What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the bowel. It affects 15 to 20% of the population and is one of the leading causes of absenteeism from work. IBS is twice as common in women and often affected by the hormonal changes of menstruation. Symptoms of IBS come and go with attacks lasting from days to months. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating or a feeling of fullness
- Irregular bowel movements alternating between diarrhoea and constipation
The cause of IBS is not known. What is known is that individuals with IBS have an oversensitive bowel.
There is no single test for diagnosing IBS. It is often necessary to do tests to exclude other conditions with similar symptoms.
What treatment is available for IBS?
There is no cure for IBS but you can do a lot to help yourself.
- Identifying factors that aggravate your symptoms so they can be avoided through diet and lifestyle changes.
- Reducing stress or finding ways to cope with stress.
- Treating abdominal pain, cramps and spasm with antispasmodic agents such as Mintec (Enteric coated peppermint oil)
- Controlling constipation by increasing fibre, fluid, and exercise.
- Controlling diarrhoea with antidiarrhoeal medications such as Diareze Tablets.
- To help reduce flatulence try Charcocaps, Charcotabs or Gasbusters.