Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most frequent causes of medical consultation due to digestive issues. However, it is often confused with other functional disorders, such as diarrhea or constipation.
How to treat irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome accounts for between 25 and 50% of medical visits to gastroenterologists, with greater involvement in women than in men, according to the Spanish Association of Gastroenterology This pathology is included within the functional intestinal disorders, which also include other conditions such as functional constipation, functional diarrhea and abdominal distention / bloating. In fact, these disorders often overlap and can be very difficult to distinguish.
The prevalence of irritable bowel in Western countries is between 10% and 18%. However, its incidence is difficult to determine, since the symptoms develop in an apparently mild way, so the patient may take time to come to the consultation.
The pharmacy can offer the patient an orientation, according to their symptoms, and give some advice to alleviate them.
Irritable bowel symptoms
According to the Spanish Association of Gastroenterology, “we call irritable bowel syndrome to a set of symptoms for which we do not find a clear or detectable underlying cause with the available diagnostic techniques.” In general, the symptoms of irritable bowel consist mainly of
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating / swelling
- Alterations in the rhythm of bowel movements, either in the form of constipation or diarrhea (or both).
- Other gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal symptoms can also occur
- Mucus in stool
- The feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Straining when defecating
- Digestive symptoms
- Early satiety
- Epigastric pain
- Extraintestinal symptoms
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Anxiety Depression
- Muscle pains
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome must meet a series of conditions regarding the symptoms to rule out any other disorder and thus avoid confusion presence of chronic diarrhea or constipation without identifiable cause together with functional chronic abdominal pain. These symptoms should appear for a minimum of 12 weeks a year, not necessarily consecutive. In fact, its clinical course is characterized by alternating symptomatic with asymptomatic periods.
Tips for people with irritable bowel
- Go to your pharmaceutical. The pharmacy can offer a series of recommendations for people with irritable bowel to improve their quality of life.
- Create compliance schedules for taking medication.
- Consume more soluble fiber, which is found in fruits, products such as oats, or beans.
- Avoid gluten, a protein present in wheat, as some patients with irritable bowel syndrome have been shown to be more sensitive to gluten.
- Avoid large meals and follow a specific diet for irritable bowel syndrome, avoiding foods that are difficult to digest (fats, or nuts). dairy products (milk, or cheeses), wheat or rye products, sweet foods.
- Practice aerobic physical exercise. Experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
- Avoid stressful situations. Practicing yoga or relaxation exercises can help reduce stress.
- Get enough sleep. It should be between 8 and 9 hours.
- Take probiotics, because live bacteria that improve the modulation of the intestinal flora and the proliferation of immune cells.