Friday, April 6, 2012

IBS symptoms in women

IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome is relatively more common in women (particularly it is more common and occurs in the late teens to the early of 40s). Nevertheless, this syndrome also can attack men. Today, it affects about 25-55 million populations of Americans or maybe more. So, what are IBS symptoms in women? How to get to know that you have this syndrome?

You might also like to read about conditions or factors that increase your risk of developing IBS, before continuing!

In essence, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome is usually the combination of problems in digestive tract, which may include abdominal pain and altered bowel practices (either altered form of stool (such as; liquid & soft - or - hard & thin) or altered frequency (constipation & diarrhea)).

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

IBS is a kind of disorder in the intestines. In many cases, this syndrome can lead to diarrhea or constipation, bloating or cramping, and belly discomfort or pain. It can be categorized into a long-term health problem.

Fortunately there are some ways to reduce the symptoms, and in many cases (unlike cancer and inflammatory bowel disease) IBS will not generate more serious disease. That’s why some experts believe that IBS doesn’t cause potentially life-threatening.

Nevertheless, it is much better to not underestimate this disorder! In some cases, IBS can become serious problem that can affect the quality of productivity or life in those who have it.

And generally, IBS can be categorized into three major groups or types; IBS with diarrhea, IBS with constipation, and IBS with alternating diarrhea & constipation. And most individuals with irritable bowel syndrome usually will alternate between ‘constipation’-‘diarrhea’-and-‘constipation & diarrhea’ over time.

Causes of irritable bowel syndrome

There is still unclearly answer to the causes of IBS. Even some experts believe that the cause in one patient may be different to other patients. People with this disorder may have problems with the way the intestine’s muscles to move.

Furthermore, some individuals with this disorder may become be more sensitive to some antibiotics, stress, hormonal changes, or even certain foods.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in women

Like mentioned before, the most patients of IBS are women. And there are some common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in women. These may be similar to IBS signs in men, which may include:
  1. Constipation.
  2. Diarrhea.
  3. Constipation & diarrhea (alternating each other).
  4. Abdominal distention (visible).
  5. Unusual stools.
  6. Bloating and excess gas.
  7. Abdominal discomforts, cramps, or pains, which usually occur after meal time and then will be relieved by getting a bowel movement.
In some people with IBS, there are also other symptoms not-associated or not-related with digestive tract, which may include; problems in sexual (like decreased desire in sexual), headache, backache, frequent to urinate, insomnia, unfriendly taste in the mouth, fatigue, or even depression, etc.

Furthermore, there are also some similar symptoms in IBS that can be generated by other conditions, like diverticulitis, infections due to parasitic, celiac disease (can cause malabsorption syndrome), abuse of antacids or laxatives, thyroid disease, problems in pancreas, inflammatory bowel disease, or lactose intolerance!

So, don’t jump directly to your conclusion. See your doctor for getting more detailed information and clearly diagnosis.

Diagnosis of IBS

The diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (either in women or in men) cannot be done on your own -- you have to see your doctor!

As mentioned before, there are also other conditions that have same symptoms of IBS. Therefore, the diagnosis may not be enough just through the symptoms that you experience.

There are still no specific or certain lab tests to diagnose quickly IBS. The health care providers usually do some tests to learn more the symptoms that you have. Some common tests to make a diagnosis of IBS may include; colonoscopy, upper-endoscopy, blood test, lactose intolerance test, X-rays, or other specific tests to analyze the bowel motility problems.

-- Image credit to ‘shutterstock’