A common disorder of the large intestine, irritable bowel syndrome involves frequent cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. While irritable bowel syndrome or IBS does involve numerous bowel issues, it does not cause permanent damage to the large intestine or colon.
The specific symptoms experienced when affected by irritable bowel syndrome vary depending on the individual and may resemble other common intestinal diseases. The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, though, involve abdominal discomfort and cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation and mucus in the stool. Most individuals experience fairly mild symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome; however, some individuals may experience issues that are so severe that the individual is disabled or unable to complete typical, everyday tasks. It is best to discuss any symptoms with a doctor. Most individuals experience irritable bowel syndrome as a chronic condition, but the intensity and severity of the condition is likely to ebb and flow depending on overall health, diet and other related factors.
The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known; however, the issue may have to do with an irregular contracting and relaxing of the muscles lining the intestines. Generally, it is believed that an individual with IBS experiences contractions that are both stronger and longer-lasting than normal. As such, food moves or is forced through the intestines at a more rapid rate, which causes gas, bloating and diarrhea. Additional factors may include abnormalities in the nervous system, foods consumed, stress and hormones.
Even though irritable bowel syndrome does not cause permanent damage to the colon, finding an effective treatment is important. Natural options such as probiotics offer relief and maintenance of the condition. Additional irritable bowel syndrome treatment options include maintaining a gluten-free diet, taking turmeric and peppermint oil and identifying and avoiding trigger foods such as dairy. Activated charcoal, aloe vera juice, apple cider vinegar, vitamin B12, bee pollen and bentonite clay are typically helpful for IBS sufferers as well. Blackberry liquid or juice and blackstrap molasses also help regulate the digestive processes.