April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month
IBS affects 1 in 7 people and is prevalent in 10-15% of people throughout the world.
What is IBS?
IBS is a disorder that causes repeated abdominal pain associated with diarrhea, constipation, or both but does not cause any identifiable damage or disease of the digestive system.
What causes IBS?
The brain and gut are connected through nerves. The bi-directional interaction between brain and gut is important in maintaining normal intestinal function. In IBS, the normal regulation of the brain and gut interactions becomes altered. This alteration leads to a change in intestinal motility and sensation within the gut. Several factors may play a role in the alteration of the brain and gut communication. Some of these factors are:
- Genetic predisposition (family history of IBS)
- Intestinal infection causing a change in the quantity and type of bacteria in the gut
- Dietary intake leading to increased intestinal muscle reactivity and heightened sensitivity
- Stressful life events or psychosocial factors
Symptoms of IBS:
Abdominal pain associated with diarrhea and/or constipation
- Bloating or a feeling of fullness in the belly
- Urgency to use the restroom
- Mucus in the stool
- Feeling of incompletely passing stool
Treatment for IBS:
No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.
Lifestyle: The first step in treatment for IBS starts with examining your lifestyle. Lifestyle refers to the things in your life that you have control over. Pay attention to whether certain foods, stress, or lack of sleep trigger your symptoms.
Medications: Antispasmodics, laxatives, anti-diarrheal agents, and low dose anti-depressant may be recommended after consulting with your physician.
Probiotics and Antibiotics: Certain probiotics and antibiotics have been studied and have demonstrated a beneficial effect for treating IBS.
Psychological and behavioral therapies: Cognitive behavioral Therapy (CBT), hypnosis, and relaxation therapies are effective in certain individuals to treat IBS.
IBS can affect anyone, adults and children. If you are concerned that you or your child has IBS, speak to your or your child’s physician about being evaluated. If you would like more information about IBS or gastrointestinal (GI) digestive disorders and nutrition in children, please contact Dr. Mona Dave’s Plano Office or Southlake Office.