The digestive system is composed of different organs. These organs function specifically, but works in unison in order to carry out the system’s purposes, which are to digest or metabolize food and absorb all the nutrients found in it for the body to use. However, the digestive system could also suffer from various kinds of ailments and disorders. It is in fact, one of the systems in the body that are considered always at high risk for health problems. One of the most common conditions experienced by our GIT or gastrointestinal tract is called the irritable bowel disorder or syndrome. But what is irritable bowel disorder?
Defining Irritable Bowel Disorder
Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a type of disorder that is commonly characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation and as well as diarrhea. IBS can actually cause severe discomfort or distress; however, this condition does not harm the intestines permanently and does not cause any serious diseases such as cancer. In fact, most people with this condition can control the symptoms simply through the modification of their diet and through stress management. IBS also has prescribed medications in order to treat or manage the severity of the symptoms. Nevertheless, some people still find IBS to be disabling since it can still affect their work lives and can also disrupt our simple daily routines.
According to recent statistics, IBS or IBD already affect 20% of the total population of American adults. In other words, 1 out of 5 Americans is expected to have the symptoms of IBS making it one of the most common disorders diagnosed by physicians. Although it can affect anyone regardless of gender; IBS is known to affect women more compared to men. This also begins before the age of 35 in approximately 50% of people with the said condition.
Discussing the Symptoms of IBS
What are the symptoms of IBS? There are actually a lot of symptoms that can entail this kind of digestive disorder. Some of the most common include abdominal pain or discomfort as well as bloating. Nevertheless, the symptoms can vary depending on person to person. Some can also experience constipation due to the hard stools that are difficult to pass because of the infrequency of bowel movements. Other people with IBS also report symptoms like straining and cramping during bowel movement without any success of eliminating the stool. Diarrhea is another possible symptoms experienced in IBS. Diarrhea is the frequent passage of loose and watery stools, which can be due to the high motility of the intestines. Some can even have alternating diarrhea and constipation which is interesting since both symptoms are somewhat opposite to the other. These symptoms usually subside for a few months and then eventually return while others can suffer constant and worsening symptoms over time.
Identifying the Possible Causes of IBS
Just like any other disorder or disease, IBS can also be caused by many different factors. However, there is still no data to support what exactly is the specific cause of the condition. One particular theory suggests that IBS can be a result from the oversensitivity of the colon to certain types of foods and stresses. Aside from this, experts also consider the immune system to play a role in the occurrence of IBS. In some studies, normal motility or movement is absent in a colon affected by the disorder. This can be spasmodic or can also stop working temporarily. These spasms are recognized as strong muscle contractions that usually come and go.
The lining of the colon is called the epithelium. This lining can be affected by the immune and nervous systems, which regulates the flow of fluids in and out of the colon. In the IBS condition, the epithelium tends to work normally or properly. Nevertheless, when the contents located inside the colon moves too quickly, the colon can lose its ability to absorb the fluids. This results to the increase of fluids in the colon. In other situations, the movements in the colon are too slow, which gives more time for the large intestine to absorb all the fluids. This can lead to the hardening of the stools, which is indicative of constipation. The colon’s response can strongly be affected by the types of foods we eat as well as the stresses we are undergoing. This however, is usually not bothered by people with IBS, which can lead to the severity of the symptoms.
These are some of the important facts and details pertaining to the GIT condition known as irritable bowel disorder or syndrome (IBD/S). Even though it is mentioned above that IBD cannot complicate to serious diseases like cancer, it is still important for us to take the matter seriously and provide immediate interventions in order for us not to suffer from its awful symptoms and as well as to prevent the condition from worsening.