Diseases & Conditions

Irritable Bowel Movement

Irritable Bowel MovementCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Irritable Bowel Movement?

Irritable bowel movement is a bowel disorder accompanied by abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, discomfort and a lot of distress. The condition is also known as IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome as also spastic colon.

Causes of irritable bowel movement

The exact cause of IBS is not known. However, a host of conditions like thyroid disorders, cancer of the colon, inflamed bowel syndrome etc. can cause abdominal pain and abnormal defecation. Causes of IBS that are more common are microscopic colitis, carcinoid syndrome, eosinophilic gastroenteritis and bacterial overgrowth. Severe gastrointestinal infection has a very high chance of causing irritable bowel movement. Recent studies have found that IBS is related to an imbalance of the brain-gut axis. Psychological factors like depression and anxiety can also cause IBS.

Medication for irritable bowel movement

In fact no cure has been developed to treat irritable bowel movement but there are many medications that can alleviate the symptoms. For those patients unresponsive to fiber supplements, osmotic laxatives like sorbitol, lactulose and PEG or polyethylene glycol might aid in avoiding what is termed cathartic colon which is associated with all stimulant laxatives. Lomotil and loperamide are laxatives that might decrease diarrhea.

Anstispasmodics are commonly prescribed and helps in controlling spasms of the colon muscles as well as decrease abdominal pain. Since antidepressants as well as antispasmodics can make constipation worse, doctors recommend medications that can relax muscles in the intestines as well as the bladder such as Librax and Donnapine. Since these drugs contain mild sedatives, they might be addictive and as such should be taken under medical supervision.

Prevention of irritable bowel movement

Since irritable bowel movement has no known causes, prevention of the same has not been clearly identified. However, eating healthy foods with plenty of fibers and seeking of immediate medical aid once the condition is suspected, can prevent IBS to a large extent.

Risk factors for irritable bowel movement

Irritable bowel movement has not been found to result in any serious condition in most people. Still it can lead to fatigue, chronic pain as also those symptoms that lead to absenteeism in workplaces. Research studies report that a high incidence of irritable bowel movement in tandem with enhanced costs makes it an ailment with a very high societal cost. Being a chronic illness, IBS can adversely affect the quality of any patient’s life.

Symptoms of irritable bowel movement

Primary symptoms of irritable bowel movement are pain or discomfort in the abdomen in tandem with frequent constipation or diarrhea as well as a shift in one’s usual bowel habits. There can also be an urgency to the bowel movements, a sense of tenesmus or incomplete evacuation, abdominal distention or bloating. Patients suffering from IBS tend to have the following more than the others.

Treatment for irritable bowel movement

Various treatments have been found effective for IBS, a major one being dietary changes. There are persons with IBS having food intolerances. However recent research studies did not prescribe any restrictive diet regimens.

Still, several changes in diet have been tried to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel movement. Since lactose intolerance produces symptoms similar to IBS, a diet free of lactose is recommended. Similarly people with fructose malabsorption as well as IBS exhibit the same sort of symptoms. So a diet that restricts the intake of fructan and fructose was found to treat the symptoms successfully in a manner that is dose-dependant.

Types of irritable bowel movement

Irritable bowel movement is essentially of three types: IBS-D or diarrhea-predominant, IBS-C or constipation predominant, IBS-A pain-predominant. With some patients, irritable bowel movement can develop as a result of some infectious disease that is characterized by any of these conditions: diarrhea, fever, vomiting or stool culture in the positive. Hence this syndrome is termed IBS-PI or post-infectious IBS.