Around one in five Australians suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), also known as spastic colon. It is generally a chronic condition that can last for years or be lifelong. The underlying cause of IBS in unknown however certain factors can trigger IBS. Such triggers include:
These symptoms are quite broad and not exclusive to IBS, hence diagnosis by your doctor should always be confirmed. Other illnesses with related symptoms may include diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, polyps or coeliacs. Diagnosis is confirmed with blood tests, stool tests or colonoscopy if necessary.
IBS cannot be cured. Treatment is based on symptom control. However incidents can be reduced and prevented with medications along with managing diet and lifestyle. Keep a symptom diary with a detailed record of stool consistency, frequency, pain, diet, medications, emotional status and exercise. From this, triggers of IBS can identified and avoided. Other treatment options include:
Along with other health professionals, your pharmacist can help you identify symptoms, discuss possible treatment options and counsel on medications, whether they are over the counter or prescription medications.
Better Health Channel
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders