Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder in the digestive tract. IBS itself can disappear and then reappear casually until an indefinite period of time.

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Until now the cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is not known with certainty, but many studies link IBS with the nervous system. A person suffering from IBS has a large intestine that reacts very strongly to signals from the brain.

The following are some things that might trigger irritable bowel syndrome are:

1. Genetic

Irritable bowel syndrome may be more common in those who have a history of illness in family members.

2. Patterns and ways of consuming food

If you eat food too fast or too slowly to digest in the digestive tract, it can cause constipation or diarrhea. Meanwhile, certain foods or drinks that are difficult to digest, for example those foods with high levels of fat, acid, sugar or carbohydrates.

3. Psychological problems

IBS can also be caused by stress, anxiety and depression.

4. Hormone problems

Irritable bowel syndrome can occur due to hormonal changes such as the menstrual cycle. Changes in levels of hormones or chemicals in the body play a role in transmitting nerve signals.

5. Gastrointestinal infections

Gastrointestinal infections such as salmonella or changes in the condition of normal bacteria in the small intestine.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Symptoms of IBS are more common in young women under the age of 50 years. When relapsing, Irritable bowel syndrome can occur for several days or occur for several months.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:

  • Stomach cramps or pain.
  • Bloated
  • Stomach feels filled with gas.
  • Defecation habits (BAB) change, often changing from diarrhea to constipation.
  • Changes in stool frequency or consistency.
  • Disorders (flatulence).
  • Mucus discharge from the rectum.
  • Abdominal distension.
  • Loss of appetite.

If someone has irritable bowel syndrome where the symptoms they experience are accompanied by weight loss without cause, shortness of breath, palpitations, bumps in the abdomen or bloody bowel movements, then you should immediately visit a doctor.

Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A person suffering from irritable bowel syndrome is suspected by doctors when they complain of digestive problems that have lasted for at least three months.

Some further tests are usually done by a doctor, including:

1. Stool samples

Stool examination is needed to see bacterial or parasitic infections.

2. Blood test

Blood test aims to determine whether there are other conditions that have similar symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease.

3. Imaging and endoscopy

Another diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is X-ray or CT scan. In addition, another way that can be used is endoscopy, which includes inserting a camera tube through the mouth or rectum to see the state of the digestive tract, and detecting possible infections or other structures.

In addition to the above, a combination of extracting medical history, physical examination, and selected examinations can be used to help diagnose Irritable Bowel Syndrome. No blood test or X-ray alone can confirm the diagnosis of IBS.

Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Home treatments for IBS include avoiding certain foods that trigger or worsen diarrhea, avoiding foods that make bloating and gases such as cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower, wasabi, kale, and broccoli), and peas (such as black beans, edamame, soybeans, and fava beans).

Other independent treatments that can be done at home to relieve IBS symptoms include adding fiber to food, drinking lots of water, avoiding soda, eating smaller portions of food, and eating low-fat and high-carbohydrate foods.

Here are some other ways you can overcome Irritable Bowel Syndrome, including:

1. Exercise regularly

The easiest way to handle irritable bowel syndrome is to exercise. Sports such as aerobics or cycling can increase bowel movements and reduce stress levels.

2. Reducing stress levels

In addition to sports that are believed to overcome irritable bowel syndrome, other good activities that you can do are doing massages and meditation to reduce stress. If this method has not overcome complaints, you can do psychotherapy.

3. Consuming probiotics

Consumption of probiotic supplements is needed to help nourish the digestive system from irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can restore the balance of bacteria in the intestine.

4. Taking medication

Some medicines that can be used in people with IBS:

  • Laxative.
  • Fiber supplement.
  • Antidiarrheal (example: loperamide).
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (example: amitriptyline).
  • Anticholinergics (example: hyoscine butylbromide).

Meanwhile, new drugs for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (an IBS subtype called IBS-D) are also being developed or are in clinical trials. The most promising drugs include:

  • Serotonin synthesis inhibitors can help reduce pain and improve stool consistency.
  • Ramosetron, similar to alosetron (Lotronex). This drug is reported to relieve symptoms with slight constipation.
  • Spherical carbon sinks help deal with short-term pain and bloating, but there is no increase in stool consistency.
  • Benzodiazepine receptor modulators (dextofisopam) have the potential to reduce colonic motility and intestinal sensitivity reactions in response to stress.
  • Peripheral k-agonists (asimadoline, kappa-opioid agonists) in clinical trials and show reduced frequency of pain, urgency and feces.

The important thing to watch out for is to visit a doctor immediately if there is a change in bowel movements continuously or if you have some of the symptoms of IBS as previously described.

Because irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic (long-term) disease, symptoms that appear usually return from time to time. This condition may be influenced by diet, stress or the environment.

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