Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: What is it? Symptoms and Treatment

Irritable bowel is also known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Consequently, it is a recurrent and chronic condition, characterized by changes in bowel rhythm and abdominal pain.

This condition is usually accompanied by pain and constipation. However, there are no morphological alterations at the intestinal level or infectious problems that are justified. The problem usually affects the quality of life and development at a social, occupational, and physical level, among others.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel disease is included within the group of diseases that are related to digestive disorders. It is defined by the presence of strong intestinal pain, with times without symptoms. However, there are phases in which the discomfort is not so intense.

On the other hand, it is associated with alterations in the intestinal rhythm, causing periods of bloating, bloating, diarrhea, among others. It is also known as spastic colitis, spastic colon, or nervous colitis.

Triggering causes

To date, no mechanisms have been developed to validate the criteria and the diagnosis of symptoms. However, in general, the most proven and accepted is that there may be alterations in digestive sensitivity. Which are influenced by various factors that involve the intestinal microbiota barrier or the intestinal flora.

On the other hand, other alterations that can influence this condition are also proposed, such as intolerances, hormonal alterations, gastroenteritis, among others. Some studies determined that they could be related to stress triggers. As a result, they are acquired poor eating habits, which cause gastrointestinal disorders.

Irritable bowel symptoms

The main symptoms of irritable bowel are bloating and persistent pain, as well as disturbances in bowel rhythm. To define a little better the symptoms of the disease, it is detailed as follows:

Abdominal pain

This type of condition usually causes localized and diffuse discomfort in the lower abdomen area. Likewise, it almost always resembles a non-irradiated stabbing or oppressive colic, with intensity ranging from mild to severe. The onset of this discomfort lasts for about two hours and is relieved after defecation.

The onset period is associated with the desire to have a bowel movement. As well as, with changes in the consistency of stools and their frequency lapses. That is why, after ingesting a food that is not supported by the body, the symptoms appear immediately.

Alteration of bowel rhythm

Problems at the level of the intestinal rhythm are manifested with a predominance of diarrhea, constipation, or both. Said distension drawbacks are developed progressively and cause large amounts of gases. These symptoms usually appear accompanied by nausea, chest burning, vomiting, among others.

Other symptoms

People with this problem also experience mucus in their bowel movements. Similarly, incomplete evacuations. At certain times, declines are manifested, and there does not necessarily have to be some organic disease that produces it.

How to prevent irritable bowel

With the help of a balanced diet, irritable bowel syndrome can be prevented. Therefore, it is recommended to promote the consumption of foods with high nutritional value, without fat and rich in fiber and protein. An example of this may be to follow eating patterns such as those indicated in the Mediterranean diet.

Likewise, there are also foods that generate uncontrollable gases such as cabbage, nuts, legumes or alcoholic beverages. For this reason, diagnosed patients should avoid its consumption completely and thus will not face the discomfort and pain that they generate. It is important to remember that each diet is personalized, and only the doctor will be able to indicate the best for each case.

Diagnosis and treatments

To diagnose irritable bowel, careful medical history studies are done. In this sense, the doctor will be able to orient himself and allow to treat the condition in a specific way.

These additional tests may include:

  • Blood tests.
  • Stool and urine analysis.
  • Radiological studies in the abdomen area with contrast and without contrast.
  • Sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy and ultrasound.

These tests are performed depending on the age and symptoms of the patient. In all cases, only experts will determine the best test for each type of diagnosis.

The patient and the doctor must have a good relationship to favor the evolution and reduce the number of consultations. None of the inconveniences presented should not be underestimated. After the diagnosis is determined, the specialist will provide the most appropriate treatment. Therefore, the most common are mentioned:


To treat irritable bowel it is recommended to consume a large amount of fiber, like the insoluble one where the wheat bran is. Also, the soluble (psyllium, ispágula). So far, the effects of the various fibers on irritable intestines have already been studied. In which, it was observed that soluble fiber improves symptoms, except for pain and distension. However, with the insoluble, no significant improvement was noted.


They are medications that are administered in certain cases where the primary symptom is diarrhea. Among these groups, codeine, ion exchange resins and loperamide predominate.


This type of medication acts on the surface of the digestive tract, specifically on the muscle fiber. Most of the time, treatments of this type improve abdominal pain considerably.

Serotonin receptors

These treatments reduce intestinal sensitivity and stimulate digestive motility. Therefore, they are ideal to improve pain. Especially when they are intense and affect intestinal transit. What’s more, They are indicated when there is constipation and there is no response to other medication. Currently, it is marketed under the name of prucalopride, and it is only prescribed in selected cases.


They allow to modulate the perception of pain. Above all, at the central level. In addition, they reduce rectal hypersensitivity, produced by high levels of stress. Today, there are several types of antidepressants such as tricyclics where there are SSRIs and amitriptyline. The mentioned drugs are favorable for improving motility and regulating visceral sensitivity.

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