Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common condition not just in Singapore but affecting 20% of the world’s population, and it can cause intense pain when cramps occur in the intestines. Even though irritable bowel syndrome does not pose a serious medical threat, it can be very painful and bothersome at times.
Intense abdominal pain and cramps are very common amongst those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. The pain can be sharp or stabbing and it often appears after bowel movement. Also, abnormal bowel movements can indicate irritable bowel syndrome as well, as patients who suffer from the irritable bowel syndrome often experience diarrhea or constipation. A particularity of irritable bowel syndrome-induced diarrhea is that patients do not become dehydrated, unlike it happens with other types of diarrhea.
Additional symptoms include excessive flatulation (gas) and abdominal bloating, back aches, headaches accompanied by sweating, anxiety, nausea or a general fatigue. A common mistake patients make is that they mistake blood in the stool for an irritable bowel syndrome symptom. Blood in the stool is actually not an irritable bowel syndrome, if you experience it persistently, seek medical attention right away as there may be serious underlying conditions.
It is believed that stress, irregular meals as well as the lack of dietary fibers can trigger irritable bowel syndrome, although the exact causes are still not known.
Your colorectal specialist will diagnose your irritable bowel syndrome based on a thorough physical exam coupled with a complete medical history, including the medical history of your family, your symptoms as well as the medications that you are currently on.
In order for your doctor to diagnose you with irritable bowel syndrome, it is important for the typical signs and symptoms to have occurred at least half a year before, and to appear at least three times a month. In some cases, blood tests, stool tests, colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies may also be recommended. The colonoscopy is particularly important for patients aged 50 or above, as it helps with the early detection of colon cancer.