Have you been suffering from sporadic episodes of severe loose motions and constipation? Do you experience gastric discomfort following the consumption of certain foods? You often wake up to an uneasy feeling in the abdomen? Watch out as your highly worked up brain could be adversely affecting your digestive system manifesting the medically unmanageable group of generalised symptoms termed as irritable bowel syndrome.
The term bowel mainly refers to the intestine wherein major nutrient digestion and absorption takes place due to maximum enzymes being secreted in this region. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) occurs when certain foods are not tolerated by the body leading to infection or inflammation of the intestine. The exact reason for this is not known but there may be several factors:
Stress: Negative feelings such as anger, fear, danger, anxiety can cause the colon to contract. During exam tension, we feel the typical gurgling or jittery sensation in the stomach, which is mainly due to the nerve connection between the brain and gastro-intestinal tract. Hence, stressful situations trigger the symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome. The increasing work pressures and hectic lifestyle leading to persistent stress has been propagated as the most common cause of IBS.
Bacterial infection: Micro-organisms such as HPylori may infect the normal intestinal cells causing them to get eroded or destroyed. Loss of colon cells decreases the level of enzymes and digestive juices secreted by them resulting in poor digestion and mal-absorption of nutrients.
Celiac disease: Some individuals cannot digest the gluten component present in food grains such as wheat, rye and barley. In such patients ingestion of foods containing gluten triggers unpleasant gastro-intestinal symptoms and in the long term may lead to development of IBS.
Allergy or food sensitivity: Food intolerances often lead to low-grade inflammation and imbalance of intestinal bacteria precipitating IBS. Most often milk (lactose intolerance) and food grains are not tolerated well by IBS patients. Allergy testing or elimination diets may be used to detect the actual foods causing the symptoms.
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