With one person out of seven suffering from IBS all over the world, Irritable Bowel Syndrome starts now to be a bit more understood in the medical and healthcare world.
IBS has been classified and there are 3 main types of irritable bowel syndrome.
Each type is based on different patterns or changes in bowel movements.
In order to know which type of IBS you might have, the first step is to make an appointment with your doctor. By knowing your type you will be able to choose the treatment the most adapted to your case.
Importance of diagnosing IBS:
In order to diagnose if you’re suffering from IBS, your doctor will probably use what’s called the Rome IV criteria to decide which type of IBS you have as well as starting with a complete medical history, physical exam and tests to rule out other conditions.
Because IBS is hard to diagnose, in 1988, a group of physicians designed the Rome Criteria.
Those defined criterias are meant to help doctors to more accurately diagnose IBS.
The Rome Criteria is a set of guidelines that outlines symptoms and applies parameters such as frequency and duration
For the record, the Rome Foundation has sought to maintain a strong knowledge base in the field of IBS and that has occurred mainly with revisions every 6-10 years.
As a result, the recently updated Rome IV includes a redefinition of FGIDs (Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders) and diagnostic criteria, addition of newly recognized disorders and major changes in criteria for existing disorders.
This test will look at the percentage of time one experiences very hard or very loose stools that started at least 6 months prior to diagnosis.
The diagnosis considers recurrent stomach pain for at least 1 day per week during the 3 months before diagnosis combined with at least 2 of the following:
- Pain can increase or be unchanged related to a bowel movement
- Associated with a change in stool frequency
- Associated with a change in stool form or appearance
The different IBS types:
Most patients suffering from IBS will complain mostly about one of the two main aspects : diarrhea and constipation.
IBS-C – Constipation:
If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS-C, your stools probably look like small, hard lumps or/and log-like but lumpy.
Symptoms of IBS-C include abdominal pain and discomfort, along with changes in bowel function. Bloating and/or gas also may happen. Changes in bowel function may include straining, infrequent stools and a feeling that the bowel does not empty completely.
The causes of IBS-C are still not very clear but researchers believe several factors may contribute to the condition:
- Fluid absorption: the colon may be absorbing too much fluid from stools, or the muscles in the colon may be moving too slowly. This can cause stools to become dry, hard, and difficult to pass.
- Brain-Bowel connection: known as the gut-brain axis. The miscommunication between the brain and the bowel (gut) might cause a change in bowel movements.
- Nerve sensitivity: the nerves in the intestines may be extra sensitive, causing sufferers to feel more belly pain or discomfort than those who do not have IBS-C.
IBS-D – Diarrhea:
If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS-C, your stools probably look watery and loose.
Symptoms of IBS-D include frequent bowel movements, a feeling of urgency to defecate, abdominal pain and discomfort, along with changes in bowel function. Bloating and/or gas also may happen. Changes in bowel function may include mucus in the stools, very frequent stools and a feeling that the bowel does not empty completely.
Same as for IBS-C, the causes of IBS-D are still not very clear but several factors may contribute to the condition:
- Inflammation in the intestines: some people suffering from IBS have an increased number of immune-system cells in their intestines. This immune-system response is associated with pain and diarrhea.
- Severe infection: IBS can develop after a severe bout of diarrhea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus. IBS might also be associated with a surplus of bacteria in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth).
- Changes in bacteria in the gut (microflora): microflora are the “good” bacteria that reside in the intestines and play a key role in health. Research indicates that microflora in people with IBS might differ from microflora in healthy people.
IBS-M – Mixte:
Between IBS-D and IBS-C stands another kind of irritable bowel syndrome, the mixed one : IBS-M.
This version of IBS alternates periods of diarrhea and constipation and also requires a specific follow up of those suffering from it.
This kind of IBS that alternates the two sides of the syndrome is a reflection of how IBS generally works. The way IBS functions depends largely on the person it affects. Each patient has a specific “relation” to the condition and the subtypes that includes the IBS-M version is particularly subject to variability.
Constipation is the way the syndrome manifests itself in many cases.
A sensation of incomplete bowel movement, difficulties to go to the bathroom are the signs of IBS-C, but with IBS-M a need to run to the bathroom is also met.
The two episodes alternate instinctively and this situation can lead to major discomforts, not knowing how your bowels will react each time of the day.
Even though all those types of IBS show differences, they are all connected to an upset stomach that can also relate to other conditions, like anxiety or fibromyalgia, that also need to be checked with a professional.