Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, is a common disorder that affects the colon, (aka large intestine). The condition causes a number of embarrassing and uncomfortable symptoms such as gas, constipation, cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. Most people who are at risk for Irritable bowel syndrome usually begin to experience signs and symptoms before age 35. Women are more likely to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome than men are. Some people may only experience irritable bowel syndrome a few times in their life. However, some people may suffer from it for many years. It is estimated that about one in every five people in the United States suffers from has symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
It is common for many people have experience signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome occasionally. However, there are certain risk factors that may increase your risk of developing the condition as a chronic problem. The risk factors that may increase your risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome include:
· Being younger than 45. People often begin to experience irritable bowel syndrome when they are younger than 45 years old.
· Being female. Women are about twice as likely to develop irritable bowel syndrome compared to men.
· Have a family history of IBS. People who have a family history of irritable bowel syndrome may have an increased risk for developing the condition.
· Have a mental health problem. Certain mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, a personality disorder, having a history of childhood sexual abuse or domestic abuse may increase your risk for developing irritable bowel syndrome.
Diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome involves ruling out other conditions. This is because there are often no physical signs that clearly indicate irritable bowel syndrome. Therefore, doctors use certain criteria to diagnose the condition which includes having certain signs or symptoms for a period of time and the nature of the bowel movements a person is having while experiencing possible symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Your doctor may do also do a number of tests to diagnose your condition. Tests to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome may include a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a colonoscopy, x-ray tests, CT scan, a lower GI series test, a lactose intolerance test, a breath test, blood tests, and stool tests. Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome may include making dietary changes, eating probiotics, taking fiber supplements, avoiding caffeine, reducing stress, taking antidepressants, and taking antispasmodic medications.