Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Description: Is part of a spectrum of diseases known as functional gastrointestinal disorders which include diseases such as noncardiac chest pain, nonulcer dyspepsia and chronic constipation or diarrhoea. These diseases are all characterised by chronic or recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms for which no structural or biochemical cause can be found; also known as mucous colic, spastic colon and irritable colitis.

Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes. IBS exhibits a predominance in women, with females representing over 70% of IBS sufferers.

Organ or part of body involved: Bowel

Symptoms and indications:
Pain and discomfort in the abdomen, which changes location, disturbed bowel movements with diarrhoea, then normal movements or constipation, heartburn and a bloated feeling due to wind. These symptoms are produced without any signs of structural disorder or obvious cause.

Causes and risk factors: There are really five main fundamental causes of IBS. The modern-day, fast-food diet is definately one of them. Refined foods that are hard to digest contribute to many symptoms of poor digestion. Second, poor stress-coping mechanisms trigger nervous system reactions that contribute to IBS. Unresolved emotional traumas can have this negative effect as well. Thrid, chronic infections of the digestive tract with candida, parasites, and bacteria can be causative factors. Fourth, poorly functioning digestive organs contribute to IBS symptoms. These include dysbiosis, where there is a deficiency of the good bacteria that are involved with digestion and detoxification. The fifth cause, and the least common, is a structural abnormality of some type. Spinal misalignments, for example, impair nerve flow to the digestive tract, which contributes to digestive problems.

Prevention: In many people who have IBS, eating may trigger symptoms. However, for most people, there is not a particular type of food that triggers symptoms. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can help control constipation. High-fiber foods include fresh fruits (raspberries, pears, apples), fresh vegetables (peas, brussels sprouts), wheat bran, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Beans such as kidney, pinto, and garbanzo are also high-fiber foods, but they should probably be avoided if gas is one of your symptoms. You can take steps to reduce the possibility that certain foods will cause symptoms, such as avoiding or limiting gas-producing foods (including beans and cabbage), sugarless chewing gum and candy, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and tobacco.

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