Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)is a chronic disorder of gastrointestinal tract due to unknown cause. Irritable bowel syndrome has been called functional bowel disease, and mucous colitis. However, IBS is not a true “colitis.” The term colitis refers to a separate condition known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Irritable bowel syndrome is not contagious, inherited, or cancerous. However, IBS often disrupts daily living activities. The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is currently unknown. IBS is thought to result from interplay of abnormal gastrointestinal (GI) tract movements, increased awareness of normal bodily functions, and a change in the nervous system communication between the brain and the GI tract. Abnormal movements of the colon, whether too fast or too slow, are seen in some, but not all, people who have IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome has also developed after episodes of gastroenteritis. It has been suggested that IBS is caused by dietary allergies or food sensitivities, but this is not proved. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may worsen during periods of stress or menses, but these factors are unlikely to be the cause that leads to development of IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome affects each person differently. The hallmark of IBS is abdominal discomfort and pain. No one knows exactly what causes irritable bowel syndrome. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract and relax as they move food from your stomach through your intestinal tract to your rectum. Normally, these muscles contract and relax in a coordinated rhythm. But if you have irritable bowel syndrome, the contractions may be stronger and last longer than normal. Food is forced through your intestines more quickly, causing gas, bloating and diarrhea. In some cases, however, the opposite occurs. Food passage slows, and stools become hard and dry. Some researchers believe IBS is caused by changes in the nerves that control sensation or muscle contractions in the bowel. People with IBS may have a heightened sensitivity to stretching of the bowel with gas leading to pain or bloating. Others believe the central nervous system may affect the colon. And because women are twice as likely to have IBS, researchers believe that hormonal changes also play a role. Also, many women find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual periods.

The following symptoms are common in Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

  • Abdominal pain which is better after bowel movements

  • diarrhea alternating with constipation

  • Increased frequency of stool or

  • Alteration in consistency of stool

  • flatulence

  • mucus during or after passing stool

  • Abdominal distension

Many people have already modified their diets before seeing a doctor. Temporarily avoiding dairy products may help assess whether symptoms of lactose intolerance are mimicking those of irritable bowel syndrome. Certain foods, such as cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts) and legumes (beans) may worsen bloating and flatulence

  • Maintaining good physical fitness improves bowel function and helps reduce stress.

  • Stop smoking

  • Avoid coffee and spicy foods

  • Reduce alcohol consumption

Because irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disease, symptoms usually return from time to time. This may be influenced by factors such as stress, diet, or other environmental causes. Multiple factors may play a role in aggravating IBS, so it may be difficult to predict which may make IBS worse for a particular person. Establishing a good relationship with a doctor may help alleviate concerns over symptoms and allow rapid recognition of changing or worsening symptoms.

Most people with IBS find signs and symptoms improve as they learn to control the condition. Only a small percentage of people with irritable bowel syndrome have severe signs and symptoms.

Fortunately, unlike more serious intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome doesn't cause inflammation or changes in bowel tissue or increase risk of cancer. In many cases, we can control irritable bowel syndrome by managing diet, lifestyle and stress.

Many people may have mild signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. But sometimes these problems can be disabling, however. In some cases, the signs and symptoms may become severe. Because symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can be present with other diseases, it's best to discuss these symptoms with the doctor. For most people, IBS is a chronic condition, although there will likely be times when the signs and symptoms are worse and times when they improve or even disappear completely.

For reasons that still aren't clear, someone with IBS may react strongly to stimuli that don't bother other people. Exciting factors for IBS can range from gas or pressure on intestines to certain foods, medications or emotions. For example:

  • Foods: chocolate, milk, alcohol, carbonated beverages, farinaceous food, some fruits and vegetables

  • Stress: signs and symptoms are worse or more frequent during stressful events, such as a change in daily routine or family arguments

  • Other illnesses: Sometimes another illness, such as an acute episode of infectious diarrhea (gastroenteritis), can trigger IBS.

Many people have occasional signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but are more likely to have IBS if they are young and female. IBS usually begins before the age of 35 in most of the cases. Heredity also may play a role.

Anyone can experience digestive upset from worry or anxiety. But in irritable bowel syndrome, stress-related problems such as abdominal pain and diarrhea tend to occur with greater frequency and intensity. Finding ways to deal with stress may be helpful in preventing or aggravation of symptoms: Following are other ways of getting relief in complains of irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Counseling

  • Biofeedback

  • Regular stress relieving exercises


  • Hypnosis

  • Meditation

  • YOGA

In many cases, simple changes in diet and lifestyle can provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome. Although body may not respond immediately to these changes, the goal is to find long-term, not temporary, solutions:

  • Increase fiber diet

  • Avoid foods that cause the symptoms to worsen

  • Maintain regular time of eating

  • Avoid prolong fasting

  • Avoid dairy products if they are known to cause symptoms of indigestion

  • Drink enough water

  • Do exercise regularly

Role of Homeopathy in Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is most of the times found associated with stress and intolerance of selective food items. These food items may very from person to person. Homeopathy has greater success in managing cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome for many reasons. Homeopathic approach to a chronic case has lot of psychological exploration of the patients in order to arrive at a right remedy for the person. These methods of investigation help in select6ing most suitable remedy for the person. Besides the action of right remedy which is selected very carefully, patient’s experience of talking out their inner feeling states with the homeopathic physician also plays an important role in the successful treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Other sense homeopathic physician plays a role of councilor during treatment of such chronic illness which is certainly made worse on account of stress. Besides this homeopathic medicines are safe and effective. It works without producing any side effects. Patients can avoid side effects arising from the long term use of conventional treatment.