IBS Causes

The exact cause of IBS is unknown. An abnormally sensitive immune system or a hypersensitive colon are possible culprits. A previous bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract is the main cause of postinfectious IBS. Other causes of irritable bowel syndrome include

  • Sluggish or spastic bowel movements
  • A disturbed serotonin level in the colon that impairs intestinal motility
  • Imbalance of intestinal bacteria

However, you can avoid some causes of IBS, such as dairy products or foods containing gluten.

IBS triggers

IBS symptoms vary from person to person and can be triggered by different foods or environmental factors. According to a 2017 study, IBS triggers include the following factors

  • Frequent food poisoning
  • Being born female
  • Excessive use of antibiotics
  • Anxiety or depressive disorders
  • Disorder with somatic symptoms

However, some of the most common foods that trigger IBS are:

  • Fried and fatty foods
  • Dairy products
  • Foods containing wheat or gluten
  • Excess dietary fiber
  • Chocolates
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Coffee
  • Alcoholic beverages

If you avoid these IBS triggers, you can manage your IBS without medication.

How do I know which foods trigger my IBS?

At first, it may be difficult to figure out which foods trigger IBS in you. You can keep a diary for a month, noting the foods you eat and your bowel activity. This can help you understand the foods that trigger IBS. You can keep a diary to understand how your gut reacts to different foods. This will help you figure out which foods trigger your IBS and which ones make it worse.

What are the worst fruits for IBS?

Here is the list of fruits that are among the ten worst foods for IBS.

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Watermelon
  • Figs
  • Mangos
  • Plums
  • Grapes

Swap out these foods that trigger IBS the most for low-FODMAP fruits.

IBS symptoms

IBS is a bowel condition that causes constipation, diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. With IBS, you may feel sick after eating and better after going to the bathroom. If you are bloated, your stomach may feel full and enlarged. Symptoms of IBS can vary, but the most common are:

  • Abdominal discomfort, such as bloating and cramping, that occurs during bowel movements
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Constipation, alternating with loose stools
  • Frequent bowel movements or urge to defecate
  • Feeling of incomplete evacuation of stool
  • Increase in flatulence or mucus in the stool

For some people, IBS symptoms do not last for a long period of time. Instead, they get better for a while and then reappear. If IBS keeps coming back or keeps bothering you with its symptoms, treatment is essential. To learn more about IBS symptoms and treatment, read on.

Where is IBS pain found?

IBS pain can occur anywhere in the abdomen, but most sufferers complain of cramps in the lower abdomen.

What do your bowel movements look like with IBS?

The appearance of stool can vary depending on the type of IBS. For example, IBS-C stools may be hard, lumpy and painful. IBS-D stools, on the other hand, may be watery, greenish or yellowish.

IBS symptoms in women in the early stages

IBS can affect anyone, but women are more commonly affected than men. Women are 1.5 to 3 times more likely to be affected than men.

Constipation is the first symptom in the early stages of IBS in women, characterized by hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass. In addition, women with IBS often suffer from diarrhea shortly before their menstrual periods. Other symptoms of IBS in women include lower urinary tract symptoms such as increased frequency, incontinence and pain during urination. Pelvic organ prolapse causes back pain in women with IBS. All of these IBS symptoms in women need to be treated if they last longer than three months.

IBS types

The different types of IBS have different triggers and severity. The 4 types of IBS are:

  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C): Stools are usually lumpy and firm.
  • IBS-D: The stool is watery and loose.
  • IBS-M: This type may have loose and watery stools and hard, lumpy stools on the same day.
  • Indeterminate subtype (IBS-U): In this type, symptoms vary.

What is the most common type of IBS?
IBS D is characterized by abdominal discomfort and loose stools with increased frequency. IBS C is characterized by hard, lumpy stools with bloating and cramping. However, IBS-D is the more common of the two forms.

What is the main trigger of IBS-D?
Wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk and carbonated beverages are some of the triggers of IBS. Although foods play a significant role in triggering IBS, increased stress worsens symptoms.

What is the main trigger of IBS-C?
IBS-C is mainly triggered by an intestinal infection that changes the stool pattern.

What is the difference between IBS-D and IBS-C?
In IBS-D, stools are usually watery and loose because there is too much fluid in the intestines. In IBS-C, on the other hand, stools are usually hard because the intestines absorb more water.

IBS diagnosis

Infection-related IBS can be diagnosed with certainty in adults at later stages with antibody tests. However, for other forms of IBS, a thorough history, physical exam, and tests to rule out other conditions are likely the first steps your doctor will take.

The doctor may recommend tests to look for infections and inflammatory bowel disease based on a stool sample. They may also do some blood tests to check for anemia. Sometimes your doctor will order a colonoscopy if they suspect colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease or cancer is the cause of your symptoms.

Rome criteria: These include having stomach discomfort and pain at least once a week on average for the past three months. These IBS diagnostic criteria must also include the following

  • Pain and discomfort during bowel movements
  • Changes in the frequency of bowel movements
  • Changes in stool consistency

Your doctor will likely use these IBS diagnostic standards after ruling out other conditions.

How do you test for IBS in adults?

There are two IBS tests. Two antibodies are known to be elevated in patients with postinfectious IBS. They are measured with IBSchek and IBS-Smart. This IBS test kit measures the levels of two antibodies, anti-CdtB and anti-vinculin, that are known to be elevated in patients with post-infectious IBS (IBS-D or IBS-M).

The immune response to the toxin CdtB, produced by the most common bacteria that cause food poisoning, leads to the development of anti-CdtB. Anti-vinculin is an autoimmune response to the protein vinculin, which is necessary for normal intestinal function. Two blood antibodies (anti-CdtB and anti-vinculin) are known to be elevated in individuals with post-infectious IBS. Both blood tests help in the diagnosis of IBS-D and IBS-M. However, the home IBS test is available in some countries around the world.

IBS diet

Even if medication is required, a specific IBS diet can help manage symptoms. In fact, up to 70% of IBS patients find that certain foods make their symptoms worse.

The IBS FODMAP diet eliminates carbohydrates that the intestines have difficulty digesting. This diet prevents bloating, discomfort and diarrhea by adding more water to the intestines and reducing gas. A high-fiber IBS diet for weight loss helps IBS by adding volume to the stool and softening it, preventing constipation and bloating-like symptoms.

Many other diets include low-fiber, elimination, gluten-free, and low-fat diets. You can find many IBS diet recipes on the Internet to help you with your IBS. Although there are so many diets, the best diet for IBS is the one that fits your gut health and relieves your IBS symptoms.

30-Day Plan for the IBS Diet

The FODMAP diet is a diet tailored to IBS rather than a "trendy" diet for weight loss. The low FODMAP diet omits foods that cause digestive problems so you can go about your daily activities without worrying about your gut health. A 30-day IBS diet plan can improve quality of life and reduce gastrointestinal symptoms. Nutritionists advise different diets, but the best results are achieved with the NHS IBS diet plan.

Here is the link to the IBS diet PDF.


IBS-friendly foods

Anything that triggers abdominal discomfort or changes the regularity of bowel movements should be avoided if you have IBS.

Here's a list of IBS-friendly foods you can try:

  • Grains such as quinoa, white rice and oats
  • Proteins such as lean meat, tofu, pork, chicken, fish and eggs
  • Fruits like berries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas and oranges
  • Vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, lettuce, olives and beets

IBS self-help guide

Although over-the-counter medications can relieve symptoms, switching to a gut-friendly diet is the best medicine for IBS. Here are some self-help tips for IBS.

How can I help myself with IBS?

If you want to help yourself with IBS, you must first focus on your diet. Look for triggers; if you can not find them, talk to an expert who can help you find and avoid them.

IBS Cure

There is no permanent cure for IBS, nor is there a definitive treatment. IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, and bloating can often interfere with your life. However, you can manage IBS by making adjustments to your diet and lifestyle. Consult your doctor if you suffer from persistent IBS symptoms.

How long does it take to cure IBS?

More than 30% of patients are symptom-free for longer than one year after diagnosis, and more than 50% are so after ten years.

How can IBS be cured in one day?

Irritable bowel syndrome cannot be cured in one day. However, you can get symptomatic relief within one day. Doctors often advise patients to take bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) and loperamide (Imodium), two over-the-counter medications to control diarrhea. In addition, soluble fiber is added to the stool using laxatives such as psyllium (Metamucil). This can help relieve constipation by pulling more water out of the intestines.

Can you live a long life with IBS?

If you make the right choices and consistently follow the right routine, you can live a normal, long life without pain and discomfort with IBS.

Is IBS curable with homeopathy?

In a 2021 study, the effectiveness of individualized homeopathic therapy was observed in 41 IBS patients. The study found that 63% of patients experienced significant improvement and 100% experienced some improvement.

New IBS medications

Lifestyle changes and medications to relieve symptoms are the best treatment for IBS. Gradually increase your intake of high-fiber foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans, over a few weeks. Skip problem foods and those that make your symptoms worse.

What is the best medication for IBS?

Doctors will likely turn to these new medications for future IBS treatment, as they are currently in development and in clinical trials:

  • Serotonin synthesis inhibitors are new IBS medications that have been shown to improve stool consistency and bowel discomfort.
  • Ramosetron, another drug, showed improvement in IBS symptoms in two placebo-controlled parallel-group trials involving 1,000 people with IBS.
  • Another new IBS drug that may relieve pain, bloating, and frequency of bowel movements is a spherical carbon adsorbent.
  • Benzodiazepine receptor modulator, a new IBS medication for constipation, has been shown to reduce visceral tenderness and bowel motility in response to stress.

What is the best over-the-counter medication for IBS?

Some of the best over-the-counter IBS medications are as follows:

For constipation

  • Laxatives
  • Magnesium
  • Triphala
  • Stool softener

For diarrhea

  • Calcium
  • Loperamide (Imodium)

For digestive problems

  • Digestive enzymes
  • Probiotics
  • Peppermint oil
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