Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder impacting the intestine and is a huge burden on people who live with this condition. Characterised as a long-term condition, IBS can lead to a wide range of unpleasant symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits, that can take the form of either constipation or diarrhoea, adding to its complexity.
Despite its widespread incidence, ranging from an estimated 10-15% of the global population, IBS remains a condition that can often go undiagnosed and untreated, which in turn can cause considerable discomfort and disruption to daily life. By shedding light on the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options associated with IBS, people can take the necessary steps to manage their symptoms better and improve their quality of life.
The symptoms of IBS are highly individualised, can be caused by numerous factors, and can manifest in a wide range of symptoms. However, several symptoms are commonly experienced by individuals with IBS.
IBS symptoms can be truly distressing, but researchers still do not fully understand the root causes of this digestive dysfunction. It is crucial to recognise that the symptoms of IBS do not usually correspond to any apparent structural disorders or disease in the gastrointestinal tract. Patients often undergo physical examinations or diagnostic evaluations. However, doctors may not be able to diagnose any visible abnormalities in the digestive system.
IBS has been classified as a functional disorder, which indicates that the digestive system is not functioning properly. More recent evidence suggests that it is in fact a disorder of gut-brain interaction rather than a functional gastrointestinal disorder. IBS is thought to stem from a multifactorial interplay of underlying issues, such as problems arising in the communication between the gut and the brain, abnormalities in the nerves and muscles of the digestive tract, changes in gut microbiota, and emotional stress.
The cause of IBS points to many factors, including genetic predisposition, lifestyle factors such as dietary habits and physical exercise, and psychological factors such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, certain foods containing high-fat levels, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners can potentially exacerbate IBS symptoms in some individuals. In many cases, IBS is thought to start after an episode of acute gastroenteritis and is termed post-infectious IBS (PI-IBS).
Since no apparent structural damage or disease is associated with IBS, the condition is often diagnosed solely based on symptoms, as there is currently no specific diagnostic test for IBS. Given the considerable heterogeneity in symptom presentation and the diverse range of potential contributing factors, this diagnostic approach can pose challenges to accurately diagnosing and effectively managing IBS.
Nonetheless, various treatment options are available for IBS, including dietary modifications, medications, and lifestyle adjustments. Collaborating with a healthcare professional can be instrumental in formulating an individualised management plan that effectively addresses the unique symptoms and circumstances of each person with IBS. New therapies are also being researched; oral intestinal adsorbents such as Enterosgel, an over-the-counter treatment, in a recent UK-based trial have been shown to be effective in relieving the main symptoms of IBS with diarrhoea.
A scientifically-developed solution for:
Enterosgel is a drug-free remedy for IBS-D, and diarrhoea with gastrointestinal symptoms.
Taken with water 2 hours before or after food, this taste-free gel acts like a clever sponge to actively soak-up harmful substances in your gut, such as bacterial toxins and viruses before expelling them from your body naturally.
Enterosgel is safe for children from 1 year (1-3 yr on doctor’s advice) and adults, and is available over the counter in 90g tubes for children and 225g tubes for adults or in handy 15g travel sachets.
Ask your GP or a pharmacist about ENTEROSGEL and pick up a pack from Boots, Holland & Barrett, Well+ or your local pharmacy, or order online from Amazon. Also, you can buy it here, right now, with a fantastic discount.