Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and its Treatment

Problem of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Description, Health Effects, Causes, Types, Symptoms, Natural Remedies, Complications and FAQ

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal diseases. It is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, swelling, gas, and diarrhea or constipation or both. IBS is a long-term condition that requires long-term management. 


IBS is defined as the presence of abdominal pain or discomfort with changed bowel habits, in the absence of any other cause of disease. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Its Treatment

Studies have shown that IBS prevalence ranges from 10-15%; however, most of these patients do not seek medical help. The prevalence of IBS is about 21 percent in South America and 7 percent in Southeast Asia (the least count).

In this case women are found to suffer from abdominal pain and constipation especially and on the other hand men are more likely to report diarrhea. The prevalence of IBS also decreases with age. IBS can be divided into more specific diagnosis including:

  1. IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), 
  2. IBS (IBS-C) and
  3. IBS (IBS-M) with mixed bowel pattern. 

Further this article will explain the problem of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other information related to it.

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Factors that can contribute to irritable bowel syndrome are as follows:

  • Muscle contractions in the intestine – The intestinal walls are lined with muscle that contract as food passes through your digestive tract. Stronger than normal and prolonged contractions can lead to gas, swelling and diarrhea. Poor intestinal contractions can slow the food path and lead to hard, dry stool.
  • Serious infections – IBS may develop after a serious conflict with diarrhea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or viruses. IBS may also be associated with an excess of bacteria in the intestine.
  • Changes in intestinal microbes – Examples include changes in bacteria, fungi and viruses, which are usually present in the intestine and play an important role in health. Research suggests that microbes in people with IBS may differ from healthy ones.
  • Nervous system – Nerve abnormalities in your digestive system may cause more discomfort than usual when your stomach is stretched out of gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can cause your body to overreact to changes in the digestive system in general, leading to pain, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Early life stress – People exposed to stressful events, especially in childhood, are more likely to face symptoms of IBS.

IBS types and symptoms

Irritable bowel Syndrome problems can be of the following types –

  1. IBS-C: IBS with constipation (IBS-C) are one of the most common types.  You get it if you have at least 25 percent solid or lumpy stool during abnormal bowel movement days, but stability is less than 25 percent. With this type of IBS, you will experience low bowel movements overall, and you can sometimes stress going when they are there. This can lead to abdominal pain, gas and swelling.
  2. IBS-M: It is a type of IBS with mixed bowel habits it is also sometimes called IBS with variable constipation and diarrhea. If you suffer from this your stool will be hard and watery during abnormal bowel movement days.
  3. IBS-D: This is IBS with diarrhea. More than a quarter of the stool is loose during your abnormal bowel movement days, while less than a quarter is hard and clotting. You may experience abdominal pain and also have more frequent stool tendencies. Excessive gas is also common.
  4. Post-Infectious IBS: Post-infectious IBS (PI-IBS) are the symptoms that occur after your GI infection. After your infection, you may have chronic inflammation with intestinal plant and intestinal nuclear problems. Diarrhea is the most important symptom of PI-IBS. Vomiting can also occur.
  5. IBS after diverticulitis: Diverticulitis occurs when small pounds in the lower part of your large intestine are infected or swollen. This condition can lead to nausea, abdominal pain, and fever, as well as constipation.

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Natural Remedies for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome problems are commonly recommended with clinical treatment. Yet some natural ways or lifestyle changes may provide you some relief in this situation- 

  1. Do Exercise

For many people, exercise is a true way to relieve stress, depression and anxiety – especially when it is applied consistently. Anything that relieves stress can be helpful in bowel discomfort by stimulating regular bowel contractions. If you are not used to exercising, start slowly and process intensely ahead.

  1. Relaxing techniques

Including relaxation techniques in your daily routine can be beneficial for everyone, especially if you are living with IBS. Like-

  • Diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Visualization/positive picture.
  1. High Fiber foods

Eat high fiber foods. Although such foods worsen other symptoms like abdominal pain and gas; However, these are good ways to ease certain symptoms including constipation. High-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and beans can treat IBS if consumed for weeks in small quantities.

  1. Eat dairy products by observing

Some lactose intolerant people are found to have inflammatory bowel symptoms. If you are one of them, you may try to eat yogurt instead of milk – or consider using an enzyme product to help process lactose. Your doctor may recommend avoiding dairy products, in which case you need to ensure that you consume enough protein and calcium from other sources. You can consult a dietician for help in this regard.

  1. Foods to avoid

Some foods may worsen your condition. Like –

  • bean
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • wine
  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • soda
  • Dairy products etc.

Avoid these foods if they seem to have worsened your condition. Foods that are helpful for the digestive system, or contain bacteria, can help prevent certain symptoms of IBS such as swelling and gas. 

IBS may cause abdominal pain, but you may take steps to prevent or reduce symptoms. Controlling your stress and observing your diet are the two best home remedies to relieve IBS symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are unsure about which lifestyle strategies to try or the best way to start them.

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Complications of IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome may have the following problem or complications-

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea can lead to hemorrhoids.
  • Low quality life – Many people with moderate to serious IBS report poor quality of life. Research indicates that people with IBS are three times less present in work than people with no bowel symptoms.
  • Mood disorders – Feeling the symptoms of IBS can lead to depression or anxiety. Depression and anxiety can worsen the IBS situation.


The above article highlighted the problem of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and its treatment along with the information related to it. The information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. 

Also Read: IBS and Treatment (Assamese)


1) What does ‘irritable’ mean?

A- ‘Irritable’ means that the end of the nerve in the intestinal wall (which regulates muscle function and affects the sensation of the intestine) is abnormally sensitive. This means that people with IBS may suffer more than others in normal bowel stimulating conditions – eating food, menstruating, feeling stressed at work, etc., and symptoms may be highlighted here. This makes the nerves and muscles of the intestine more active leading to diarrhea, swelling, or pain and discomfort.

2) What is ‘Rome Criteria’?

A- ‘Rome criteria’ is a classification system that uses specific symptom types to detect effective GI disorders, such as IBS.

3) Is IBS a risk factor for other serious diseases?

A- No chronic biological complications are associated with IBS. After adequate assessment to diagnose IBS, people with the disorder do not need preventive tests more than others.

4) Can menstruation affect IBS symptoms?

A- Intestinal function is seen to be affected by changes in female hormone levels. Symptoms may worsen during certain periods of the cycle, especially during menstruation. Both women with or without IBS are found to suffer more from GI symptoms, such as abdominal pain and bloating, just before and during menstruation. These symptoms are known to be more acute in women with IBS.

5) Does lactose intolerance cause IBS?

A- Lactose intolerance can cause the same symptoms as IBS. Lactose intolerance and IBS can occur at the same time, but they are different diseases that require different management.

6) What foods should people with irritable bowel syndrome avoid?

A- Some foods can act as triggers for IBS symptoms. Doctors often recommend people with IBS to observe their diet to determine what food triggers their symptoms, so they can avoid those kinds of foods. People with IBS are advised to avoid or limit foods that can stimulate the intestine and cause diarrhea, including- 

  • Liquor 
  • Food items containing coffee and caffeine including energy drinks 
  • Dairy products, including- milk, cheese and ice cream 
  • Fatty foods
  • High sugary foods
  • Artificial sweets 
  • Chocolate 
  • Nuts 
  • Insoluble fiber (e.g. in cereals).

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