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Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Frequently Asked Questions

QWhat is Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is one of the most common disorder of digestive system producing a spectrum of symptoms such as persistent and recurring abdominal pain associated with passing of motion, change of bowel habit (diarrhea, constipation, or alternate diarrhea and constipation), etc. without any apparent cause.

QWhat are the commonest causes of IBS?

The cause of IBS is not known. Doctors call it a functional disorder because there is no sign of disease such as inflammation or infection when the colon is examined.

The factors that can adversely affect the job of the bowel are as follows:

  • Psychological factors
  • Sensitivity to food
  • Genetics and heredity
  • Following an episode of gastroenteritis or abdominal surgeries like removal of gallbladder
  • Conventional medicines
QWhat factors contribute to the onset of IBS?

Many patients with IBS report that their symptoms began

  • during period of major life stress
  • shortly after recovering from a gastrointestinal infection or abdominal surgeries
  • upon the ingestion of a certain food (varying with the individual ) to which the individual is sensitive
QWhat are symptoms of IBS?

Although many IBS sufferers get similar symptoms, each individual with IBS has his own unique set of symptoms. The most common symptoms of IBS are as follows:

  • Altered bowel movements/habits
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Gas formation, bloating, and abdominal distention
  • Urgency
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation
  • Extra-colonial symptoms
QHow is IBS Diagnosed?

There is no diagnostic marker associated with IBS, the diagnosis is based

  • on symptoms
  • by excluding other diseases, which may have similar symptoms such as ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, diverticulosis, parasites, dysentery and other infectious illnesses

To arrive at the diagnosis of IBS positively, the doctor usually will take following steps:

  • Thorough medical history:
  • Physical examination:
  • Stool examination
  • Barium enema
  • Endoscopy
QWhat actually happens in case of IBS?

The walls of our intestines are lined with layers of muscle that expand and contract at regular intervals in order to move and digest the food through our intestines. When IBS occurs, the colon seems to contract in a disorganized, at times violent, manner. These abnormal contractions result in changing the bowel patterns.

To read more about it, refer: Pathology

QI have been recently diagnosed as having IBS, how will it affect my life style?

IBS can have significant impact on individual's social, personal, and professional life. IBS can be nothing more than a mild annoyance, completely debilitating, or anywhere in between. IBS can be very painful and can severely affect a person's quality of life, and is second only to the common cold as a cause of absenteeism from work.

QHow is stress related to IBS?

The key point is that IBS is strongly related to emotional stress and strain. Research on the psychosocial aspects of these disorders has yielded three general observations:

  • Psychological stress exacerbates gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Psychological disturbances amplify illness experience and adversely affect health status
  • Having a functional GI disorder like IBS impairs the quality of one’s life
QWhat is the conventional treatment for IBS?

Commonly used conventional medicines for IBS are:

  • Laxatives: act as stool softner
  • Anti spasmodics: for cramps and diarrhea
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: for mood alleviation
QAre my bowel symptoms just "all in my head" or psychosomatic?

Several studies have shown that psychological disturbances are more common in IBS patients than patients with other gastrointestinal diagnoses. However, people with IBS who do not seek medical care have a similar psychological profile as the general population. Therefore, IBS is not caused by psychological problems, but a person's outcome and illness behavior is affected by their psychological make-up.

QCan IBS be life threatening and cause of some other gastric disorder?

The symptoms of IBS are very painful and debilitating but it is never a life-threatening condition. Those afflicted with IBS do not have any greater chances of developing other inflammatory conditions of bowel like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis; neither do they pose any higher risk of having colon cancer.

QWhat is the role of psychological and/or social factors in IBS?

Psychiatric diagnoses are present in 42-62% of IBS patients who have sought medical consultation. In comparison, psychiatric diagnoses are present in around 20% of patients with other gastrointestinal diagnosis. The majority of these psychiatric diagnoses are cases of anxiety and depression. Other common diagnoses include somatization disorder and hypochondriasis.

QWhy do you suggest Homeopathy for IBS?

Homeopathy is a scientific medical alternative for treating a wide range of chronic ailments, one amongst them being IBS.

The basic approach in homeopathy is to evaluate the disease of IBS in its whole extent, whereby a lot of emphasis is given to the patient as a whole besides minutely studying various aspects of the IBS in order to relieve the bowel hypermotility and enhancing a positive mood state.

Read more about the same: Treatment

QIf I am on conventional treatment, can I still start with Homeopathy?

Yes you can start Homeopathy along with conventional treatment.

QWhat change can I expect in IBS with Homeopathy?

Homeopathy works in controlling the IBS by:

  • Soothing of mind
  • Slowing down of negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness, frustration, hyperactivity, anger, restlessness, etc.
  • Helping body's stress coping system
  • Alleviating the abnormal hypersensitivity of the bowels
  • Relieving the symptoms of bowel hypermotility
  • Enhancing level of joyous state of mind
QDo they interact with conventional medicines?

No, they can be taken together.

QWhen do I start seeing improvement after starting Homeopathic medicine?

Most patients report improvement in about eight to ten weeks.

QIs it necessary to make drastic dietary changes?
  • In some cases, certain foods can aggravate IBS symptoms and should be avoided
  • High fiber diet is recommended in cases with severe constipation
QWhat is success rate in treating IBS with Homeopathy?

At Life Force, we have treated and documented over 100 cases of IBS with significant success rate.

QHow long do I have to be on your treatment?

The length of treatment depends on the severity of gastric symptoms. Most patients are treated for one to two years. For other Online Treatment related Frequently Asked Questions, please click here.