known. The underlying cause of this disorder is an abnormality of the intestinal muscles contraction resulting in altered intestinal motility.

Intestinal motility is altered by the following factors:-
• Stressful conditions are known to aggravate the symptoms of IBS.

• Studies have shown that the IBS has a genetic tendency.

• Dietary allergies or some food sensitivities are one of the factors to cause IBS.Lack of fiber in diet causes irregular contractions of large intestine.Different people sensitivity to different food. Ingestion of the sensitive food triggers the symptoms.

• Reproductive hormones can increase IBS symptoms as it is seen that symptoms get sometimes worse during menstruation.

• Some patients have reported to develop IBS after gall bladder removal or episodes of gastroenteritis.

Irritable bowel syndrome Signs and Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome affects each person differently.Common symptoms are:
• Abdominal cramping and pain that are relieved with bowel movements
• Alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation
• Change in the stool frequency or consistency
• Sensation of incomplete evacuation
• Flatulence
• Passing mucus from the rectum
• Bloating
• Abdominal distension
• Other symptoms may be present in patients with IBS: nausea with or without vomiting, sensation of fullness after a small meal, difficulty in swallowing, heartburn or acid indigestion, pain in chest, urinary urgency, incomplete emptying after urinating, fatigue, malaise and painful sexual intercourse.

Differential diagnosis of Irritable bowel syndrome

• Anxiety Disorders.
• Biliary Disease.
• Food Allergies.
• Endometriosis.
• Ulcerative Colitis.
• Chronic pancreatitis.
• Gastroenteritis.

Investigations for Irritable bowel syndrome

Tests may or may not be required. Diagnosis is made on the basis of presence of particular symptoms. To rule out other problems following tests may be done:
• Blood tests to check for anemia or celiac disease.
• Stool cultures to check for an infection.
• Colonoscopy is needed if,
• Symptoms began over age 50.
• Weight loss occurs or there is presence of blood in stool.

Treatment for Irritable bowel syndrome

Aim of the treatment is to relieve the symptoms.The following steps should be taken such as:
• Changes in the life style.
• Regular exercise.
• Improved sleep habits.
• Changes in diet.
• Avoid having large meals as it causes abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
Instead of having stomach full meal three times a day, eat small meals several times a day.
• Drink plenty of fluids.

Diet / management of Irritable bowel syndrome

• Eat diet that is low in fat, high in carbohydrates and proteins.
• Maintain a food made up of dairy products.Note down the food that you eat and when you get symptoms from particular food, mark it as a trigger food. Next time the diary will help you to skip that food.
• Increase intake of fiber in diet.
• In case of anxiety or depression caused by the disease therapy may be helpful.
• In case of constipation include high fiber, plenty of fluid in diet plan.
• Avoid skipping meals.
• Eat in small quantity but frequent times a day.
• Avoid fatty food, caffeine drinks and alcohol.
• Eliminate the food you are sensitive to.

Prognosis of Irritable bowel syndrome

• It responds well to treatment.
• It does not cause any serious condition to intestine.

Complications of Irritable bowel syndrome

• Hemorrhoids.
• Malnourishment.
• Painful intercourse.

Homeopathic treatment for Irritable bowel syndrome

Kali Phosphoricum:

• There is nervous gone sensation in the pit of the stomach.

• There is vomiting of sour, bitter food and of blood. Empty gone sensation relieved by   eating.
• There is indigestion with nervous depression.

• Cutting and cramping pain occur, making the person bend double or need to lie down and press on the abdomen.
• Cramps may be felt in the area of the pubic bone.
• Pain is likely to be worse just before the diarrhea passes, and after eating fruit or drinking water.
• Problems tend to be aggravated by emotions, especially if indignation or anger has been felt but not expressed.
• Back pain, leg pain, and gall bladder problems are sometimes seen when this remedy is needed.

• Bloating and a feeling of fullness come on early in a meal or shortly after meal.
• Heartburn and stomach pain are common.
• Worse between 4 to 8 p.m.
• Problems with self-confidence, a worried facial expression, a craving for sweets, and a preference for warm drinks are other indications for Lycopodium.

Nux vomica:
• Abdominal pains and bowel problems accompanied by tension, constricting sensations, chilliness, and irritability.
• Soreness in the muscles of the abdominal wall, as well as painful gas and cramps are common.
• Firm pressure on the abdomen brings some relief.

• When constipated, the person has an urge to move the bowels, but only small amounts come out.
• The person may experience a constant feeling of uneasiness in the rectum. After diarrhea has passed, the pain may be easied for a little while.
• Craving for strong spicy foods, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and other stimulants.