The term irritable bowel describes a disease with chronic digestive problems for which there are no obvious causes in the digestive organs. Typical symptoms of irritable bowel are lower abdominal pain, flatulence, lower abdominal cramps as well as irregular bowel movements, mostly alternating between diarrhoea and constipation. If such symptoms last for a longer period and no organic causes can be found, this is known as irritable bowel.
Irritable bowel is one of the most common diseases of the bowel. The diagnosis of irritable bowel can only be made if no other causes can be found for the digestive problems. Chronic digestive inflammation such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, infections with bacteria or viruses, food intolerances and bowel cancer in particular must be ruled out as the cause of the symptoms. The exact cause of irritable bowel is not known. Over-sensitivity of the bowel nerves combined with other factors such as stress, stressful situations and hormonal influences are assumed to be behind it. Women are affected by it twice as often as men. Furthermore, a causal connection with particular sugar compounds which are present in certain foods has been observed in may affected persons. These sugar compounds are known as FODMAPs (fermentable oligo, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) and are present in fruit, vegetables or in bread in particular.
Typical symptoms of irritable bowel are lower abdominal pain and flatulence interspersed with diarrhoea and constipation. However, the symptoms can be vary widely from person to person. Digestive complaints which last for a longer period should always be checked by a doctor. Although irritable bowl is a harmless disease, the chronic symptoms can be very uncomfortable and stressful.
Irritable bowel is diagnosed on the basis of the patient’s medical history and the characteristic symptoms as well as by ruling out another possible causes. An colonoscopy is required to rule out other causes such as enteritis or bowel cancer.
The treatment of irritable bowel depends on the severity and the extent of the symptoms. Depending on the situation, anti-spasmodic medications, painkillers as well as measures for stool regulation are used. Adjusting your diet, relaxation exercises and reduction of stress are further treatment options.