IBS is also known as spastic colon, irritable colon, mucous colitis and spastic colitis. It is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Sign and symptoms produced by it vary from person to person in duration and severity. IBS does not increase risk to colorectal cancer but in long term it does change the way you live. Most people can keep it in control by making little changes in diet and lifestyle, but if the symptoms are severe and uncontrollable, medical intervention might be required.
People suffering from IBS may have symptoms like diarrhoea(there can be violent episodes), constipation, diarrhoea alternating with constipation, bloating, spasmodic colic in lower abdomen (that might increase after meals and subside after passing motions), mucous in stools, etc. Some people may also experience urinary or sexual problems.
We can categories IBS into four types- 1.IBS with diarrhoea, 2.IBS with constipation, 3.IBS with alternating pattern of diarrhoea and constipation, 4.People who do not fit in any of these 3 categories are put in unsubtyped IBS. Most people experience that IBS complaints are episodic, meaning, there are times when the symptoms are worse, and there are times when they improve or disappear completely.
If symptoms are not controlled by diet and lifestyle changes, and become serious, they can lead to weight loss, severe violent diarrhoea at night, rectal bleeding, persistent painful bloating, iron deficiency anaemia, difficult swallowing, etc.
Exact cause of IBS is unknown, but some probable causes can be-
- Abnormal muscular contractions which are strong and longer in duration than normal can cause bloating , diarrhoea etc. And if these contractions are weaker than normal it can lead to sluggish bowel movements which can cause constipation.
- Lack of coordination between brain and nerves of intestine may lead to abnormal reactions to normal digestive processes that again can lead to pain and discomfort in lower abdomen with diarrhoea.
- Sometimes there is inflammation in the intestines, which is responsible for symptoms like pain and discomfort.
- IBS can develop after serious infections like violent episode of inflammatory diarrhoea, or due to bacterial overgrowth in the intestines.
* Microflora are the group of “good bacterias” found in intestine, these are very important to keep body in healthy state. It has been found that these bacterias differ in people with IBS from people who are healthy.
What factors trigger IBS is still not understood well, but some foods like dairy products, citrus fruits, bean, cabbage etc have been known to make symptoms worse. Other than this, stress is also known to aggravate symptoms. IBS is more common in women than men and women experience aggravation in symptoms mostly during their menses, so it is considered related to hormones also.
Homeopathy is known for curing body tendencies and has wonderful effects in cases of IBS. Top medicines that prove helpful in treatment are-
- Lycopodium- for people with food intolerances like beans, cabbage, onions etc. Pains are worse in the evening, which improve by passing flatus.
- Colocynthis- for terrible stomach cramps, better by lying on abdomen and doubling up.
- Nux vomica- for digestive problems occurring due to mental exhaustions. Spicy foods cause heartburn.
- Sulphur- for burning pains in stomach worse in morning and at night.
- Carbo veg- well suited for older people, with general fatigue and burning pains, aggravated by fatty, rich foods with painful bloating.