If you have been diagnosed with the condition of fibromyalgia, chances are that you have also experienced the condition of IBS with diarrhea, or IBS-D.
With the condition of IBS-D, you have pain in your belly that is extremely common with the condition of irritable bowel syndrome and you have to use the bathroom a lot. The “D” indicates “diarrhea.”
In some cases, individuals with the condition of irritable bowel syndrome have the opposite problem.
This is known as IBS-C or IBS with constipation. On the other hand, there are some individuals who have both IBS-D and IBS-C at different times.
This is a completely different form of irritable bowel syndrome.
When it comes to treating your irritable bowel syndrome and getting your symptoms of diarrhea under control, there are lots of things that you can do.
Chances are that it will take some time and effort to figure out exactly what works best for you- but it really can get better.
Causes of IBS
The truth is that physicians are not sure exactly what the root cause of the condition of irritable bowel syndrome is, there are some things that can have an effect on it:
Bacterial infections: you may develop the condition of irritable bowel syndrome after going through a serious infection in your intestines or stomach.
These infections include campylobacter or salmonella, which you can get from food or water that has been tainted.
Digestive System Issues: typically, your intestines will gently contract, that is squeeze and relax, to get food moving through your gastrointestinal tract. However, if you experience strong squeezing suddenly, this can result in pain.
Food sensitivities: there are certain foods that can trigger the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in some people.
This makes physicians wonder if it is possible that this condition is connected to food allergies or sensitivities.
Some of the foods that typically trigger an IBS incident are: cruciferous veggies such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage; dairy products; and beans, peas, or legumes. These foods increase the body’s production of gas, which can result in cramping.
Sensitive intestines: individuals with the condition of irritable bowel syndrome are typically more sensitive to movement in their intestines. Therefore, when their intestines stretch from stools or gas, they are in pain.
Other theories regarding the condition of irritable bowel syndrome:
- Caused by faulty messages running from the brain to the gut.
- Too much bacteria located in small intestine.
- High levels of specific hormones/chemicals in the body.
Finally, individuals with anxiety and/or depression are much more likely to have the condition of irritable bowel syndrome. When anxiety and depression occurs, their symptoms flare. However, it is not a cause for this condition.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The primary signs and symptoms of the condition of irritable bowel syndrome are diarrhea and belly pain. Individuals with IBS-D typically have watery or loose stools approximately ¼ of the time that they have a bowel movement.
In addition, other signs and symptoms of this condition include:
- Sudden, frequent urges to visit the bathroom- especially right after eating a snack or meal
- Feeling like you are unable to completely empty bowels
- Excess gas
- Loss of bowel control
Diagnosing Irritable Bowel Syndrome
In order to get an accurate diagnosis, your physician will want to perform a physical exam as well as giving you a blood test to rule out any other potential health problems.
Some of the questions he or she will be likely to ask include:
- When did your symptoms start?
- What are your primary symptoms?
- Have you noticed if there are any foods that increase your symptoms?
- Have you noticed anything else that increases your symptoms?
- Does stress seem to have an effect on your condition?
- How much of an effect does this condition have on your overall life?
- Is there anyone else in your family that has experienced the same or similar issues?
Just as with the condition of fibro, there is no specific test for the condition of irritable bowel syndrome.
However, your physician will most likely perform several different tests in order to rule out other potential conditions:
Stool test: for this test, you will collect a stool sample and take it to the lab to test for blood, parasites, or other issues. In addition, your physician may wish to do a rectal exam to look for similar problems.
Lower GI series: a GI is a specialized x-ray of your intestines. Typically, you will be asked to follow a clear liquid diet for a few days before this test and will be required to take an enema or laxatives the night before.
The physician will fill your intestines with a fluid called barium, which is called a contrast. This way, it will show up on the x-rays better.
Afterward, the liquid will be drained- but you may notice that your bowel movement looks white for a few days afterwards. In addition, you may have some bloating and/or cramping.
Colonoscopy or Flexible sigmoidoscopy: both of these tests are very similar to a lower GI and are used to look at your colon and rectum. Just like GI, you will be asked to follow a clear liquid diet and use an enema.
A flexible tube is placed in your rectum, but instead of barium being inserted, a tiny camera with a light is on the end of the tube. This allows your physician to see inside of your intestine.
Your physician will take the time to be sure that you are not experiencing other conditions such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, which are characterized by signs and symptoms very similar to that of irritable bowel syndrome.
Just like the condition of fibro, there is no cure for the condition of IBS-D, but there are things you can do to reduce your signs and symptoms.