As the name suggests, irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder affecting the large intestine, presenting with symptoms such as bloating gas, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain. In most cases this is triggered by food allergies and lifestyle changes. Though irritable bowel syndrome may not be a cause for serious diseases such as colorectal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome can indeed hamper the day to day activities of the person. Some of the complications of irritable bowel syndrome are discussed in this article.
Causes of irritable bowel syndrome
The causes for irritable bowel syndrome have not been known clearly. Irritable bowel syndrome has been associated with emotional stress, eating, excessive gas, food allergies, female hormones, gastroenteritis, increase in bacteria in the small intestine and increased serotonin levels in some individuals.
Effect on day to day life
Symptoms such as diarrhea and bloating gas can be really bothersome for most patients. For example if a person has diarrhea he finds it increasingly difficult to go out of his home till the diarrhea stops. Similarly bloating gas creates a sense of real discomfort to the person making it difficult for him to keep up with his plan and time he spends with his family and friends, and hence he may avoid any social engagements.
Effect on sex life
Irritable bowel syndrome can cause sexual intercourse to be increasingly painful and difficult. The pain accompanied by the irritable bowel syndrome can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable and not a pleasant experience. This lack of satisfaction in sexual life can also lead the patient to depression.
Complications associated with constipation
Constipation associated with irritable bowel syndrome may aggravate or may even be a cause for hemorrhoids. Constipation can give a feeling of fullness and belching along with nausea and abdominal discomfort. Constipation may even cause dizziness and vertigo, generalized weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite or a bad taste in mouth.
Management of irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a less harmful condition and is not linked with colitis, Crohn`s disease or other intestinal disorder. If there is passing of blood, then it is not irritable bowel disease. Management of irritable bowel syndrome is usually by avoiding foods that trigger an attack, such as dairy, chocolates, coffee and so on in susceptible people, and by reducing emotional stresses.
Exercising regularly and slowly increasing dietary fiber in diet can alleviate constipation. Increased liquid intake and frequent and smaller meals can help in relief of the condition, though over the counter drugs for constipation and diarrhea must be used with caution.
The complications associated with irritable bowel syndrome are very much limited and can be effectively managed by proper changes in food habits and lifestyle.