Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in the world because of its prevalence in people of all ethnicities, but no major clinical and statistical differences have been observed between different populations. It affects approximately 20% of the world’s population.
This pathology is considered a benign course as it can be managed with different therapeutic strategies. However, while it is not a digestive cancer and does not cause fatal complications, it is important to consult a health professional when warning signs are present to determine its diagnosis and treatment.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as irritable bowel syndrome, is a chronic disorder of the digestive system that affects the colon (large intestine). It is characterized by recurrent abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in stool frequency and consistency.
Dr John Torres, general practitioner at Colmedica Medical Centre, said the pathology can occur in all age groups, including children and the elderly, but it mainly affects adults between the ages of 30 and 50 and is less prevalent. high. . The disease affects patients’ quality of life, as symptoms often recur and can persist throughout life. (Read here: Malnutrition, which is on the rise and needs to be prevented)
Risk Factors for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
According to professionals, some of the risk factors associated with the development of IBS are:
– Age: It can occur in any age group, but it is more common in young adults.
– Genetic factors: offspring of patients with chronic and severe irritable bowel symptoms are at risk of developing the disease. However, it has been established that genetic factors do not fully explain the origin of this pathology.
– Gender: Women have a higher risk of developing this disorder compared to men.
– Stress and anxiety: These medications may trigger or worsen symptoms in some people.
– Hormonal changes: In some cases, women experience changes in symptoms related to their menstrual cycle.
– Pre-existing gastrointestinal disorders: People with intestinal infections, gastroenteritis, or other gastrointestinal disorders may be at increased risk.
These symptoms usually come and go and may last a lifetime; symptoms vary from person to person and may include:
– Abdominal pain: This is the main symptom of this disease. It is intermittent, resolves spontaneously, becomes repetitive, and may increase with food intake. It can occur anywhere in the abdomen, but is more common in the lower part.
– Changes in bowel movements, constipation and diarrhea: Patient experiences changes in bowel frequency and stool consistency. Some patients have infrequent defecation, hard stool, and incomplete defecation. Another portion of those affected have more frequent bowel movements than usual, pass liquid stools, and often experience a sense of urgency to have a bowel movement.
– Bloating: is an English term referring to abdominal distension. Excess gas in the intestinal lumen can create a feeling of gas or distension, which can lead to gas, belching, and even symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux.
– Extraintestinal symptoms: Other complaints that patients may experience that do not originate in the gut include: nausea and dyspepsia (defined as epigastric pain or discomfort), heartburn (burning sensation behind the breastbone), reflux (heartburn). Likewise, a feeling of early satiation and bloating is common.
Dr. Torres said there are no laboratory tests or diagnostic images to confirm the disease. Diagnosis is thus based on symptoms reported by patients during their visits, with questions posed to guide the analysis.
Thus, during the consultation, the purpose of the physical examination is to detect serious illnesses that must be identified in order to rule out other health conditions that resemble IBS but are actually manifestations of other, more serious illnesses.
There are a variety of treatment strategies aimed at controlling symptoms, which often must be used concurrently to effectively control disease progression; these include:
– Antispasmodic drugs: they are often used as the initial treatment of the disease and aim to control abdominal pain, which is the main symptom of IBS.
– Antibiotics: for patients with persistent diarrhea not responding to treatment with antispasmodics, antidiarrheals, and antidepressants. Treatment with this type of drug may have to be repeated over time.
– Stimulant laxatives: used in patients with predominantly constipation to promote bowel habit and improve stool consistency.
– Natural Fiber: Regular consumption can improve constipation and relieve abdominal pain. When ingested in large quantities, they can promote flatulence.
– Herbal properties: reduce the feeling of bloating and act as a relaxant of the smooth muscles of the digestive system, helping to manage the painful features of irritable bowel syndrome.
food could be improved
A diet for people with irritable bowel should include whole foods that can help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms. Some options that may be useful are:
– Fruits: Apples, pears, peaches are recommended, they are rich in soluble fiber, which can help relieve constipation and improve bowel regularity.
– Greens and greens: such as beets, carrots, spinach and asparagus. They are a rich source of fiber and nutrients that may support healthy digestion and relieve irritable bowel symptoms.
– Lean proteins: such as chicken, meat, eggs, and low-fat cheeses, can provide important nutrients for people with IBS.
In addition to maintaining a balanced diet, it’s also important to reduce your intake of processed foods and avoid excess foods high in fat, sugar, and additives.
In general, it is important to seek the advice of a health professional when developing persistent symptoms associated with IBS to develop an eating plan tailored to individual needs. Early diagnosis and timely management can help improve the quality of life of people with IBS.