Jun 15, 2014
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Spastic Colon.
Incidence. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a very common bowel complaint. Some surveys put this figure as high as one person in every five may suffer from some degree of IBS at some stage during their lives. It is twice as common among women than men and has a peak incidence among those aged between 20 and 30 years of age.
Causes of IBS or Spastic Colon:
• The pain, bloating and discomfort arising from IBS is caused by the muscles running along the large bowel going into spasm giving rise to the sufferer experiencing abdominal cramps diarrhoea and constipation. Why these muscles go into spasm is not clear.
• Some doctors harbour a certain enmity towards those suffering from IBS. These doctors may feel that the patient is causing the problem, is exaggerating the problem or using it to gain attention and sympathy. These attitudes are, if anything shored up by the fact that IBS has no diagnostic markers or tests to prove its existence. It has to be diagnosed on history alone. These negative attitudes coming for doctors are of course very unfortunate and of little help to the sufferer.
• An acute attack of gastroenteritis may precipitate Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
• Psychological factors such as anxiety or depression.
Diagnosing Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
The diagnosis of IBS is done on clinical presentation alone. There is no blood test, laboratory finding, X-ray or scope finding that is specific to this condition. This makes it a bit like Fibromyalgia and Prostatitis. These are also condition for which there are no tests or markers and therefore, like IBS, conditions vulnerable to medical scepticism as to there existence. IBS is often a diagnosis of exclusion. By this is meant that a diagnosis of IBS is only reached when everything else has been ruled out.
Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
In many ways the treatment of IBS can be divided into two separate approaches. There is (A) the conventional medical approach and (B) the alternative or complimentary medical approach.
• Conventional Medicine. If your Irritable Bowel Syndrome is being treated by a conventional medical doctor then the chances are that you will be put on an array of prescription drugs in an effort to dampen down the symptoms as distinct from getting at the underlying cause. These medicines may include sedatives, antidepressants, antispasmodics and anti-diarrhoea medicines. The chances are that none of these will work.
• Alternative or complimentary medicine. This approach to managing or even curing Irritable Bowel Syndrome is aimed at understanding the underlying cause of the disease rather that just treating its symptoms. It may involve a good deal of trial and error, a good deal of time and effort and be advanced as a joint venture between doctor and patient. It will involve an open mind and of course an acceptance that IBS is real. Identifying food allergy, food sensitivity and bacterial overgrowth are pivotal to this approach.
If you are troubled by the symptoms of IBS, are not happy with your current treatments and are seeking some guidance in this regards then we are here to help you.