18% of people worldwide. This condition involves changes in frequency or form of bowel movements and lower abdominal pain. Diet, stress, poor sleep and changes in gut bacteria may all trigger symptoms. However, triggers are different for each person, making it difficult to name specific foods or stressors that everyone with the disorder should avoid.
1. Pain and Cramping
Abdominal pain is the most common symptom and a key factor in diagnosis. Normally, your gut and brain work together to control digestion. This happens via hormones, nerves and signals released by the good bacteria that live in your gut. In IBS, these cooperative signals become distorted, leading to uncoordinated and painful tension in the muscles of the digestive tract.This pain usually occurs in the lower abdomen or the entire abdomen but is less likely to be in the upper abdomen alone. Pain typically decreases following a bowel movement. Other treatments include bowel relaxants like peppermint oil, cognitive behavior therapy and hypnotherapy. For pain that doesn’t respond to these changes, a gastroenterologist can help you find a medication specifically proven to ease IBS pain.
Diarrhea-predominant IBS is one of the three main types of the disorder. It affects roughly one-third of patients with IBS. A study of 200 adults found that those with diarrhea-predominant IBS had, on average, 12 bowel movements weekly more than twice the amount of adults without IBS. Accelerated bowel transit in IBS can also result in a sudden, immediate urge to have a bowel movement. Some patients describe this as a significant source of stress, even avoiding some social situations for fear of a sudden onset of diarrhea. Additionally, stool in the diarrhea-predominant type tends to be loose and watery and may contain mucus.
Although it seems counterintuitive, IBS can cause constipation as well as diarrhea. Constipation-predominant IBS is the most common type, affecting nearly 50% of people with IBS. Altered communication between the brain and bowel may speed up or slow down the normal transit time of stool. When transit time slows, the bowel absorbs more water from stool, and it becomes more difficult to pass. Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week
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