Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition which causes the intestines (or bowels, or gut) to be over sensitive. This can cause a variety of abdominal and bowel symptoms

Symptoms of IBS

  • Abdominal pains, especially on the left side, or across the lower abdomen.
  • Bloating and fullness of wind.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Alternating between one and the other.
  • A sensation of having to rush to the toilet.
  • Difficulty opening the bowels, or feeling as though they haven't emptied adequately.
  • Feeling sick with it.

These are the main symptoms that occur, and it seems that the bowel is more sensitive to outside events. Thus, in the way that someone with sensitive skin comes out in a rash when stressful events occur, a person with irritable bowel syndrome finds that when they are stressed it is their bowels that "come out in sympathy".

This means that symptoms may be worse when under psychological stress or when being physically stressed e.g. by an infection, exhaustion or other conditions. The problem may also irritated by certain foods and drinks (which vary from person to person).

Causes of IBS

The cause is not clear. It may have something to do with over activity of parts of the gut. The gut is a long muscular tube that goes from the mouth to the anus. The small and large bowel (also called the small and large intestine) are parts of the gut inside the abdomen. Food is passed along by regular contractions (squeezes) of the muscles in the wall of the gut. Pain and other symptoms may develop if the contractions become abnormal or overactive. The area of over activity in the gut may determine whether constipation or diarrhoea develops. The cause of over activity in parts of the gut is not clear. One or more of the following may play a part:

  • Over activity of the nerves or muscles of the gut. It is not known why this may occur. It may have something to do with over activity of messages sent from the brain to the gut. Stress or emotional upset may play a role. About half of people with IBS can relate the start of symptoms to a stressful event in their life. Symptoms tend to become worse during times of stress or anxiety.
  • Intolerance to certain foods may play a part in some cases. However, this is thought to be only in a small number of cases.
  • Infection and bacteria in the gut. IBS is not caused by an ongoing gut infection. However, in about 1 in 6 cases, the onset of symptoms seems to follow a bout of gastroenteritis (a gut infection which can cause diarrhoea and vomiting). So, perhaps a virus or other germ may 'sensitise' or 'trigger' the gut in some way to cause persisting symptoms of IBS. Also, in some cases, symptoms get worse after taking a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill certain harmless bacteria in the gut which changes the balance of bacteria types in the gut.

Bowen Therapy and the Treatment of IBS

The Bowen technique offers several procedures to aid the efficiency of the digestive system and internal organs of the body.

IBS is an inflammation of the large intestine - the colon. Absorption of certain nutrients takes place here before before waste products are expelled.

Any inflammation of the digestive system is extremely uncomfortable and pain full, upsetting this absorption and restricting the ability of the muscles of the intestine. any treatment will involve taking a good look at diet and nutrition and of course medication used for other medical conditions may be having any effect.

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