Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a common condition associated with the large intestine of our body. It affects around 25-45 million Americans. People in their late teens to the early 40s are likely to get affected by this condition.
A person with IBS often experiences a mix of belly discomfort or pain along with trouble in bowel habits. Some other symptoms are cramping, bloating, mucus formation in the stool, and gas. Although it isn’t a life-threatening disease, it requires long-term management, a healthy lifestyle, and proper treatment to get rid of IBS.
Mostly, healthcare professionals categorize IBS into three categories which are as follows:
- IBS-D where diarrhea is the predominant symptom
- IBS-C where constipation is the predominant symptom
- IBS-M where predominant symptoms can be a mix of diarrhea and constipation
Factors that lead to IBS-D
Though the precise causes of IBS-D are still unknown, let’s have a look at some of the factors that play a vital role in the development of this condition:
Intestinal muscle contractions
The intestinal walls have muscle linings that allow food to pass through the digestive tract through its contraction and relaxation movements. If the intestinal contractions are stronger than the average levels, it can lead to the formation of gas, bloating, and even diarrhea. At the same time, if the muscle contractions are weaker than usual, food passes slowly through the digestive tract, which can lead to the formation of hard and dry stool.
Abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system can cause your body to overreact to changes. Thus, it could result in discomfort, pain, or even diarrhea and constipation.
Some people with IBS-D develops an increased number of immune-system cells in the intestinal walls which leads to inflammation of these walls. This condition plays a role in the formation of more serious digestive abnormalities including diarrhea and constipation.
If you have severe diarrhea due to bacterial infections, then you are prone to get IBS-D. IBS is sometimes associated with bacterial overgrowth in the intestines.
Tiggers for IBS-D
Apart from the factors mentioned above, certain other elements can cause IBS-D.
Although health experts haven’t fully understood the connection between food allergies and the development of IBS-D, many people experience IBS-D symptoms that worsen when they consume certain foods or drink items, including the following:
- Bread and cereals made from refined grains
- Processed foods
- Carbonated drinks, coffee, and alcohol
- Dairy products like creams, butter, and cottage cheese
- Apples, pears, and watermelons
- Broccoli, cabbage, chickpeas, and baked beans
Stress can induce certain complications and worsen several conditions. Thus, IBS-D can be one of the side effects of increased stress levels. Most people with increased stress levels face several signs and symptoms of IBS-D.
Hormonal changes and abnormalities can be one of the things that trigger the development of IBS-D. Women experience symptoms of IBS-D during or around when they are menstruating.
According to reports, many people who have IBS-D have poor lifestyle qualities and habits like an erratic sleep cycle, odd work timings, and bad food habits. All of these external factors determine the impact of IBS-D on individuals.
Treatments for IBS-D
No definite test will help you determine a treatment option for IBS-D. Your doctor is likely to start by examining your medical history and background, along with carrying out some physical tests. The treatment for IBS-D mainly focuses on relieving symptoms by managing stress and making changes in one’s lifestyle and food habits.
Your doctor will suggest several food items that you will need to exclude from your diet. Some of these food items that can help you treat IBS-D are:
Avoid foods that cause gas
If you are experiencing bloating or symptoms of gas, it’s advisable to avoid consumption of certain foods such as carbonated or alcoholic beverages, caffeine, and specific fruits and vegetables.
According to several medical reports, people affected by IBS-D show improvement in diarrhea symptoms if they stop consuming food items that contain gluten.
Lifestyle and home remedies
One of the main objectives of IBS-D treatment is to bring simple changes to one’s diet and lifestyle such as:
- Consumption of food items that are rich sources of fiber
- Avoid skipping meals and try to eat at the same time each day
- Regular exercise
About 10 to 15 percent of people in this industrialized world with gastrointestinal disorders suffer from IBS. By identifying food items that can trigger IBS-D, one can sleep peacefully at night without the fear of stomach pain and discomfort. Although several medications are available as a part of an IBS-D treatment plan, one can get rid of this condition’s symptoms by following a healthy diet and lifestyle along with regular exercises. All of these activities will also improve your overall health in the long run.