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Everybody suffers from a feeling of fullness – be it after a sumptuous family meal or when the appetite was simply too big. However, if diarrhoea, intestinal cramps or nausea are accompanied and the symptoms occur regularly, there is often another cause behind it. Irritable bowel syndrome can be a trigger for the various symptoms. In order to make a reliable diagnosis, different examinations are necessary . Also a stool test can give first information, how it is ordered around the intestine and the bacteria living in it.
What’s a irritable bowel syndrome?
There are many names for irritable bowel syndrome, for example irritable bowel syndrome, nervous bowel syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome or nervous irritable bowel syndrome. They all refer to complaints in the gastrointestinal tract, which can manifest themselves to varying degrees. Typically, people affected by chronic intestinal complaints suffer from stomach and intestinal cramps, flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn, nausea or vomiting. Often an irritable bowel syndrome is accompanied by a so-called “leaky good”, a disturbed and weakened intestinal barrier. Not all symptoms occur, because irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very individual. This makes the diagnosis very difficult.In general, irritable bowel syndrome is considered harmless. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, however, these severely restrict the person affected in his everyday life. To find out the causes, a visit to the doctor is unavoidable. The disease can occur at any age and affects both women and men. In this country so many people suffer from an irritable bowel that irritable bowel syndrome is almost a widespread disease.For a bowel disease to be diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, it must meet three criteria according to the “S3 guideline irritable bowel syndrome: definition, pathophysiology, diagnostics and therapy” of the German Society for Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (DGVS) and the German Society for Neurogastroenterology and Motility (DGNM):
- There are chronic complaints (longer than three months) that are clearly attributable to the intestine and usually involve changes in the stool.
- The complaints are so severe that a normal everyday life is unthinkable.
- There are no other intestinal diseases.
Irritable bowel syndrome: diagnosis and therapy options
In order to find out whether symptoms are due to irritable bowel syndrome, doctors usually use the exclusion procedure. The first step is to rule out chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or organic causes such as ulcers, as these are associated with symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome. As a rule, the doctor carries out ultrasound and blood tests as well as a colonoscopy.It usually takes a long time before the doctor can reliably diagnose a nervous bowel or irritable bowel. If irritable bowel syndrome is suspected, it is recommended to keep a nutrition diary . This will make it easier to identify possible triggers of the symptoms and avoid them accordingly. In such a diary belong among other things the following data:
- when you ate something
- when you were active in sports
- when you were exposed to stress, anxiety or grief
- when symptoms occurred and how severe they were
Although the cause of irritable bowel syndrome has not yet been established, it is clear that intestinal health is influenced by many factors, including psychological factors. If the microbiota, i.e. the bacteria in the intestine, lose their balance, genes and environmental factors can promote inflammation. This may also be caused by the interaction of the intestinal bacteria with the immune system.
What influence does nutrition have on irritable bowel syndrome?
Which food you should avoid as an affected person depends on your physical conditions and tolerance. In general, a healthy, conscious and balanced diet is recommended. In addition, it is advisable not to consume any bloating or irritating food. This includes, for example, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, beans, cabbage, lentils or coffee. Raw food can also increase the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
In addition, so-called FODMAPs frequently trigger symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome patients. These are substances which the intestine cannot split and break down sufficiently due to their large number of molecules and which lead to flatulence and stomach pain. FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) include some carbohydrates and polyhydric alcohols. As an affected person you should first avoid them and slowly approach them again after a few months. By trying them out, you will quickly find out whether you can tolerate some of the foods in this group. In this context, taking probiotic food supplements can also have a positive effect on the intestines.
Examine the intestinal flora with INTEST.pro
The stool test INTEST.pro gives you the opportunity to examine your microbiota more closely. Since irritable bowel syndrome is often associated with changes in the bowel movement, a bowel movement test can give the first indication of irritable bowel syndrome. What is so special about the test? The experts in the BIOMES laboratories use the latest biotechnological analysis methods1 to draw conclusions about the composition of your intestinal flora. You will find all results bundled in a detailed, data protected online BIOMES dashboard
1. Cho I, Blaser M J. The human microbiome: at the interface of health and disease. Nature Reviews Genetics 2012:13, 260-270. ↩