Irritable Bowel Syndrome Overview | GI Society

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Overview | GI Society


This video is part one in our Irritable Bowel Syndrome series. IBS is the most common gastrointestinal condition
worldwide, affecting around 13-20% of Canadians at any given time. 30% of us develop IBS at some point in our
lives. It can begin in childhood, adolescence, or
adulthood and can resolve unexpectedly, only to return later. IBS is more common in women than in men. Individuals with IBS typically have a sensitive
digestive system with heightened reactivity, which causes the bowel to respond differently
to normal gut stimuli, such as the passage of solids, gas, and fluid through the intestines. These stimuli can cause pain for
IBS patients. Other symptoms can include difficulty passing
stool, straining, a feeling of incomplete evacuation, bloating, relief of pain or discomfort after
passing gas or stool, the sudden, urgent need to use the toilet, and mucus covering the
stool. IBS is often broken down into different sub-groups
based on the predominant stool consistency: IBS-D is when the digestive system contracts
quickly, resulting in diarrhea. IBS-C is when the digestive system contracts
slowly, resulting in constipation. IBS-M, or mixed, is when stools alternate
between diarrhea and constipation, sometimes even within the same bowel movement. Certain seemingly unrelated ailments are more
common in individuals with IBS, such as sleep disturbances, fibromyalgia, back pain, chronic
pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder,
anxiety, depression, and migraine headaches. Female patients have also reported discomfort
during sexual intercourse. Work, school, and social activities away from
home can become difficult due to discomfort, pain, and inaccessibility of washrooms. Since there is no obvious inflammation or
physical abnormality in IBS, it has no specific diagnostic tests, so diagnosis relies on symptoms
and ruling out any other possibilities. However, the history and pattern of symptoms is characteristic, and usually easily recognized by experienced practitioners. Researchers don’t know for sure what causes
IBS, but there are some theories about factors that could influence IBS symptoms, including:
acute infection or inflammation of the intestine, such as traveller’s diarrhea, which may
precede onset of IBS symptoms, physical and/or emotional stress,
dietary issues such as food allergies or sensitivities, or poor eating patterns,
antibiotic use sensitivities to hormones produced in the
body, particularly for women, bile acid malabsorption, abnormalities in gastrointestinal secretions,
and/or digestive muscle contractions (peristalsis). Treatment for IBS is as individual as the
symptoms of the disease itself. Each patient will have a different reaction
to various foods and medications, so it is important to monitor what does and does not
work for you. You might be able to reduce the symptoms of
IBS by making certain dietary and lifestyle modifications. Some possibilities include avoiding certain
types of carbohydrates, getting enough fibre and liquids, reducing stress,
physiotherapy, and consuming specific probiotics or medications. Please watch our video on IBS Treatments for more details. With proper treatment, many patients with
IBS can look forward to a significant improvement in their condition. Statistics show that approximately 10% of
IBS patients get better each year, although a different 10% will develop the condition,
keeping the percentage of people in the population with IBS constant at any given time. IBS remains a condition that can seriously
compromise an individual’s quality of life and, regrettably, not everyone with IBS will
become symptom-free. In most cases, treatment will be ongoing and
individualized. However, IBS is a distinct condition and does not develop into anything else such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis. I’m Dr. James Gray. On behalf of the Medical Advisory Council
of the Gastrointestinal Society, thanks for watching. For more information on IBS, please search
for topics on www.badgut.org.

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. after twenty years of being told I had, IBS, now have been told I have had chronic pancreatitis left untreated I have diabetes and a calcified pancreas. So all IBS sufferers ask for a Fecal elastase test early in your disease.

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