Gastrointestinal Diseases

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
It is a common chronic health condition that affects the large intestine (colon), causes abdominal cramps and flatulence (gaseous distention) In addition to a change in the movement pattern of intestinal lumen, it can affect anyone at any age it also varies symptoms from person to another, it is classified as a functional digestive disorder because this causes a defect in the movement pattern of intestinal lumen without a clear cause or effect of its existence.

Until now, there is no clear cause for its infection, but it is believed that it is caused by a combination of several factors together, including:

  • An imbalance between nerve signals in the digestive tract and the brain.
  • Problems with the gastrointestinal tract movement.
  • Overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria, which is a number increase or change in bacteria type in the small intestine.
  • After a severe infection (eg: salmonella or viruses).
  • Heredity.
  • Food allergy
  • Some psychological problems such as: depression, anxiety, and others.

Risk factors:

  • Age where it affects the teenage years till the forties.
  • Family history
  • Sex (Gender): The incidence of infection in women is twice as high as that of men.
  • Psychological problems such as: anxiety, depression, family violence, some personality disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.


  • Abdominal cramps and epigastric pain are often associated with intestine movements, changes in intestine movements.
  • Anorexia.
  • Feeling of excessive fullness.
  • Feeling bloated (fullness with gas) Gaseous Distention.
  • Diarrhea, Constipation, or both.
  • White mucus in the stool.

When to see a doctor:
When there are symptoms that may indicate a serious problem, such as:

  • Rectal (anal) bleeding or bloody diarrhea.
  • Losing weight for no reason.
  • Hard lump or swelling in abdomen.
  • Shortness of breath (Difficult breathing), noticeable heartbeats (palpitations) and pale skin.


  • Hemorrhoids (due to frequent diarrhea or constipation).
  • Malnutrition.
  • lower standard of life.

Diagnosis is often based on ruling out other similar problems or diseases, and on the tests that may be done to do this:

  • Clinical examination.
  • Medical history.
  • Laboratory analysis: CBC and stool analysis.
  • Other tests: X-rays, CT scans, colonoscopy, lactose tolerance test, a hydrogen breath test to check for overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria.

Since there is no clearly established cause, treatment is often based on relieving symptoms. In order to be able to live with it, as most of the symptoms can be controlled in simple cases by making some lifestyle adjustments, and in the event that the case is more difficult and the symptoms become more severe, the doctor may prescribe some medications to alleviate them, such as:

  • Fiber supplements.
  • Antidiarrheals.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Antispasmodics.
  • Antibiotics.

Knowing the irritating factors of the colon and avoiding them.

Fiber and Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
Fiber may improve constipation in IBS because it makes the stool soft and easy to pass, as for flatulence and gases, it may increase, there two types of fibers:

  • Soluble fiber: Which is found in beans, fruits, and oats.
  • Insoluble fiber: Which is found in whole grain products and vegetables.

As research indicates that soluble fiber is more beneficial in relieving IBS symptoms.

Tips for people with irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Avoid foods that may irritate the colon, such as: caffeine (tea, coffee, and energy drinks), sugars, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, high-fat foods, and chewing gum.
  • Avoid some foods that contain carbohydrates that are hard to digest.
  • Avoid foods that increase gas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage).
  • Make sure to eat meals regularly.
  • Caution when eating dairy products for people with lactose intolerance.
  • Drink more fluids, especially water.
  • Regular physical activity to reduce stress and stimulate the natural contractions of the intestine muscles.
  • Reducing stress, through deep breathing, relaxation, and others.
  • Smoking cessation.

Last Update : 23 August 2023 03:10 PM
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