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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms have several causes but did you know it may be associated with migraine headaches? Not all migraineurs have IBS and not all people with IBS have migraine, but there is a significant percentage of people who have both. Enough to say that the two are associated with each other

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms can wreak havoc on a normal lifestyle. While this syndrome mainly attacks women, it does occur in men and can be associated with stress and anxiety.

Although common (1/5 of Americans have it) many people are are reluctant to discuss this with their doctors. While a bit embarassing, remember your doctor has heard this before and will be able to discuss symptoms with you. The basic definition of IBS is a syndrome that has a constellation of symptoms that are listed below.

Most people have a mild case of IBS and unlike Crohn's Disease or ulcerative colitis, it does not increase your risk of colon cancer. Although there is some inflammation involved in IBS, mostly it consists of spasming of the intestines resulting in pain and bloating.

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Bloating
  • Gas and flatulence
  • Diarrhea or constipation, sometimes alternating bouts of each
  • Mucus in the stools

The majority of the time, IBS abdominal pain is in the left lower quadrant of the abdomin, and occationally can be in both the right and left lower quandrant. The pain is crampy and at times can be moderate to severe. Sometimes the pain is followed by a bout of diarrhea.

While most people don't like to talk about gas and flatulence, it is probably the most embarassing consequence of this syndrome. You can keep some of it under control by lowering the fat in your diet. Animal fats promote gas and can make the problem worse. So while you can tolorate a small amount of it, something like a large steak taco may wreak havoc on your GI system.

Causes Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

irritable bowel symptomsThe exact cause of IBS is not fully worked out at the present time. There are many factors influencing IBS. The one receptor responsible for migraine headache symptoms is the seratonin receptor. The same receptor is found in the intestinal tract. As a matter of fact, 95% of the seratonin receptors are in the gut, while only 5% are in the brain. The ones in the brain also cause anxiety.

Factors such as lifestyle and stress are important in IBS. As stress and anxiety seem to increase, so do attacks of IBS. Many times during a migraine, diarrhea may happen which supports the theory that the nervous system is involved. In fact there is a gastrocolonic reflex that happens and causes the spasms of the colon. Interestingly enough, I remember in the 1990's that the idea that stress caused IBS was frowned on by the medical community. Times have changed and the mind-body connection is real and can greatly influence your health.

It is important that you do not go totally fat free on dietary changes so a proper diet for irritable bowel syndrome can really make a difference in your symptoms, as can medications for irritable bowel syndrome.

Although IBS is associated with migraine, see if you have other different types of headaches.


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