IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is one of the most common disorders of the digestive system producing a spectrum of symptoms such as persistent and recurring abdominal pain associated with the passing of motion, change of bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or alternate diarrhea and constipation etc.) without any apparent cause. The word syndrome means a group of symptoms. IBS is a syndrome because it can cause several symptoms in addition to those mentioned, like cramping, bloating, gas, frequent urge to pass stools, the sensation of incomplete evacuation, etc.
IBS is a disorder of function, which means that the bowel doesn’t work, as it should. If one visualizes the bowel, it appears perfectly normal without any inflammation or other structural changes. In people with IBS, the intestines squeeze too hard or not hard enough and cause food to move too quickly or too slowly through the intestines.
Through the years, IBS has been called by many names–colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, spastic bowel, functional bowel disease, irritable colon, and nervous colon. Most of these terms are inaccurate and refer to an understanding of diseases at that particular time frame. Colitis, for instance, means inflammation of the large intestine (colon). IBS, however, does not cause inflammation of the bowel and should not be confused with another disorder like ulcerative colitis.
IBS is a very common condition across the globe and it is estimated that around 20% of people suffer from this condition sometime during their lifetime. Over 40 million Americans and one-third of the UK population suffer from IBS sometimes in life. It is the single most common reason for which people seek a gastroenterologist’s opinions. The statistics state that people miss work for IBS and related disorders more than for anything else, except colds.
IBS though affects people of all ages and both sexes; it is more common in young people; usually in late adolescence or early adulthood. The condition is almost two to three times more common in females as compared to males.
Nature of condition
Almost everything about IBS is totally dependent on the individual patient. For some, IBS may arise during times of stress or crisis, and then subside once the stressful event has passed. For others, IBS strikes seemingly randomly and without warning and never completely goes away. The duration of IBS is different for everybody. The symptoms may wax and wane, be particularly severe at some times and absent at others. To sum up, this is a chronic relapsing condition.
Effect on lifestyle
IBS can be nothing more than a mild annoyance, completely debilitating, or anywhere in between. Again, it depends on the person and how he or she reacts to it and treats it. IBS can, however, 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.
IBS and Stress
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.
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
1. Altered bowel movements/habits:
Some people with IBS have constipation (difficult or infrequent bowel movements, hard stools); others have diarrhea frequent loose stools, often with an urgent need to move the bowels); and some people experience both, for example, several weeks of constipation followed by a few days of diarrhea. Diarrhea typically occurs immediately after a meal or when getting up in the morning. Sometimes people with IBS pass mucus with their bowel movements.
2. Abdominal pain and cramps:
The abdominal discomfort of an irritable bowel ranges from a sharp, cramps to a continuous, dull ache. Common sites of pain include the lower abdomen, specifically the left lower quadrant. Meals may precipitate pain while pain is commonly relieved by defecation.
3. Gas formation, bloating, abdominal distention:
Patients frequently report increased amounts of bloating and gas and distended feeling.
Sometimes the person with IBS has a cramp and an urge to move the bowels but cannot do so.
5. The sensation of incomplete evacuation:
The patient feels like he still needs to have a bowel movement after he has already had one.(incomplete evacuation)
6. Extra-colonial symptoms:
In addition, a number of other symptoms not directly related to the bowel may be present in patients with IBS. These include: nausea (with or without vomiting), feeling full after eating only a small meal, difficulty swallowing, a sensation of a lump in the throat or closing of the throat, heartburn or acid indigestion, chest pain, the sensation of urinary urgency, incomplete emptying after urinating, fatigue and generalized body ache or muscular pains, and pain during sexual intercourse.
Bleeding, fever, weight loss, and persistent severe pain are not symptoms of IBS but may indicate other problems.
Homeopathy effectively manages various symptoms of IBS gently and safely.
Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Since there is no diagnostic marker associated with IBS, the diagnosis is based on symptoms and by excluding other diseases, which may have similar symptoms such as
Since there is no diagnostic marker associated with IBS, the diagnosis is based on symptoms and 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 the following steps:
1. Thorough medical history:
The doctor will take a complete medical history that includes a careful description of symptoms. The symptoms that favor diagnosis of IBS are
- Relief of abdominal pain with defecation
- Looser stools with the onset of pain
- More frequent bowel movements at the onset of pain
- Abdominal bloating or distention
- Feelings of incomplete evacuation, and
- Passage of mucus per rectum.
2. Physical examination:
Most patients, however, will be given a thorough physical exam, which is performed mainly to rule out other medical illnesses. The patient has an overall healthy appearance. The patient may be tense or anxious. The patient may present with sigmoid tenderness or a palpable sigmoid colon.
3. Laboratory test:
A stool sample will be tested for evidence of bleeding by using a special chemical test called Hemoccult slides. This is very important in the evaluation since IBS should not be associated with any bleeding. The stool will also be examined for evidence of microorganisms notorious for producing symptoms of diarrhea or constipation.
Other tests may be done to rule out the deficiency of enzymes required for digestion of milk sugar or check the level of hormones like thyroid etc.
The doctor also may do diagnostic procedures such as x-rays of lower G.I. series also called a barium enema. It is a special type of X-ray that uses barium sulfate to outline the lining of the rectum and colon. Barium sulfate is a chalky chemical that shows up as white on X-ray film.
The individual is made to lie on his/her side on an x-ray table, he/she will be given an enema of barium fluid through a tube that is inserted into the rectum. You will be instructed to ‘hold’ the fluid inside while an X-ray technician will take a series of X-rays. The procedure is painless.
These studies were done with x-ray to help the doctor rule out conditions like tumor, inflammation, obstruction, Crohn’s disease, etc.
Endoscopy is the process of viewing the inside of the colon and its various parts through a flexible tube inserted through the anus to find out if there is a disease. These examinations are usually performed to rule out other colon disorders such as colon cancer, ulcers, inflammation, and other problems, that may produce similar symptoms.
The patient is asked to lie on his left side on the exam table. Medication will be given to limit any discomfort experienced during the procedure. Then, the doctor will insert a flexible colonoscope into your rectum. This test uses a colonoscopy, which is a flexible tube with lenses, a tiny TV camera, and a light at the end. Through fiber-optic technology and a video computer chip, the colonoscope can scan the inside of the colon and transmit images to a video screen.
The colonoscopy procedure can take up to 1 1/2 hours and is performed in a hospital as an outpatient procedure.
Since the mainstay of diagnosis of IBS is based on the patient’s symptoms and complaints, the medical fraternity has laid down certain criteria for positive confirmation of irritable bowel syndrome. To know more about them click here.
The Manning criteria to distinguish IBS from organic disease are as follows:
- On set of pain associated with more frequent bowel movements
- On set of pain associated with looser bowel movements
- Pain relieved by defecation
- Visible abdominal bloating
- The subjective sensation of incomplete evacuation more than 25% of the time
- Mucorrhea more than 25% of the time
Recently, a consensus panel updated the Manning Criteria. The result provides a standardized diagnosis for research and clinical practice.
During the past three months, have you experienced continuous or recurrent symptoms of:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort which is:
- Relieved by defecation? and/or
- Associated with a change in frequency of stool? and/or
- Associated with a change of consistency of stool?
- Two of the following at least 25 percent of occasions or days?
- Altered stool frequency (more than 3 bowel movements/day or fewer than 3 bms/week)
- Altered stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stools)
- Altered stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation)
- Passage of mucus
- Bloating or feeling of abdominal distension
Diagnosis usually is made after these symptoms have occurred for at least 3 months.
The Rome Criteria for the diagnosis of IBS require that patients must have the following continuous or recurrent symptoms for at least 3 months:
Abdominal pain or discomfort characterized by the following:
– Relieved by defecation
– Associated with a change in stool frequency
– Associated with a change in stool consistency
Two or more of the following characteristics at least 25% of the time:
– Altered stool frequency
– Altered stool form
– Altered stool passage
– Abdominal bloating or subjective distention
Homeopathic Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can have a significant impact on an individual’s social, personal, and professional life. Homeopathy offers proven treatment for IBS which treats the Mind and Body connections.
What does the IBS treatment do?
IBS calls for treatment that should address the emotional stress, the stress coping system, and intestinal hypersensitivity. This is what homeopathy attempts doping exactly. The scientific and documented study shows that the homeopathic treatment helps achieve:
- Soothing of mind
- Slowing down 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
- An individualistic approach whereby every patient is treated based on one’s case
What is the duration of treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):
Most patients report improvement in about eight to ten weeks.
Role of homeopathy medicines…
From our previous discussion, it can be recalled that in IBS the way the digestive tract works is disturbed i.e. to say it is a functional disorder.
Homeopathy medicine works at the deeper level, bringing the deviations of harmony among various systems of the body back to normalcy. Homeopathic medicine establishes good communication between the brain and the gut thus ensuring proper relay of signals.
The positive outcome of this is that the motility of the intestines becomes regular and rhythmic thus relieving complaints of either diarrhea constipation or both.
Moreover, Homeopathy improves the pain threshold of an individual thus alleviating symptoms of pain and cramps associated with IBS.
Homeopathy works at the root level…
Homeopathy medicines work at the deeper level of an individual to root out root causes. The two factors that are triggering causes of IBS are emotional stress and exaggerated sensitivity to food items.
Homeopathy has very well perceived the influences of the psyche on the physique of an individual. Homeopathy medicines positively influence the emotions and thinking of an individual so that the person can cope with stress optimistically. Homeopathy medicines have proven efficacy to manage mental stress and its offshoots like IBS.
Moreover Homeopathy medicines aid in minimizing food sensitivities and allergies.
The homeopathic approach toward the case of IBS (link to animation)
Homeopathy is a scientific medical alternative for treating a wide range of chronic ailments, one amongst them being IBS. It should be emphasized that Homeopathy treats the patient as a whole and not just the disease.
The basic approach in homeopathy is to evaluate the disease of IBS to its whole extent, whereby a lot of emphases is given to the patient as a whole besides minutely studying various aspects of irritable bowel syndrome. Every patient of IBS is evaluated as an individual case and treated as such.