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Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine or colon.

IBS is considered a chronic condition that you'll need to manage long term.

Important to notate that irritable bowel syndrome usually doesn't cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer.

Signs & Symptoms

The most common symptoms that a patient with IBS will complain include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Bloating that is typically relieved or partially relieved by passing a bowel movement
  • Excess gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation — sometimes alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation
  • Mucus in the stool

Most people with IBS experience times when the signs and symptoms are worse and times when they improve or even disappear completely.

Causes

The precise cause of IBS isn't known. Factors that appear to play a role include:

  • Muscle contraction in the intestine
  • Inflammation in the intestines
  • Nervous system
  • Severe infection
  • Changes in microflora (bacteria) in the intestines

Treatment

Ulcerative colitis treatment usually involves either drug therapy or surgery

Anti-Inflammatory drugs: Are often the first step in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Corticosteroids
  • Oral 5-aminosalicylates

Immune System suppressors: These drugs are focused on reduce inflammation, but they also have effects on your immune system, that is involved on the process of inflammation. For some people, a combination of these drugs works better than one drug alone.

Antibiotics: Antibiotics can reduce the amount of drainage and sometimes heal fistulas and abscesses in people with Crohn's disease. Some researchers also think antibiotics help reduce harmful intestinal bacteria that may play a role in activating the intestinal immune system, leading to inflammation. Frequently prescribed antibiotics include ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and metronidazole (Flagyl).

Other medications:

  • Anti-diarrheal
  • Pain relievers
  • Iron supplements
  • Vitamin b-12 shots
  • Calcium and Vitamin D supplements

Surgery

Surgery can often eliminate ulcerative colitis. But that usually means removing your entire colon and rectum.

In most cases, this involves a procedure called ileal pouch anal anastomosis. This procedure eliminates the need to wear a bag to collect stool. Your surgeon constructs a pouch from the end of your small intestine. The pouch is then attached directly to your anus, allowing you to expel waste relatively normally.

In some cases a pouch is not possible. Instead, surgeons create a permanent opening in your abdomen through which stool is passed for collection in an attached bag.

When to See Your Doctor

See your doctor if you experience a persistent change in your bowel habits or if you have signs and symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in your stool
  • Ongoing diarrhea that fails to respond to OTC medications
  • Diarrhea that awakens you from sleep
  • An unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two

Although ulcerative colitis usually isn't fatal, it's a serious disease that, in some cases, may cause life-threatening complications.

Risk Factors

  • Age young
  • Female
  • Family history
  • Mental health problem (Anxiety-Depression)

Diagnosis

There is no one test to diagnose Crohn's disease.

Your doctor will likely use a combination of tests to help confirm a diagnosis of Crohn's disease, including:

Laboratory Test

  • Test for anemia or infection
  • Stool test

Procedures

  • Colonoscopy
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • Capsule endoscopy