Our internal organs work together as a machine to help us get through our day physically. However, like a machine, when one part is affected, it affects the whole body as well.
A bowel disorder is one of the diseases that affect your digestive system, small and large intestines and how they function. If a person doesn’t treat it properly, it can affect their body negatively, producing a myriad of other health complications.
Here’s what you need to know about bowel disorders:
Types of Bowel Disorders and Symptoms
Generally, bowel disorder symptoms range from stomach pain, excess gas and bloating, constipation, cramps, incontinence, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. There are several types of bowel disorders that affect quite a number of people:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
The first type affects the small and large intestines and causes severe gut sensitivity. People who suffer from IBS have intermittent pain and cramps in the abdomen, bloating, and they’re categorized as IBS-D for diarrhea, or IBS-C for constipation. This gastrointestinal disorder affects daily life seeing as the bowel muscles go through changes that can cause a myriad of digestive issues.
This disease is an autoimmune one that affects how the digestive system absorbs gluten. Gluten is found in wheat-related products as well as grains, rye, and barley. Once ingested, the immune system starts attacking your small intestines and its inner lining, thus creating a number of digestive and other complications.
Crohn’s disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD) that affects the intestines and causes damage to your healthy tissues. The digestive tract becomes inflamed as the body attacks itself, causing a number of issues like pain, cramps, and diarrhea. If a person doesn’t get treated properly for Crohn’s disease, it can severely affect the colon as well as the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Possible Causes and Diagnosis
Defining one true cause for bowel disorders can differ from one person to the other. It can be a lifestyle or dietary changes, it can be environmental changes, or it can be genetic in cases with Crohn’s disease. It can also be a change in the microbiome of your gut.
Diagnosing it would require your doctor to take your family history and current lifestyle into account. They would then ask for stool and blood samples to determine which bowel disorder it is. In severe cases, they may require a CT scan, an MRI, or even a biopsy of your intestines.
Treating Bowel Disorders
Once diagnosed, your doctor will either recommend certain medications to take or lifestyle changes that you need to follow so you can normally function throughout the day. With medications, especially if you’re dealing with nausea, constipation, or diarrhea, a number of over the counter pills or prescribed oral medication is recommended to help deal with bowel issues and encourage a healthier bowel movement that is pain-free.
Certain lifestyle changes need to be implemented so you can manage your bowel disorder. According to which type of bowel disorder you have, you’ll be asked to make certain dietary changes like avoiding gluten, sugar, and processed foods. You’ll also be asked to either limit your fiber intake or increase it. It’s also recommended to keep a food diary to nail down which food has triggered your gut issues and avoid them until you regulate your bowel movements again. Exercise and maintaining a healthier lifestyle by avoiding smoking, alcohol, and sleeping properly every night, as well as avoiding stress are all factors to consider when suffering from bowel disorders. Surgery is often recommended if a change in lifestyle and medications didn’t help with your symptoms. It’s also suggested during severe cases of Crohn’s disease when the intestinal tissue is damaged, and it needs to be removed.
Is it Manageable?
Overall, these bowel disorders are considered manageable and functional GI disorders (Gastrointestinal), seeing as your digestive system looks fine, but it tends to behave differently than expected. Many of the symptoms can be kept under control if you follow the aforementioned tips. However, if your symptoms don’t subside, it’s always recommended to follow up with your doctor to arrange for a different medical plan.
As much as medicine has advanced over the years, there’s still so much we’re trying to understand about the human body. There are many diseases that involve the internal organs we, as a people without a medical background, know nothing about. It’s always wise getting the correct knowledge from reading up medical journals or blogs to understand what one goes through. But it’s also important to speak to your physician and follow up on the necessary protocols to manage any disorder and lead a stable and healthier lifestyle.