Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Abundant medical research has shown the connection between mind and matter:
In many cases, depression can make other conditions worse. Irritable bowel
syndrome - or "IBS," -- is a good example: not only do stress, depression, and
anxiety disorders aggravate IBS, it may also be more common among people who
experienced child abuse. As with many conditions with psychologic factors, the
symptoms are real and have a physiologic basis: colon motility and the increased
sensitivity of the nerves in the colon - play an important role.
no cure for IBS, but patients can often control symptoms through a combination
of diet, stress management and prescription drugs. IBS is rarely debilitating,
but in some cases, it restricts the ability to attend school or social functions,
go to work or even travel short distances.
been called by many names, including colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon,
spastic bowel, and functional bowel disease. Some of these terms are inaccurate.
Colitis, for instance, means inflammation of the large intestine. IBS, however,
does not cause inflammation and should not be confused with another disorder,
ulcerative colitis. There is no evidence that IBS leads to more serious medical
problems such as colitis or cancer or that it affects life span in any way.
However, if left untreated, the symptoms will often persist, leading to pain
IBS changes this process because there is an abnormality in the muscular action. The person with IBS seems to have a colon that is more sensitive and reactive than usual. Otherwise ordinary events (such as eating and distention from gas or other material in the colon) can cause your colon to overreact. Certain medicines and foods, such as chocolate, high-fat foods, milk products, or large amounts of alcohol, may trigger attacks. Caffeine can cause loose stools even in some people without the condition, and it is particularly problematic for people with IBS.
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Created: 5/8/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.