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5 Oct
2009
Posted in: IBS
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What exactly is IBS, and more importantly, have I got it.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a physical problem that many people have to put up with on a daily basis. There is no cure because it is not a disease, it’s a functional disorder, characterised by the medical world as a brain-gut dysfunction. However, it is still misunderstood by some trained medical practitioners and frequently treated as a psychological condition. IBS is very real and can be devastating to an individual’s enjoyment of life. IBS is also a more common problem than many might imagine.

Percentage of population suffering IBS symptoms

UK 10%

US 15%

Japan 10%

Canada 6%

Brazil 43%

But what exactly is it?

Well it turns out that the medical world has decided that what it is is not something else. By that I mean that when other possibilities for the symptoms have been eliminated – then the diagnosis is IBS. It is largely a diagnosis by exclusion. IBS is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that suggest a lack of normal gut function, but the symptoms are not consistent from individual to individual. There is individual variation. However, the most significant aspect is abdominal pain/discomfort accompanied by change in defecation frequency and/or a change in stool consistency.

One important point that I cannot stress too highly.IBS cannot and should not be self-diagnosed. The reason for this is because some IBS symptoms are also symptoms of other more serious, and other less serious, problems that are medically treatable. If you suspect you have IBS then visit your medical practitioner for confirmation. If your suspicion is confirmed then you can consider what would be your best course of action.

Symptom Checklist

Doctors have been using the following ROME II criteria for diagnosis.

Rome II Diagnostic Criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms that Cumulatively Support the Diagnosis of IBS:

  • Relieved with defecation; and/or
  • Change in frequency of stool; and/or
  • Change in appearance of stool.
  • Abnormal stool frequency
  • Lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool
  • Straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation
  • Bloating or feeling of abdominal distension.

Supportive symptoms of IBS:

  • Fewer than three bowel movements a week
  • More than three bowel movements a day
  • Hard or lumpy stools
  • Loose (mushy) or watery stools
  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Urgency (having to rush to have a bowel movement)
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel movement
  • Passing mucus (white material) during a bowel movement
  • Abdominal fullness, bloating, or swelling

But this then became simplified by ROME III to:

Rome III Diagnostic Criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

At least 3 months, with onset at least 6 months previously of recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort associated with 2 or more of the following:

  • Improvement with defecation; and/or
  • Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool; and/or
  • Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool

Some symptoms can be mistaken for IBS and must receive immediate medical treatment.

Red Flag symptoms which are not typical of IBS:

  • Pain that awakens or interferes with sleep
  • Diarrhea that awakens or interferes with sleep
  • Blood in the stool (visible or occult)
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Abnormal physical examination

If you have any of these symptoms see your doctor immediately. If you have blood in your stool, visit your nearest medical emergency treatment centre immediately.

Author: Michael J. Hadfield

Source: Hypnosisiseasy

So, what do you think?