1. What is irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome or irritable bowel disease is a chronic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. It is also known as spastic colitis, mucous colitis, and nervous colon. This condition affects more women than men. Besides, the severity and symptoms may differ from person to person.
2. What are the symptoms that I will experience if I have irritable bowel syndrome?
Some of the symptoms experienced during irritable bowel syndrome include:
Mucus in the stool
Abdominal pain, bloating, or cramping that is relieved after passing the stools
A sensation that the bowels have not been emptied fully
Sudden urge to use the bathroom
3. How will the doctor diagnose irritable bowel syndrome or IBS?
There are no tests available to diagnose IBS. However, your doctor may diagnose it based on your symptoms. Besides, some steps may be taken to rule out other conditions such as:
Blood tests - to check for problems like anaemia and coeliac disease
Avoiding a specific food group - to rule out food allergies
Examining a stool sample - to rule out infection
Performing a colonoscopy
4. What are the causes of irritable bowel syndrome?
The exact causative agents for irritable bowel syndrome are unknown. Some factors that are involved include:
Food intolerance or sensitivity
Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine
Changes in the gut microflora
Malfunction in the muscle contractions that move food in the intestine
Abnormalities in the nervous system that control bowel movements
5. When do I need to consult a doctor?
Hypopigmented macules on the skin with decreased sensation around it should be the first indication to visit a doctor for leprosy. Other symptoms, such as burning and tingling of the hands and feet, muscle weakness and ulcers, should also warrant a visit to the doctor.