The term “irritable bowel syndrome” often confuses people who come across this term. After all, what does it really mean? Most of them are amazed at the many different symptoms linked to it. What is irritable bowel syndrome? Understanding this illness requires one to have a basic knowledge of the following aspects:

1) Symptoms: There are certain common manifestations associated with irritable bowel syndrome in humans. The syndrome could be very well understood by the way these symptoms affect the body. The question “What is irritable bowel syndrome?” was really hard to be answered by anyone formerly. Irritable bowel syndrome is actually not a disease. It is associated with a number of symptoms, and hence called a syndrome.

This is due to the fact that a few symptoms of the condition directly oppose each other. For example, while some people affected with the syndrome are subject to diarrhea some others suffer from constipation.

2) Causes: As mentioned above, irritable bowel syndrome is not a disease, but rather a disorder. As long as one wishes to understand the term, it is of importance to completely understand this.

The major reason that the term is misunderstood by many people is that they don’t really know what causes it. Some people think that it is an irritation caused to the stomach by some food that interferes with digestion. Others hold to the notion that it is due to some bacteria or virus.

However, one major point to be kept in mind about irritable bowel syndrome is that it is in fact not caused by anything specific. Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition in which the bowels don’t function in a proper way, and can contract wildly and not in a coordinated fashion. This is in contradistiction to normal slow pulsating and rythmic contractions of smooth muscle in the bowel wall, which gently propels food forward. But spastic uncoordinated excessive contractions eventually lead to the several symptoms related to IBS.

3) Triggers: There are many things that trigger the occurrence of the syndrome. Among them two major ones are as follows:

a) Stress: Many studies have evidenced that stress has got a strong effect on the symptoms of IBS. In reality, the realization of having the syndrome by someone can itself be stressful, which can in turn trigger the symptoms. This is why counseling plays a significant role in the treatment of the syndrome.

This makes people take up alternative therapies of treating the syndrome. Some of them pursue yoga or follow acupuncture in order to relieve stress. This is certainly a very reasonable approach.

b) Food: Eating improper food can certainly trigger IBS symptoms. People having the syndrome should refrain from foods with a high content of fat. Alcohol is also a major trigger of the syndrome, and hence should be avoided by those suffering from IBS.

4) Treatments: Acquiring knowledge about irritable bowel syndrome involves knowing the several treatments used to alleviate the symptoms. Many drugs are available in the market that helps fight its symptoms. However, it is incurable by drugs,as it is a syndrome and not a disease.

All that a person affected with the syndrome needs to do is to keep symptoms under control by taking up different treatments such as relaxation techniques and specialized diets. By doing this, using techniques to attack the root cause, this also can eventually lead to syndrome disappearance.

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