Swollen abdomen after eating and diarrhea/constipation: IBS

A swollen stomach after eating. Do you suffer from long-term abdominal pain with a bloated feeling in the abdomen (especially a swollen abdomen or distension after eating), flatulence or a changing bowel pattern (alternating constipation and diarrhea)? Then you could be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, abbreviated as ‘IBS’. Women suffer from it more often than men. IBS mainly occurs between the ages of 15 and 65. Serious IBS complaints can have a major impact on the quality of life.

Irritable bowel: swollen abdomen after eating and diarrhea/constipation

  • What is irritable bowel?
  • What causes irritable bowel?
  • Several factors play a role
  • Signals are transmitted faster
  • What are the symptoms of an irritable bowel?
  • How is the diagnosis made?
  • How is irritable bowel treated?

Painful area in IBS / Source: Http:www.scientificanimations.com, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-4.0)

What is irritable bowel?

IBS involves abnormal motor skills (movement function) of the intestine. As a result of certain stimuli, a disturbance or deviation occurs in the kneading and propulsion of feces. This causes your intestine to work quickly or too slowly, or a combination of both. This disrupts the processing of food into stool, which causes all kinds of complaints.

What causes irritable bowel?

Several factors play a role

The exact cause of irritable bowel is not (yet) known in 2023. It does appear that the complaints are partly based on disruption of the movement function of the gastrointestinal tract. Multiple factors often play a role, for example stress in combination with certain foods. In many people with an irritable bowel, a certain type of food triggers the symptoms.

Signals are transmitted faster

Furthermore, it appears that in people with an irritable bowel, all kinds of unpleasant signals from the digestive tract are passed on to the brain more quickly than in people who do not have IBS. Inflammatory cells in the intestines may also play a role in some people with irritable bowel. What is striking is that in some people with an irritable bowel, the symptoms started after a severe gastrointestinal infection, also commonly called stomach flu.

What are the symptoms of an irritable bowel?

The most common complaints of irritable bowel are:

  • Recurrent abdominal pain and/or abdominal cramps, often in the lower abdomen or around the navel. The pain often decreases after bowel movements.
  • Bloating, a distended abdomen . A swollen abdomen is caused by the intestine kneading after eating, releasing air. You may also experience belching, flatulence (farting), rumbling in the abdomen and abdominal pain.
  • A change in the frequency of bowel movements; you have to go to the toilet more than three times a day or less than three times a week for the big errand).
  • Abnormal stools, i.e. extra hard (hard stools), loose or watery (diarrhea).
  • Abnormal stool passage, where you have to strain to defecate or you feel a constant strong urge to defecate or you have the feeling that your intestines are not completely empty after a bowel movement.
  • Mucus in the stool.

How is the diagnosis made?

The diagnosis of IBS is made after reasonably excluding somatic conditions. There must therefore be no other good physical explanation for the symptoms. The complaints must also have existed for more than six months before the diagnosis can be made and the complaints must have been actively present for three months.

How is irritable bowel treated?

There is no treatment or medicine that can cure you from this ailment. Dietary rules and nutritional advice are central to the treatment of an irritable bowel. A number of medications can also be given, which, for example, temporarily reduce the cramps. There are also products that give the intestine more content, which can reduce the complaints.

Your own experience/opinion? Leave your comment below!

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