Overview

Do you feel the urge to rush to the restroom every time you eat something different or whenever you are faced with any kind of stress? Have you noticed any change in your bowel habits, abnormal bloating and heaviness of abdomen that keeps coming and going? If yes, you may well be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the commonest disorders that affect the large intestine and an estimated one fifth of the global population suffers from it. Commonly giving rise to symptoms like constipation and/or diarrhea, abdominal bloating and gases, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is basically a functional disease.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) tends to be mild in most cases; however it can be disabling in some of the severe cases. Most of the patients can manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) well if they learn to control their diet and modify lifestyle along with opting for proper treatment. Research conducted on the effects of Homeopathy in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients has clearly demonstrated significant benefits of homeopathic treatment in these patients. At Dr. Batra's, we have successfully treated a large number of cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with good results in most cases. Their smile is a testimony to the fact that homeopathy works beautifully in these cases. Go ahead and experience the benefits of this wonderful science for your troubles.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the commonest disorders of the digestive system and primarily affects the large intestine. It presents as pain in abdomen, diarrhea and/ or constipation with bloating and gases. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is also commonly known by other names such as spastic colitis, spastic colon, mucous colitis, etc.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects people of all ages though it tends to be common before 35 years of age in more than half the patients. Gender predilection is clearly evident with more females being affected as compared to males.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is basically a functional disease in nature which means that though the disease causes abnormalities of function, there are no pathological changes seen in the intestines - no permanent damage to the intestine occurs. Examining the intestines with the naked eye or under the microscope does not reveal any abnormalities like inflammation or other changes. In addition, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) does not increase the risk for cancer (colorectal cancer) as other intestinal diseases like Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's disease do.

An estimated 15 to 20 percent of people all over the world suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and it is one of the prime causes of absenteeism from work. The cost of treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and the indirect costs due to lost working hours and loss of productivity amount to billions of dollars globally. In addition, millions of dollars are spent for on-going research on this disease. Yet the cause of this condition continues to evade the medical fraternity.

A large number of patients can manage their symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with proper medication and certain changes in their diet and lifestyle. Homeopathy has a safe and effective solution to this problem and one that is without any side effects. Homeopathic treatment can go a long way in ensuring that the digestive system of the patient is gradually restored back to normal.

Causes

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of those diseases whose exact cause continues to evade the medical fraternity even today. A large number of factors work in a complex combination to trigger the onset of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in a given case. Some of these factors include:

  • Stress
  • Disorders of the immune system
  • Hormones
  • Hereditary
  • Problem with the functioning of the nerves that supply the gut (intestines)

The result of the above interplay of factors is that there are abnormal contractions of the muscle of the intestines. In cases where the contractions are abnormally fast, the patient may experience diarrhea. On the other hand, where the contractions become slower than normal, the patient ends up with constipation and bloating. Even the gas that is formed in the intestines tends to be retained longer than usual in IBS patients giving rise to sensation of bloating and abdominal heaviness.

Triggers of episodes:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) tends to episodic in many cases where there are periods during which the disease worsens. These episodes tend to be triggered by any or all of the following:

  • Certain foods: Milk and milk products, chocolates, tea, coffee, colas, alcohol, etc. often trigger complaints. Bloating and gases may be triggered by the intake of certain vegetables, fruits and carbonated drinks.
  • Large meals at any given time can significantly worsen complaints.
  • Hormonal changes - Complaints may worsen during periods of hormonal changes such as before, during or after menstruation in women.
  • Psychological stress - It is not uncommon for complaints to get worse during periods of stress in irritable bowel syndrome patients.
  • Other disease conditions: An acute infection of the intestines (such as infectious diarrhea) can trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.
  • Conventional medicines: Certain drugs used in conventional treatment such as antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatory medicines, etc. can worsen IBS symptoms.

No matter what the cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), this condition can be safely, gently and effectively treated with Homeopathy.

Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disease and the presentation varies from case to case. The duration, severity and type of symptoms are all individual-specific.

In some cases, the symptoms may be mild and persistent at all times. In other cases, the symptoms may come up only during times of stress and then disappear completely. There are also cases in which the condition appears suddenly without any warning at all and follows a random pattern. Some people are affected so severely by irritable bowel syndrome that it may be difficult for them to continue with their daily activities, attend social functions or travel.

Some of the common symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are described here:

  • Constipation: The patient gets less than 3 bowel movements a week; stools are hard, difficult to pass and require straining. There may be cramping pain in the abdomen due to the straining at stools.
  • Diarrhea: The patient gets more than 3 bowel movements a day; the stools are loose or may be watery in consistency. The stool is generally preceded by an uncontrollable urge to defecate.
  • Constipation may alternate with diarrhea in some patients of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Flatulence, gases
  • Bloating and heaviness of abdomen

Apart from symptoms pertaining to the digestive tract, the patient may also experience other general symptoms such as:

  • Tiredness, fatigue
  • Backache
  • Headache
  • Generalized body ache and muscle pains
  • Anxiety or depression on account of the disease
  • Frequent urging for urination or other urinary problems
  • Pain during sex, reduced sexual desire

Some of the symptoms to watch out for (these are not symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and must be reported to the treating physician if detected):

  • Blood in stools
  • Fever
  • Significant weight loss
  • Severe vomiting (occasional nausea and vomiting may be seen but generally these are not severe)

Most of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) respond well to homeopathic treatment since homeopathy provides safe, gentle and effective solution to this problem.

Diagnosis

A proper medical history is usually sufficient to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in patients and there are no specific tests to diagnose it. However, the physician may ask for certain tests to rule out other conditions that may mimic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some of the investigations that may be performed for this purpose include:

  • Blood tests
  • Stool test
  • Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy
  • Computerized tomography scan (CT scan) of abdomen and pelvis
  • Lactose intolerance tests - Tests may be done to find out if you have intolerance to lactose (which is found in milk and milk products)

If the results of these tests do not substantiate diagnosis of any other disease condition, the physician may confirm the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Rome criteria for diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):

According to Rome criteria for IBS, a patient must have the following symptoms for at least 12 weeks in the previous 12 months; these weeks need not be consecutive:

Abdominal pain which is:

  • Relieved by passage of stools
  • Accompanied by change in frequency of stools at the onset
  • Accompanied by change in consistency of stools at the onset

In addition, the patient must also have two of the following features at least 25% of the times:

  • Altered stool frequency
  • Altered stool form
  • Altered passage of stools (straining, urgency, etc.)
  • Mucus with stools
  • Bloating of abdomen

These criteria are often used by physicians in the clinic set-up to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Homeopathic treatment

Irritable bowel syndrome can have a deep impact on the life of the patient even though it is a functional disease. It can significantly alter the patient's personal, professional as well as social life on account of being a chronic disease.

Homeopathy comes to the rescue of patients here since homeopathic treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is safe, gentle and without any side effects. The medication targets the root of the ailment and thus the healing occurs at the level of the altered immunity. At Dr. Batra's, we have the experience and expertise of treating a large number of cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with Homeopathy and have had good response in most cases.

The homeopathic treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) takes into consideration the physical as well as mental make up of the patient so that the remedy selected is a perfect match for the patient, leading to long term relief. Homeopathy medicines help in effectively controlling the symptoms such as irregular bowel movements, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, etc. Regular treatment helps in reducing the frequency of attacks gradually so that the person's health is restored back to normalcy.

Unlike conventional medicines for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) such as purgatives, anti-diarrhoeals, antidepressants, etc., Homeopathy treatment is without side effects. This is because the medicine is targeted at the patient as a whole and not just to his bowels. Thus the treatment is not superficial or simply symptomatic in nature.

As far as the duration and results of the treatment are concerned, these vary from case to case and are dependent on number of factors such as the severity of the condition, its duration, other parameters like family history, general health of the patient, treatment taken so far, etc.

The benefits of Homeopathy also go a step further since the treatment also helps in preventing recurrence of the condition as time progresses. One of the safest things about Homeopathic treatment is that the medication is without side effects which are commonly seen with conventional treatments of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is advisable that patients seek Homeopathy treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) without any delay if it is suspected in any given case.

Coping with IBS

Living and coping with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may not be all that easy since it tends to take a significant toll on the daily life and routine of the patients. However, some timely steps can go a long way in ensuring that patients cope up well with their irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Based on our experience of treating a large number of cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at Dr. Batra's, we have seen that certain changes in lifestyle and diet are very helpful to most patients. Discussed here are some of these clinical tips:

  • Keep a food diary to check for intolerances and avoid problem foods
  • Ensure that you have adequate Vitamin B (eggs, chicken and whole grains), essential fatty acids (fresh nuts, seeds, cold-water fish) and acidophilus (Plain yoghurt) in your diet
  • Avoid protein from red meat and unfermented dairy foods as these tend to be inflammatory due to the saturated fat content
  • Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol and sugary carbonated drinks
  • Avoid foods high in fast releasing sugars such as unrefined grains, confectionary, cakes and biscuits
  • Large meals can lead to increased cramping and abdominal discomfort so its advisable that patients take small and frequent meals
  • Do not skip meals
  • For patients who suffer from excessive problem of gases and bloating, avoid beans, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Drinking through a straw, chewing gums, etc can also worsen the gas troubles.
  • Exercise regularly, go for a walk or do yoga
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep daily
  • If you are stressed, try relaxation techniques such as meditation
  • Seek counseling from an expert if you feel you cannot handle the stress in your life