Irritable bowel syndrome, commonly known as IBS, is a medical condition that affects the body’s digestive system. Nearly 6-18% of the world population is said to be involved with IBS. It is a lifelong problem and there is no permanent cure; the symptoms are only manageable through diet and lifestyle. In addition, the exact cause of the disease is unknown, but physicians have explained few probable causes.

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome occurs with a group of symptoms that irritates the gastrointestinal system. The classic sign includes intermittent diarrhoea and constipation. Studies have proven IBS as a functional gastrointestinal disorder. Functional gastrointestinal disease happens due to gut-brain interactions. In the case of a more sensitive gut, abdominal pain and bloating are symptoms. The muscle contractions in the bowels leading to intermittent diarrhoea and constipation.

What are the causes of IBS?

• Muscle contractions in the intestine: Patients with IBS suffer from the susceptible colon. The muscle layers inside the intestinal wall help to move food through the digestive tract. The contractions in these muscle layers might become strong and last longer than usual, causing irritation, bloating and diarrhoea. On the other hand, weak intestinal muscle contractions can slow down food particles’ movement and make them hard or dry stools.

• Nervous sensitivities in the digestive tract: Any abnormalities in the nerves of the digestive system leads to abdomen discomfort, flatulence or frequent feeling of passing motions. Poor gut-brain interactions can cause the body to overreact to the process of digestion, resulting in abdominal cramps, loose stools or constipation.

• Inflammatory conditions in the intestines: Patients suffering from IBS might have increased inflammatory cells. These may lead to diarrhoea associated with pain abdomen.

• Infection in Gastrointestinal tract: Irritable Bowel Syndrome can develop post any infection to the stomach caused by bacteria or viruses. Sometimes IBS flares up due to excessive growth of gut bacteria.

• Effect of serotonin: the neurotransmitter serotonin, produced in the gut, acts on digestive nerves. Persistent diarrhoea leads to increased serotonin levels in the gut. Conversely, patients predominant with constipation has decreased amount of serotonin level.

• Change in Microflora: The gut bacteria or microflora are the good bacteria present in the intestine and have a significant role in maintaining health. The constitution of bacteria will be different in the case of people suffering from IBS compared to normal gut bacteria.

• Studies have proven 70% of the categories who suffer from IBS are women. In addition, changes in hormones may trigger the symptoms of IBS.