Bowel Irritable Syndrome

Dr. Julia Lizy, Pakistan


By Dr. Julia Lizy, MBBS (KEMU)

Bowel Irritable Syndrome


Forty million people suffer from IBS constipation in the United States alone.

IBS is a functional disorder of the gastro-intestinal tract.
A functional disorder means that there is a change in bowel habit without a noticeable physical change to the GI tract.

Since there is no noticeable physical change to the colon, Irritable Bowel Syndrome is diagnosed by it’s symptoms. These symptoms include chronic abdominal discomfort, flatulence (gas) and bloating, and irregular bowel habits.

Generally, the predominant symptom is either diarrhea or constipation. Our main focus in this article is on irritable bowel syndrome constipation. We will discuss other symptoms later on in this article.

Although IBS has not been found to affect life expectancy, it is a source of constant discomfort and pain due to the unavailability of curative medication. Chronic pain and discomfort result in physical and mental fatigue, making it difficult to go to work every day.

The prevalence of IBS ranges from 8-25% worldwide and 10-15% in U.S. Following is a light discussion about the major aspects of IBS as well as a note on the successful treatment of IBS-constipation using Mineral Magnesium Salts.



Bowel Irritable Syndrome - What it feels like?

The classical symptoms of IBS include

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Chronic constipation with intermittent diarrhea or vice versa
  • Frequent changes in bowel habit


Other common symptoms of IBS are

  • Tenesmus: The feeling of incomplete evacuation
  • Pseudo-satiety: Feeling of fullness after eating small proportions
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • GERD: Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease

Some other symptoms of IBS are secondary symptoms caused by IBS, like

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Headache
  • Backache


IBS is strongly related to anxiety and depression, which we be discuss later in this article.


Classification

The most common classification of IBS is simple and straightforward

  • Diarrhea dominant (IBS-D)
  • Constipation dominant (IBS-C)
  • IBS with alternating stool pattern (IBS-A)
  • Pain dominant (IBS-P).

The sudden onset of symptoms in a patient with a positive history of IBS is called post-infective or IBS-PI.


The following table further elaborates on the classification of IBS

Probability of Causes

Although the exact cause and mechanism of IBS are still unknown, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  1. Over population of the wrong kind of bacteria in the gut can be an aggravating factor of IBS
  2. Chances of contracting IBS are increased 500% after a gastro-intestinal tract infection
  3. At some stage, there is a disruption in the brain-gut axis
  4. Other risk factors include, but are not limited to, young age, anorexia, insomnia, anxiety, depression and chronic fever


Some studies have supported that there is an active infection throughout the disease, but these hypotheses lack evidence, especially since no positive response to antibiotic therapy has been observed.

Diagnosis

Irritable bowel syndrome is itself diagnosed only by way of exclusion. That is, there are IBS symptoms, and other diseases have been ruled out. 

To support an IBS diagnosis, a doctor considers a person’s medical history along with an analysis of their bowel habits. To aid in diagnosis, smartphone users can use the following apps to record and graphically analyze their bowel habits.

          For Android users 

          For IOS users

There are a number of conditions that have similar signs and symptoms to IBS.

These include:

•    Colon cancer
•    Irritable Bowel Disease
•    Thyroid disorders
•    Microscopic colitis
•    Carcinoid syndrome

Unfortunately, patients that have been misdiagnosed have undergone the following surgical treatments:

•    An appendectomy
•    A cholecystectomy
•    A hysterectomy


Common Complications

There are many conditions that have been associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Some of them are the direct result of bowel habits alternating back and forth between constipation and diarrhea.

The common disorders occur more frequently in those with IBS than those without

  • Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Intestinal cystitis
  • Migraines and other headaches

IBS-C or IBS-constipation - An advanced form of Constipation-

In the U.S., IBS-C (constipation) is much more common than IBS-D (diarrhea).

Irritable bowel syndrome-C denotes chronic constipation with intermittent diarrhea. Bowel movements are seldom normal or regular. There is always an alteration between severe constipation and frequent diarrhea.

During IBS-C, the periods of constipation can last anywhere from 7 to 30 days without any sufficient, satisfactory or effective defecation.

As a doctor, I am very concerned with such long episodes of constipation, since they can easily lead into toxic and obstructive complications of constipation.

IBS-C and Depression

Irritable bowel syndrome - constipation can lead to depression and anxiety along with lethargy, attention deficit and abstinence. This is a vicious cycle.


Management and Medication

Managing IBS-C can be accomplished through the use of placebos, which have the effect of alternating the bowel habit.

Other conservative measures include a modification in life style, eating habits, an increase in the intake of healthy fluids or the use of laxatives.

To date, treatment at the molecular level is the only effective, safe, inexpensive and specific treatment.  Also, the importance of magnesium should neither be over emphasized or overlooked.

Using a Magnesium Supplement for IBS Constipation

There are five reasons why a magnesium supplement is useful in treating IBS.

These include:

A.    Magnesium is generally the best natural treatment for constipation of any type.
B.    Magnesium is the only drug of choice when it comes to IBS, an advanced form of constipation.
C.    Magnesium helps establish a better electrolyte balance and reduces the chance of complications.
D.    Magnesium supplements are generally intended for daily use.
E.    Magnesium is generally inexpensive, and may help increase bowel movements without cramping.

For the 80% of Americans who don’t get enough magnesium in their diet, supplemental magnesium may bring numerous health benefits.

An Ionic Sea Mineral supplement contains 106% of the US RDA of magnesium, plus numerous valuable trace minerals.

Conclusion

IBS is a matter of concern due to its high prevalence and the difficulties it brings to one’s lifestyle.

Although there is no organic cause and modern medicine is unable to precisely identify the numerous causes responsible for IBS, this form of chronic constipation can nevertheless be treated effectively.

The use of magnesium salts in the form of low sodium concentrated sea minerals is an effective way for patients to sidestep depression and anxiety over IBS and to live a healthier lifestyle. I recommend a regular daily intake of this magnesium supplement for more effective, prolonged results.


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