Hello, I’m Dr. Srujan Dasyam. Consultant gastroenterologist. NuLife gastro care. Today we will discuss about a common topic in the gastroenterology field which is called IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
What is IBS?
So before proceeding further, I would like to stress upon this fact that IBS is different from IBD. IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, whereas IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. IBS is a condition which comes under functional GI disorders. So, what is an IBS? So, when it is called an IBS, IBS is typically diagnosed when the patient or person has recurrent abdominal pain. So that is at least the patient should have once in a week over the period of last three months, which is associated with change or alteration in the bowel frequency or consistency and typically this pain is relieved after defecation. So when it comes to symptomatology of IBS or types of IBS, there are broadly three types. One is IBS diarrhoea variant, the other is IBS constipation variant and the last one is IBS mixed type, where in which the patient has few days or weeks of diarrhoea followed by constipation.
Who can get IBS?
So this IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, who are the persons or patients in which IBS is frequent or common? So, IBS typically occurs in a young individual, more commonly observed in females when compared to males. IBS has been observed to be more common in stressful personalities or patients with high anxiety.
How is IBS Diagnosed?
So when it comes to diagnosis, diagnosis of IBS usually does not require any investigations. It is typically diagnosed based only on history and duration of symptoms and upon examination, the abdomen is usually soft and doesn’t show any findings. So usually IBS does not require any investigations after diagnosis through history, usually we advise the patient dietary advice and put the patient on treatment and follow up.
Foods that Trigger the IBS Symptoms?
So before proceeding further, we must know that there are few triggers which increase the IBS or IBS symptoms. So what are these triggers? It can be an infectious trigger, as in any recent GI infection or any recent gastroenteritis can cause worsening of the IBS symptoms. So this scenario is called post infectious IBS. So in the recent pandemic era, the IBS incidence has also increased because of post COVID illnesses. So post COVID IBS is one of the entities which is a common disease in a gastroenterology practice. So, in addition to these infections, there can be few dietary triggers which increases the IBS symptoms, of which important ones are high carbonated beverages and fermented food stuff, consumption of thick milk products and sometimes gluten also can worsen this IBS symptoms. So these are the triggers which increase the IBS symptoms.
Treatment for IBS?
So, after diagnosing the patient with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, usually we put the patient on medicines pertaining to the predominant symptom variety, as in if the patient has predominantly diarrheal form of IBS, in addition to the dietary advice, which includes avoidance of fermentable substances, avoidance of carbonated beverages, avoidance of milk if required at all. If milk is causing IBS symptoms, we usually ask the patient not to consume milk or milk related products in a patient with IBS. So, in addition to this general advice, we advise patients anti diarrhoeals , which reduce the frequency of diarrhoea and also for the pain, antispasmodics, which relieve the pain or spasmodic pain coming from the intestine. These are usually prescribed when it comes to predominantly constipating variety of IBS. In addition to the general advice and antispasmodics, the laxatives, which improves the intestinal motility and passage of stools, they are advised in a patient with IBS with constipation.
How Does IBS Affect the Patient’s Life?
When it comes to IBS, because it is a functional GI disorder and it is a chronic disorder with recurrent painful abdominal episodes. This leads to reduction in the quality of life of the patient because recurrent pain abdominal will reduce the patient activity, will reduce the patient’s energy levels, and also the quality of life is also affected. Chronic IBS can also be a risk factor for future development of mood disorders and also chronic depression. Thank you.