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What You Should Know About IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder in the body that affects the digestive system, particularly the large intestine or the colon, which is assigned to regulate and man over the excretion of solid wastes of the body.

Although it may not seem true, irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common diagnosed functional problems in the body. In the country alone, one out of five people are afflicted with the problem. This translates to about 20 percent of Americans. Still, little is known about the problem. Unlike other disorders that have already had awareness campaigns, irritable bowel syndrome still remain under the shadows. There is a lot of confusion as to how it starts and if a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is appropriate.

What is doubly hard for this problem is the fact that there are no laboratory tests that can confirm the presence of irritable bowel syndrome. Diagnosis as mentioned before is solely dependent on the examination and study of the symptoms based on the account of the patient as well as on the medical history. Unlike other diseases that are directly caused by bacteria, virus and other organisms, irritable bowel syndrome has no known organic cause. Indirect causes or factors that may trigger the problem include stress, food items that may serve as irritant in the colon as well as milk products.

The numbers of cases of irritable bowel syndrome can actually even grow further as most people who have the problem do not even know that they have the problem. This is perhaps because of the fact that most of its symptoms are similar to symptoms of other body disorders. There is actually no distinctive symptom. This also the reason why it is classified under the term syndrome. Because there is a clear lack of a symptom that will differentiate it from other problems, diagnosis will depend on a set of symptoms that must be present. But what are the symptoms?

One of the main symptoms that doctors often watch out for in irritable bowel syndrome is the abdominal pain. This is actually one of the differentiating factors that doctors use to make a conclusion or final diagnosis. According to the Rome II Diagnostic Criteria, which is often used in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include abdominal pain and discomfort episodes that may last for about 12 months.

Understanding IBS in Children

Irritable bowel syndrome is a dysfunction in the digestive system particularly in the large intestine or in the colon. There is actually no known cause of this problem. Although there are some factors that do trigger its exacerbation such as stress, certain food items and milk. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain and feeling of fullness or bloating.

As irritable bowel syndrome affects all ages and all genders, children are not free from the problems it may bring on. In fact, it is even more a problem with children as they may feel severe abdominal pain because of their inability to excrete their body waste. Still, the same set of criteria that the Rome II Diagnostic Criteria System prescribed is used with children. There is no age distinction as well as gender differences. In fact, irritable bowel syndrome affects girls and boys equally.

Children suffering from irritable bowel syndrome may also experience headaches and nausea just like their adult counterparts. They may also find mucus threads on their stool. Mucus is a substance that helps moisten the passage of wastes out of the body. Most often, irritable bowel syndrome occur during periods when they are on the throes of growth milestones such as teething or some serious illness such as a flu. Some children may also develop irritable bowel syndrome if they are stressed in class. Despite this, it must be noted that stress does not cause irritable bowel syndrome. Rather it triggers the effects of irritable bowel syndrome to the body.

Diagnosis in children will also involve accounts of symptoms as well as examination of the medical history. As with diagnosing adults, physicians may conduct tests that will rule out the possibility of other diseases before reaching a full diagnosis.

Treatment in children involves more on the natural diet side as they are much too young to take in medications. Often, they are asked to eat food items that are rich in fiber to help ease constipation and get rid of the pain in the abdomen. Training is also recommended especially to children who do not empty their bowels often.

Medications like laxatives may also be prescribed but as last resort as children are more susceptible to addiction to the drug compared to adults. If laxatives however is badly needed, doctors provide detailed procedure to the parents to endure that the medication will be properly taken in.

Truths about IBS

Despite being one of the most commonly diagnosed problems in the country, there are still a lot of misinformation about irritable bowel syndrome, or what doctors call succinctly as IBS.

It may come as a surprise but irritable bowel syndrome actually affects one out of five people in the United States. These statistics translate to about 20 percent of the population. That is a pretty high prevalence considering that not much is known about the disease and misdiagnosis or even under diagnosis is possible.

Experts agree that numbers can still go up if people are made aware about the problem. Because the symptoms are quite common, and nothing much is known about irritable bowel syndrome, most people will mistake IBS for another problem.

Unlike other diseases that may be caused by an organism, bacteria or virus, irritable bowel syndrome is not caused by anything and if it caused by something. medical experts have no discovered that fact. In truth, doctors are stumped on what exactly starts off irritable bowel syndrome. One theory is that the large intestines of patients suffering from the illness are overly sensitive, as to what made it extra sensitive no one knows. Because of the extreme sensitiveness, the smallest and most minor of changes are recorded. The body will then react to these changes in the form of problems in the bowel movements.

There are some factors that trigger the exacerbation of the problem but are not considered as direct cause. One of them is stress. Stress changes a lot in the body system because the body compensates for the change. Stress is already known to wreak havoc to the systems of the body. Another suspected culprit is milk and milk products that are known to cause problems in the digestive track especially if one is lactose intolerant. There are also some food items that are said to trigger the problem.

Remember though that these three are not causes but rather factors that can trigger an already existing condition. There is a vast difference between these two.

Perhaps because there is no known cause, there is also no prescribed treatment for the problem. Rather doctors are free to recommend any course of treatment that they feel will benefit the patient. Most often, doctors will prescribed a medicine that contains fibers to help ease the constipation. Some doctors however will stick to the natural way by prescribing a diet that contains food items that have natural fibers.

Food Allergies in Kids

Food allergies are a common problem in kids. Nearly two million children have food allergies in the United States. Some food allergies are life threatening, even if the food is taken in very little quantity. Peanut tops the list of notorious foods which cause allergies. Following it are milk, especially cows milk, soy, eggs, wheat, seafood and other nuts.

Food allergies are caused when the immune system is confused. The job of the immune system is to protect the body from diseases, bacteria, viruses and germs. The antibodies produced by the immune system helps to fight these minute external organisms which makes the person sick. But if the body is allergic to certain food, the immune system mistakes the food to a harmful foreign substance and takes action towards it thinking that it is dangerous to the body. The body acts adversely, when it isnt supposed to do so.

When the immune system detects allergic substance, the antibodies produce mast cells. They are a kind of immune system cell which release a chemicals, such as histamine, in the bloodstream. These chemicals affect the respiratory system, digestive system, nose, eyes, throat, and skin. Initial symptoms are runny nose, tingling sensation in the lips or tongue, and itchy skin rash like hives. The reaction can be mild to severe and depends on every individual. The symptoms can appear right after the food is consumed or after few hours. Other symptoms are cough, wheezing, nausea, hoarse voice, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, and throat tightness.

A sudden and harsh allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis. The patient encounters many problems, all at once which involve blood vessels, the heart, digestion, breathing, and skin. The blood pressure drops very steeply, the tongue swells and there is swelling in the breathing tubes. Patients who have such allergic reactions should be ready to handle emergencies. They should always carry some type of medicine which will help to combat or reduce the adverse affect of the food.

Most of the times, it is very easy to detect the cause of food allergy. Problems such as hives begin to surface as soon as the child eats the substance he is allergic to. At other times, it becomes very difficult to determine the cause of allergy. In such cases, everything should be observed under close surveillance. Food items which are made out of many ingredients should be thoroughly checked for the allergic cause. Most of the times, allergies are inherited from other family members or other kids born with food allergies. Changes in the surroundings and the body play a major role in these kinds of cases. Some of the kids arent actually allergic to the food and show only mild reaction. Like people who are lactose intolerant suffer from diarrhea and belly pain after consuming milk and diary products. This is not an indication that the child is allergic to milk. This reaction happens because their body is incapable of breaking down the sugars which are found in diary products and milk.

If the conditions are severe, a doctor should be consulted immediately. If food allergy is diagnosed, the doctor refers to an allergy specialist. The doctor asks questions like eating patterns, past allergic reactions and the time period between the consumption of food and the surfacing of the symptoms. The specialist can also ask about allergy related conditions like asthma or eczema and whether allergic reactions are hereditary. Usually skin test and blood test is done to test the antibodies and the reaction they have on the skin when it is exposed to the allergic substance.

Kids who are allergic to egg and milk outgrow them as the age progresses. But allergies which are severe and are related to items such as peanut, shrimps, and some kind of fish, last for a lifetime. Other than food, children can be allergic to certain medicines and flower pollen. The best way to avoid allergies is to avoid the cause of it. No specific medicine has been developed for the cure of allergies.


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