As its name suggests, the symptoms of IBS are indeed irritating but can also be painful, as constipation hits one moment and diarrhea the next, sometimes coupled with bloating and cramping. What can be just as irritating is someone who tells you that "it's all in your head." Nothing could be further from the truth.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of symptoms that are caused by irritability and irregularity in the movement of both the small and the large intestines. IBS symptoms include:
- diarrhea or constipation, or alternate bouts of each
- abdominal pain or cramping
- gas and bloating
- nausea, especially after eating
- depression or anxiety
- mucus-covered stools
- the urge to have another bowel movement after you've just had one.
The syndrome is usually influenced by emotions. Feelings of nervousness, anxiety, guilt, depression, frustration, or anger may bring on or aggravate this very common disorder. Coffee, raw fruits and vegetables, hormones, certain medications, and overuse of laxatives can promote it, as can an inability of the body to digest the natural sugar found in milk.
One in five Americans has irritable bowel syndrome, making it one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders. It occurs more often in women than in men, and it usually begins around age 20. You may actually suffer mild IBS symptoms for years before an acute attack sends you to the doctor for relief. The symptoms mimic those of more serious gastrointestinal, hormonal, and reproductive diseases and vary not only from person to person but in the same person from week to week. That makes diagnosis difficult and an effective treatment elusive.Although irritable bowel syndrome causes a great deal of discomfort and distress, it does not permanently harm the intestines and does not lead to intestinal bleeding or any serious disease, such as cancer. Most people can control their symptoms with dietary adjustment, stress management, and medications prescribed by their physician. However, there are also home remedies that can help you cope with IBS. Read the next section to learn more.
For more remedies for problems "down there", try the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- To learn practical ways to treat diarrhea, read Home Remedies for Diarrhea.
- Home Remedies for Upset Stomach provides tips on relieving sour stomach.
- If you'd like advice on treating bladder control problems, read Home Remedies for Incontinence.