Irritable Bowel Syndrome in women
Irritable bowel syndrome in women consists of a group of symptoms such as cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Most IBS patients can relieve symptoms with diet modifications, medications, and stress relief.
For some people, IBS symptoms are more severe, and IBS may affect women more than men.
What is irritable bowel in women?
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic digestive and functional disorder that affects the large intestine and causes distressing symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, or both.
Although anyone can develop IBS, the condition is more common in women, and it affects females 1.5 to 3 times more than males.
Many of the symptoms of IBS in females are the same as those that appear in males, but some women have confirmed that symptoms get worse during certain stages of the menstrual cycle.
What are the symptoms of irritable bowel in women?
Symptoms of irritable bowel in women are as follows:
Constipation is a common symptom of IBS in women, and it causes difficulty in passing stools as stools are hard, dry and difficult to pass.
Some studies have shown that constipation is one of the most common symptoms of IBS in females, in addition to abdominal pain and bloating.
Diarrheal irritable bowel syndrome, which doctors sometimes call IBS-D, appears to be more prevalent in men, but women often experience diarrhea just before their period begins.
Diarrhea is classified as frequent loose stools, and is often accompanied by lower abdominal pain and cramps that improve after bowel movement. There may also be mucus in the stool.
Bloating is a common symptom of IBS in women and causes a feeling of tightness in the upper abdomen and rapid satiety after eating and is often an early symptom of menstruation.
Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome are more likely to experience bloating during certain phases of the menstrual cycle compared to women without IBS, and some gynecological diseases such as endometriosis can exacerbate bloating.
Also, women with irritable bowel syndrome after menopause suffer from more flatulence.
4. Urinary incontinence
A study in 2010 found that women with IBS were more likely to have lower urinary tract symptoms than women without the condition.
The most common symptoms included:
Nocturia, which is excessive urination at night.
5. Pelvic organ prolapse
There is evidence that women with IBS are more likely to experience pelvic organ prolapse. This occurs when the muscles and tissues that hold the pelvic organs become weak or loose, causing the organs to fall out of place.
Chronic constipation and diarrhea associated with irritable bowel syndrome increase the risk of prolapse. Types of pelvic organ prolapse include:
Prolapse of the uterus
6. Chronic pelvic pain
Chronic pelvic pain, which is pain below the umbilicus, is a common concern among women with IBS.
7. Exacerbation of PMS symptoms
There is a study that confirmed that the symptoms of menstruation in women are more exacerbated when suffering from irritable bowel syndrome compared to women without the disease.
Many women have also reported worsening of IBS symptoms during certain phases of the menstrual cycle, and hormonal fluctuations seem to play a role. IBS can also cause periods to be heavier and more painful.
Stress is a common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, but there is evidence that it may affect women more than men.
Researchers have linked fatigue in people with IBS to a number of factors, including poor quality of sleep and insomnia. The severity of IBS symptoms can also affect the level of stress a person experiences.
IBS is significantly more associated with mood and anxiety disorders such as depression in women than in men, with many women reporting feeling fatigued with thought, anxiety and mood swings due to their colon disease more than men.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in women
So far, there is no definitive treatment that eliminates IBS problems and symptoms in women, but there are some things that could be done to feel better, and they may include:
1. Change the diet
Eating certain foods may trigger IBS symptoms, and IBS symptoms can be relieved by changing some eating habits.
It is preferable to limit or avoid these foods that may be causing the problem:
• Milk and dairy products such as cheese or ice cream
Caffeinated beverages such as coffee.
• Soft drinks such as soda, especially those that contain artificial sweeteners (such as sorbitol) or drinks that contain a lot of fructose.
• Alcoholic beverages
• Some fruits and vegetables
2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet
• Eat more foods rich in fiber such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables (especially for women who suffer from constipation) while adding foods containing fiber to the diet a little at a time to allow the body to get used to it.
• High-fiber diets may not help treat pain or diarrhea and may increase gas and cramps, so eating more than 20 grams of fiber per day should be avoiding.
• 6 to 8 glasses of water daily (especially for women who suffer from diarrhoea). It's not clear if this helps IBS symptoms, but it can help treat dehydration that sometimes occurs with diarrhea.
• Large meals can cause diarrhea and convulsions in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is preferable to eat 4 or 5 small meals a day, or eat smaller amounts in each of the three usual meals.
• Fiber supplements such as (Metamucil), to help control constipation.
• Anti-diarrheal medicines such as loperamide (Imodium), to help control diarrhoea.
• Antispasmodics such as peppermint oil or dicyclomine, to decrease spasms in the intestines, which may help treat diarrhea and pain.
• Antidepressant medications such as tricyclic antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) if symptoms include pain or depression.
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome known as Lubiprostone for women with severe constipation.
4. Counseling and stress relief
Many women who seek care for irritable bowel syndrome also experience anxiety, panic or depression.
Stress is also a problem for people with IBS, because it can make symptoms worse. Research shows that psychotherapy can help relieve IBS symptoms.
Treatments that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety include:
• Cognitive behavioral therapy: A short-term treatment that combines different types of therapies and behavioral strategies. The type of CBT used to treat IBS may focus on managing life stress, or it may focus on changing how a person responds to anxiety about IBS symptoms.
• Psychodynamic therapy: An intense, short-term form of talk therapy that may focus on in depth discussions about the connection between symptoms and emotions. Therapy may also help identify and resolve interpersonal conflicts.
• General stress relief is also important by exercising regularly in a regular manner to relieve stress, as it helps the gut motility and improves overall health.
Taking probiotics may help some women relieve IBS symptoms.
Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome dangerous for women?
Although the symptoms of IBS can be similar to those that appear in more serious cases, but once it is diagnosed and a colonoscopy is done to rule out the presence of serious diseases and treating it correctly, there is no concern about developing serious diseases, as it does not cause bowel cancer or further serious problems than that