What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS, is a digestive disorder that affects the large intestine and colon. Common symptoms with IBS include abdominal pain, diarrhea, cramping, gas, constipation and bloating. Although these symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, they do not damage the intestinal tract. IBS doesn’t increase the risk of colorectal cancer or cause inflammation in the bowel tissues.
Symptoms of IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is chronic for most patients; however, the symptoms may vary and sometimes the symptoms may disappear altogether. The most common symptoms are abdominal cramping and pain that is not relieved by over the counter pain medications. Many patients may experience bloating when IBS is active. Others may experience flatulence that is not relieved with medicine. IBS may also result in alternating diarrhea and constipation with mucus appearing in their stools. Many of the IBS symptoms also resemble symptoms of other diseases, including cancer, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Researchers believe age, sex and heredity play a key role in IBS. Most sufferers begin to experience symptoms before midlife. Additionally, those who have a sibling or parent with IBS have an increased risk of developing this digestive disorder. More women are diagnosed with IBS than men.
Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The exact cause of IBS remains unknown. In a healthy digestive system, the muscles in the intestines relax and contract in rhythm to help food move from the stomach through the intestinal tract. In some IBS sufferers, the muscle contractions are stronger and last longer resulting in gas, bloating and diarrhea. For others the muscles tend to remain relaxed which slows down the passage of food through the digestive tract, making stools dry and hard
IBS may also be caused by an abnormal nervous system, digestive tract issues, or hormonal imbalances. For instance, IBS patients may have a hormone imbalance of serotonin. This important chemical is essential for normal digestion. Others may have a compromised digestive tract that is low in good bacteria. This is common for those suffering with Candida overgrowth.
There may be certain triggers that can cause IBS to escalate. These triggers include food, stress, medications or hormones. Some people experience worsening symptoms after eating certain foods. Alcohol, chocolate and milk may cause diarrhea or constipation, while fruits, sodas and vegetable may cause gas and bloating. If IBS worsens after eating certain food items such as dairy, nuts or gluten, food intolerance may be the cause. Stress along with hormonal changes can also exacerbate symptoms. When patients become stressed, stomach acids can increase and muscles can tense causing diarrhea and flatulence. More women suffer with IBS than men, leading scientists and physicians to believe that hormones play a role in irritable bowel syndrome. During a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, hormones fluctuate and can result in an increase in irritable bowel symptoms.
Rose Wellness' IBS Treatment
At Rose Wellness Center, we take great pride in being a warm and friendly place where patients feel comfortable and look forward to their treatment. The practitioners at Rose Wellness Center have been helping hundreds of patients with digestive disorders and IBS treatment in Northern Virginia over the past ten years.
We use a functional medicine approach to help identify root causes of our patients’ IBS symptoms. Each patient is unique; our integrative physician specializing in digestive health issues creates a customized treatment plan based on your health history and results of specialty lab tests.
During your initial visit, our integrative physician will spend time discussing your family history, lifestyle, diet and all other aspects of your life. Plan to spend about two hours during your initial visit. The physician may order a variety of tests, including food intolerance tests, saliva tests and blood tests to determine the cause of your digestive disorder.
Additional Resourceshttp://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders http://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/digestive_disorders
Feeling bloated or constipated? Are you suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Virginia? Please call us at (571)529-6699 and set up an appointment with our integrative physician.
We gladly serve Northern Virginia including Fairfax, Loudoun, Alexandria, and Prince William counties, Washington DC metro area, and Maryland.