Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Causes of IBS
While the root cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not known, research indicates that a Western-style diet may be a major influencer. Western diets commonly consist of highly processed foods that are low in fiber, which impair digestion. It is also believed that poorly transmitted signals between the brain and intestines play a role in the development of IBS, as well as small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO).
Symptoms of IBS
The symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are usually not serious, but their severity varies depending on the individual. Some of the most common symptoms of IBS include bloating, excessive flatulence, abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea and constipation, and mucus in the stool. At times, individuals with IBS might feel an uncontrollable urge to pass stool or that the colon is not empty after completing a bowel movement. In serious cases, rectal bleeding or severe abdominal pain may occur.
Long-term effects of IBS
While most people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome do not receive treatment, they are still affected by the condition every day. When symptoms increase in frequency or severity, IBS can make even the simplest activity difficult to complete. Frequent constipation or diarrhea can lead to hemorrhoids or diverticulitis. Over time, affected individuals may become depressed due to heavy stress and embarrassment. A small percentage of individuals with IBS develop anorexia to avoid the pain associated with eating.
Remedies for IBS
Proper food combining is paramount to IBS management, as most affected individuals have a laundry list of foods that trigger symptoms. Perhaps just as important, proper stress management is key for people with IBS. Therapy may be required for individuals who develop depression or other emotional symptoms.