Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS for short, is a series of symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and constipation associated with the digestive system. This condition and it's symptoms generally tend to cause discomfort, especially for those suffering for prolonged periods.
The reasons why people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome are still being researched, as some aspects of this condition are still not fully understood.
General medical consensus is this condition may be triggered differently for sufferers and affect them with varying symptoms.
There is no cure for this condition, no magic pill that can be taken, the only relief is from managing the triggers associated with IBS.
Triggers such as stress and diet are generally perceived as the major factors involved in escalating this condition. Therefore by managing stress, some sufferers have reported some relief from the IBS symptoms.
Stress reduction in the form of exercise can help some people get their quality of life back from this condition.
Some people have reported improvements in stress management by using hypnotherapy or counselling services. With the latter allowing any built up emotions to be brought out into the open, with a trained counsellor, thereby effectively reducing anxiety.
Specific food types may in themselves also be triggers, such as spicy foods, dairy products to specific ingredients such as wheat. Further tests would need to be done to ensure, a particular food is a trigger as well as isolating other factors which may actually be more prominent in causing symptoms.
IBS symptoms generally include irregularity in emptying the bowels, resulting from constipation, generally followed by diarrhoea, as hardened faeces, become very soft.
Other symptoms include bloating and subsequent stomach cramps, which tend to dissipate when the bowels are eventually emptied as well as something through releasing wind.
It is important to seek medical advise from a doctor/physician to ascertain the condition as falling into the realm of IBS related. As sometimes similar symptoms may be caused by other conditions such as thyroid gland problems, food allergies, to infections.
It is important to be aware of those symptoms which may indicate more serious health issues and would require immediate consultation with a medical profession such as a doctor/physician.
There are several danger signs which would require urgent medical advice, such as, any unexplained weight loss including rapid weight loss, may require further investigation from a doctor/physician to assess whether this is normal or there is an underlying issue causing the weight loss.
Any lump (swelling) in the abdominal area or a lump (swelling) in the anal area would require prompt medical investigation, as would any bleeding from the anal area.
The general prognosis from the medical profession is that IBS is not a condition which could lead to an increase in the risk of cancer in the digestive system. Cancers such as bowel and rectal cancer may not necessarily be associated with prolonged IBS suffering.
There simply is not enough research, to link IBS with cancer definitely, as other reasons including genetics may play an increased role in some cancers associated with the digestive system.
The medical profession do advocate a healthy lifestyle composed of regular exercise and healthy eating, as an important step in helping in reducing the risk of cancers.