Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms in women

When a person has Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), he or she experiences regular stomachaches and frequent bouts of diarrhea or constipation. This kind of intestinal disorder, which is quite common especially among women, can be embarrassing and upsetting physically, socially and psychologically. There are times that the affected individual suffers from diarrhea, and at times, from constipation.

Even if IBS can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, it is not serious nor does it damage the intestines. However, this doesn’t mean that it should be left untreated since the symptoms may aggravate and lead to hemorrhoids. IBS treatment primarily involves eating and living healthily.

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Cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

People affected by this kind of intestinal disorder suffer from abdominal pain, and medical experts do not have any idea why this occurs. There are periods when the patient has to cope with diarrhea, and at other times, constipation. What they do know is that the intestines have muscles which contract in a coordinated manner while the food moves going to the rectum. When muscle contractions in the intestines slow down, constipation occurs. If they move faster, then diarrhea happens. There are several factors that may cause the muscles to move slowly or quickly, and these are:

  • Extremely sensitive large intestine.
  • Chemical imbalance of serotonin.
  • Bacterial imbalance in the large intestine.
  • Certain foods like milk, chocolate, alcohol, carbonated beverages, certain fruits and veggies.
  • Certain medications such as antibiotics.
  • Hormonal changes especially among women, and tends to worsen during or before their menstrual flow.
  • Stress can affect the normal muscle contractions in the stomach.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome in women

IBS is the most common intestinal disorder, affecting 1 in 5 people. It was also noted that more women are affected than men and the age of onset is around 35. The disorder is not considered serious nor does it shorten the life span of the sufferer, but it is possible to occur simultaneously with graver types of inflammatory bowel diseases. Besides, the disorder is often misunderstood, resulting in misdiagnosis. This could be because the pattern of its occurrence differs with every individual. The symptoms may come and go for several years for some people, while others do not show any signs at all for months or even years. IBS symptoms rarely occur constantly.

Even so, some people are more vulnerable to developing IBS than others. Those who are 35 years old, female and have relatives or family members with the condition are at higher risk.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in women

Irritable bowel syndrome affects each person differently. It is not surprising why the disorder is often misdiagnosed because some of the symptoms are similar to other diseases. Besides, the symptoms are just mild for some people while disabling for others. However, those with IBS will generally experience the following:

  • Flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Presence of mucus in the bowel
  • Irregular bouts of diarrhea and constipation

It would be best for the affected individuals to discuss their concerns with a doctor, especially when other symptoms are present to rule out more serious medical conditions, like colon cancer, infection, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Aside from knowing whether other severe medical conditions is present or not, a visit to a doctor will also help design a treatment plan to improve the overall quality of life of the patient.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosis

The diagnosis of IBS largely depends on the result of the physical exam and assessing the symptoms that the patient is suffering from since there is no specific diagnostic test intended for IBS. The doctor needs to learn of the symptoms, how often they occur and when they started. The doctor will also consider the patient’s medical history, allergies, medications and other health issues. Part of the diagnosis may also involve checking the family’s medical history. Even if there is no specific test for the disorder, the patient may need to go through a series of assessments to ensure that the symptoms are not caused by other medical conditions. These may include CT scan, lactose intolerance test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, blood tests and colonoscopy.

Treatment for Irritable bowel syndrome

IBS treatment is targeted towards improving the patient’s overall quality of life. It is symptomatic because it is not yet fully understood how it occurs. The treatment focuses on controlling the signs and symptoms and proper stress management by lifestyle and dietary modifications. Among the treatment options for IBS are:

  • Medications

Depending on the health condition and symptoms experienced by the affected individual, the doctor may recommend certain drugs like antibiotics, anti-depressants, anti-cholinergic and anti-diarrheal medications.

  • Fiber supplements

Fiber supplements might be recommended to help manage constipation.

  • Dietary changes

These often involve avoiding foods that will trigger or worsen the symptoms, such as raw fruits and vegetables, cauliflower, cabbage, salads and even carbonated beverages.  Read more about IBS – foods to avoid.

  • Stress-management therapy

This might be needed should medications not work in relieving stress.

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One Response to "Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms in women"

  1. Bichu says:

    As someone who has rescarehed the internet for causes and cures for IBS for my father, I know what you mean. There’s very little specific help, very little self-help and I’ve not seen such a project to actually give IBS sufferers a guide to tracking their own causes and hopefully finding help in avoiding future discomfort. Good luck with IBS Circle.

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