Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Top 9 IBS Facts

1 - Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often confused with other conditions. It has been called by many names-colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, spastic bowel and functional bowel disease. Most of these terms are inaccurate. Colitis, for instance, means inflammation of the large intestine (the colon), while IBS doesn't cause inflammation.

2 - IBS symptoms affect up to 20 percent of the general population. It is the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists, and is among the most common health disorders in general.

3 - Women are two to three times more likely than men to suffer from IBS. Moreover, they seem to have more symptoms during their periods, suggesting that reproductive hormones play a role.

4 - IBS a chronic condition-you might develop it in your late 20s and have it for years-even all your life. Fortunately, the symptoms may come and go. The late 20s are the typical age of onset.

5 - IBS can be triggered by stress and symptom flares are associated with major stressful life events in the majority of patients. Studies indicate that some psychological treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can alleviate abdominal pain and diarrhea associated with the syndrome.

6 - Although there is no cure, IBS is treatable. Symptoms can often be managed with dietary or lifestyle changes; in more severe cases, medication may be needed. Surgery is never considered a treatment option.

7 - There is no single, specific cause for IBS. It's a disorder affecting the neural functioning of the intestines.

8 - IBS symptoms vary by individual. They can include lower abdominal pain, bloating, excess gas, increased mucus in the stools, diarrhea and/or constipation, tiredness (even low-grade depression) and an urgent need to have a bowel movement (sometimes without being able to).

9 - Certain medicines and foods may trigger attacks. Culprits include caffeine, chocolate, milk products and alcohol.

Thanks to www.healthywomen.org for this article

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