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When IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) primarily causes frequent bouts of diarrhea, it is classified as diarrhea-predominant IBS or IBS-D. Patients with IBS-D not only experience diarrhea but also other IBS symptoms such as stomach pain and cramping. The condition is marked by loose bowel movements and an urge to have a bowel movement quite frequently.
Even though diarrhea-predominant IBS is incurable, there are various treatment options that can be effective in lessening the severity of symptoms, leading to a better quality of life.
Scientists have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of IBS. Studies have uncovered that women are at an increased risk of getting IBS than men, and this digestive disorder most commonly affects individuals over the age of 50. IBS also appears to have a genetic component, meaning those with a family history of IBS are at a higher risk of developing the condition themselves.
IBS is characterized by a highly sensitive gastrointestinal tract that can easily be triggered by mood changes such as too much stress, overgrowth of bacteria, and food sensitivities. IBS also has a neurological component due to which the colon is hyper-responsive to the signals it receives from the brain. As a result, the muscles in the intestines spasm too much, leading to poor digestive motility, which then causes symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, and gas.
Because there isn’t a single method to diagnose IBS, doctors reach a diagnosis based on symptoms and patients’ medical history. A telltale sign of IBS is experiencing its hallmark symptoms such as irregularity and stomach pain longer than 3 months at a time.
If you experience additional symptoms such as bloody stools and weight loss, or if gastrointestinal cancer runs in your family, your physician may order some tests to eliminate the possibility of more serious conditions. For instance, your doctor may ask for a blood test to see whether you have celiac disease and may perform a colonoscopy in search of abnormalities in the colon.
Treatment of IBS
There are many IBS treatments, and the treatment of each patient varies given that IBS affects everyone differently. In most cases, patients need to try out multiple treatment methods, sometimes a combination of numerous therapies, to identify the most effective treatment protocol for their particular circumstances. It is important to work closely with your primary physician to find the best strategies to relieve your IBS symptoms. Making lifestyle modifications such as dietary adjustments and reducing stress is just as effective as the use of medications.
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