Latest Research on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

by : Kiran Tamada

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is very prevalent and common disorder characterized by abdominal pain, stomach discomfort and changes in bowel movements. Bowel changes may be either in form of constipation, diarrhoea or both. Additional symptoms include general malaise, loss of appetite and bloating of stomach. Research suggests that IBS is more prevalent in women compared to men. In United States around 15-20% population suffer from this disease.

One of the major causes of IBS has been attributed to stress and anxiety and is psychosomatic disorder, but latest research reveals that it is caused due to changes in sensation of muscles and nerves which affect the motility of the bowel. Research also reveals people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have high level of sensitivity of the intestine compared to people who do not suffer. Neurochemical imbalance of Serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is responsible for GI motility is also one factor responsible for IBS.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not life threatening disease but it can severely impact the daily quality life. In children abdominal pain can cause absentee from school. Patients suffering from severe symptoms have greater impairments in their lives.

IBS is more prevalent in Caucasian race (whites) compared to Hispanic or Asian population; hence IBS is not well characterized beyond western countries. IBS is more prevalent in whites than black.

To dismay, till date there is no complete cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and it is a chronic illness. Treatment is based on symptoms. It can be frustrating for the patient as well as the doctor to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is very important for the doctor to establish good relationship with the patient, reassurance is the key for treatment along with proper counseling, change in dietary habits and lifestyle changes can help a lot for IBS patients. People suffering from moderate symptoms can go ahead with their daily lives without much impact.
Dietary change in habits can go long way in helping IBS patients. Elimination of foods like sorbitol, fructose, and gas forming legumes can help in alleviating IBS and bring relief to the patients. Foods favoring flatulence like onions, carrots, bananas and wheat germ if avoided may help to cure IBS to a certain extent.

High fiber diets also help IBS patients who suffer from constipation as fiber helps in retention of water, and helps in colonal exit. Calculation of fiber in diet/day in children is done by adding 5 to the age of the child.