FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

by Mary Gallagher, RN, MSN, CCRN

Jan 1, 2019
Health

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, or IBS, is a disorder that affects the large intestine. It causes abdominal pain and cramping along with diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both. IBS is not the same as inflammatory bowel disease.

It is not clear why IBS develops. It can occur after a bacterial or parasitic infection of the intestines such as giardiasis. This is called post-infectious IBS. Other triggers may include stress. Hormone and nerve signals that travel between the intestines and the brain affect bowel function. The nerves can become more active during stress, causing the intestines to be more sensitive and contract more.

About 10–15 percent of people in the United States have IBS symptoms. It can occur at any age but often begins in the teen years or early adulthood and is twice as common in women as in men. It is less likely to begin after age 50. You are likely to have IBS if you have a family history of the syndrome or have a behavioral health issue such as anxiety, depression or a history of abuse. It is the most common intestinal problem referring people to a gastroenterologist.

IBS symptoms vary from person to person, ranging from mild to severe; most people have mild symptoms. You have IBS when symptoms are present for at least three days a month for a period of three months or more. Main symptoms include abdominal pain, gas, fullness, bloating and change in bowel habits. Pain and other symptoms are often reduced or go away after a bowel movement. Symptoms may flare up when there is a change in the frequency of your bowel movements.

If you have IBS with diarrhea, you will have frequent, loose, watery stools. You may have an urgent need to have a bowel movement which may be hard to control. If you have IBS with constipation, you will have a hard time passing stool as well as fewer bowel movements. You may need to strain and have cramps. Often, only a small amount or no stool at all will pass.

Symptoms may get worse for a few weeks or a month and then decrease for a while. In other cases, symptoms are present most of the time. You may also lose your appetite if you have IBS. However, blood in stools and unintentional weight loss are not a part of IBS.

There is no test to diagnose IBS. Usually your health care provider can diagnose IBS based on your symptoms. Eating a lactose-free diet for two weeks may help identify lactase deficiency (lactose intolerance). Blood tests can determine if you have celiac disease or anemia, and a stool culture can check for infection.

Your provider may recommend a colonoscopy. During this test, a flexible tube is inserted through the anus to examine the colon. You may need this test if symptoms began later in life (over age 50), if you have weight loss or bloody stools, or if you have abnormal blood tests such as a low blood count. Other disorders that can cause similar symptoms include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer. However, cancer rarely causes typical IBS symptoms unless weight loss, blood in the stools or abnormal blood tests are also present.

The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms. In some cases, lifestyle changes help. Regular exercise and improved sleep habits may reduce anxiety and help relieve bowel symptoms. Dietary changes can also help. However, no specific diet can be recommended for IBS because the condition differs from one person to another. Avoid foods and drinks that stimulate the intestines, such as caffeine. Eat smaller meals. Increase fiber in the diet. This may improve constipation or diarrhea but make bloating worse.

Talk with your provider before taking over-the-counter medicines. No one medicine works for everyone. These medications may include anticholinergic medicines (dicyclomine, propantheline, belladonna and hyoscyamine), taken a half-hour before eating to control intestinal muscle spasms; Bisacodyl laxative to treat constipation; and Loperamide to treat diarrhea. Some patients take low doses of tricyclic antidepressants to help relieve intestinal pain, Lubiprostone for constipation or the antibiotic Rifaximin.

Psychological therapy or medicines for anxiety or depression may help with IBS. Finding ways to deal with stress, such as individual or group counseling, biofeedback, progressive relaxation exercises and mindfulness training, can help to prevent or ease symptoms. Complementary health practices such as hypnosis, probiotics, peppermint oil, herbal remedies and acupuncture may have benefits.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Jul 4, 2022

$100M Reno at The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua

The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua recently announced the final phase of a $100 million resort-wide transformation, set to be unveiled by the end of 2022. Located across 54 acres of pristine, wide-open space overlooking Honokahua Bay, The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua is a sanctuary for guests seeking a luxurious escape.

Discover a Journey Filled with Wonder in 2022

ISN’T IT TIME? It's time to treat yourself to the vacation you deserve, and Celebrity Cruises® offers the perfect escapes. With an award-winning fleet of ships that sail to more than 300 destinations around the world, Celebrity will take you almost anywhere you want to go in style. Enjoy stunning staterooms and suites, culinary experiences imagined by Michelin-starred chefs and intuitive service. Celebrity makes sure your vacation is effortless from the start, which is why drinks, WiFi and tips are Always IncludedSM on every sailing.

Slideshow
Jul 4, 2022

6 Reasons to Put Lima, Peru, on Your Travel List

It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Lima, Peru, with us.

Daily
Jul 1, 2022

Banyan Tree Group Debuts in Japan with 5 New Properties

Banyan Tree Group recently announced its first-ever expansion into Japan with five new properties across four concepts. The hospitality group’s partnership with Wealth Management Group saw Dhawa Yura and Garrya Nijo Castle launch in June, with two more properties slated to open now through 2026. Another partnership with Terraform Capital sees plans to build Cassia, a property in the ski resort of Niseko.

Why the Future of Business Travel Might Look Different

Global business travel is making its way back, even as the pandemic and other world events continue to challenge its return. In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association, more than four in five respondents (86 percent) from across the industry said they feel more optimistic than they did at the beginning of the year. Business travel bookings, the need to travel to do business and employee willingness to travel are all on the rise.

Daily
Jul 1, 2022

Chikagai: Tokyo’s Underground Shopping Malls

For many business and leisure visitors to Tokyo, squeezing in a few hours of shopping during the city’s wet and humid early summer months can be somewhat unpleasant.

eFlyer News
Jun 29, 2022

Three-Day Michelin-Star Dining Experience Launches at Wilderness Reserve

Wilderness Reserve, an 8,000-acre estate of historic and charming properties, woodlands and lakes, invites visitors to its newly launched YOXMAN, a three-day, Michelin-starred dining experience. Four United Kingdom chefs come together to prepare an array of different cuisines throughout the weekend, and guests are treated to plenty of entertainment throughout the experience.

8 Reasons to Press the Green Button and Visit Ireland

Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.

eFlyer News
Jun 29, 2022

Rosewood Hotel Bauer to Open in Venice in 2025

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts adds to its growing collection with Rosewood Hotel Bauer, slated to open in Venice in 2025. Led by Venice-based architect Alberto Torsello and interior design group BAR Studio, the property will lie in the city’s historic San Marco district.