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Understanding irritable bowel syndrome through philanthropy


Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, long-term condition of the digestive system. It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation.

IBS is thought to affect up to one in five people at some point in their life, and it usually first develops when a person is between 20 and 30 years of age. Around twice as many women are affected as men. The condition is often life-long although it may improve over several years.Symptoms of IBS: The symptoms of IBS are usually worse after eating and tend to come and go in episodes.

Main symptoms. The most common symptoms of IBS are: abdominal (stomach) pain and cramping, which may be relieved by having a poo; a change in your bowel habits – such as diarrhoea, constipation or sometimes both; bloating and swelling of your stomach; excessive wind (flatulence); occasionally experiencing an urgent need to go to the toilet; a feeling that you haven’t fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet; and passing mucus from your bottom.

What causes IBS? The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but most experts think that it’s related to increased sensitivity of the gut and problems digesting food. These problems may mean that you are more sensitive to pain coming from your gut, and you may become constipated or have diarrhoea because your food passes through your gut either too slowly or too quickly.

Psychological factors such as stress may also play a part in IBS.
How is IBS treated? There is no cure for IBS, but the symptoms can often be managed by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. For example, it may help to: identify and avoid foods or drinks that trigger your symptoms; alter the amount of fibre in your diet; exercise regularly; and reduce your stress levels.

Medication is sometimes prescribed for people with IBS to treat the individual symptoms they experience.Living with IBS: IBS is unpredictable. You may go for many months without any symptoms, then have a sudden flare-up.

The condition can also be painful and debilitating, which can have a negative impact on your quality of life and emotional state. Many people with IBS will experience feelings of depression and anxiety, at some point.

With appropriate medical and psychological treatment, you should be able to live a normal, full and active life with IBS. IBS does not pose a serious threat to your physical health and doesn’t increase your chances of developing cancer or other bowel-related conditions.
*Dr. Anthony Nwaoney is the Medical Director Richie Hospital and CEO Elshaddia group.


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Irritable bowel syndrome
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