Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Recognize the Symptoms and Treatment!

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common irritable disorder that occurs in the large intestine. This condition is caused by disorders of the digestive tract, but does not indicate damage to the tissue structure. IBS is characterized by a series of symptoms, such as recurring stomach pain that can get worse after consuming certain foods or drinks.

The main cause of IBS is not yet clearly understood. It is suspected that this condition is related to disorders of the digestive tract, including disorders of movement, nervous system, muscle contractions, inflammation, infection, and changes in the balance of bacteria in the intestine. Irritable bowel syndrome causes contractions in the large intestine that interfere with the digestive process. Normally, the large intestine contracts to absorb water, soften the texture of feces, and encourage feces to pass out. In individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, the colon contraction process does not proceed normally, causing too rapid intestinal contractions which can trigger diarrhea or constipation.

Generally, IBS can have dangerous effects on health and can even threaten the sufferer's life. Someone who experiences IBS can feel so disturbed that it impacts their daily life. So, what are the symptoms of IBS and how is it treated?

IBS symptoms

IBS has signs and symptoms that vary from person to person. However, here are some common IBS symptoms:

  1. Abdominal pain, stomach cramps, or bloating that usually subsides after defecating.
  2. Excessive gas or farting.
  3. Diarrhea or constipation, even both.
  4. Mucus in stool.
  5. Most people with IBS experience symptoms that come and go with varying degrees of severity from very severe to disappearing completely.

Other symptoms that can appear in IBS sufferers are:

  1. Abdominal pain that usually subsides after defecating.
  2. Can't hold back the urge to defecate.
  3. Nausea and vomiting.
  4. Slimy bowel movements.
  5. Frequent belching or farting.
  6. Tired easily.
  7. Muscle ache.
  8. Back pain.
  9. Get full quickly.
  10. Decreased appetite.
  11. Hot feeling in the chest (heartburn).

IBS can cause different symptoms for each sufferer.

IBS Treatment

Currently, there is no cure for IBS, and response to different types of treatment can vary among individuals suffering from this condition. Therefore, physicians must individualize the therapy plan to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Controlling mild symptoms often involves effective stress management and lifestyle and dietary changes. This includes avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, increasing fiber intake, maintaining adequate hydration, stopping smoking, exercising regularly, and ensuring adequate, quality sleep.

Your doctor may also recommend eliminating certain foods from your daily diet, depending on the symptoms the person with IBS is experiencing. For example, avoid foods high in gas such as carbonated drinks and alcoholic drinks, and consider stopping consuming gluten from foods containing wheat, barley and rye.

Meanwhile, there are several drugs that doctors can recommend for sufferers based on their symptoms:

  1. Antibiotics: If IBS is caused by an imbalance in the number of bacteria in the gut.
  2. Antispasmodics: Aims to reduce intestinal muscle contractions.
  3. Antidepressants: These drugs work to relieve IBS symptoms in some people, especially those triggered by stress or depression.
  4. Probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria that can help in the digestive process in the intestines.
  5. Pain medication: can relieve severe pain or bloating.

When dealing with IBS, it is important for each individual to find a treatment approach that suits their individual needs and symptoms. With cooperation between patients and doctors, as well as through good stress management, dietary changes, and appropriate therapy, it is hoped that people with IBS can reduce symptoms and improve their quality of life. While there is no immediate cure, these efforts can help control symptoms and provide necessary support for those dealing with this condition.

Article written by dr. Felmond Limanu, Sp.B. SubSp. BD(K) (Surgeon Specialist - Digestive Surgery Subspecialist EMC Pekayon Hospital).