Home :: Colon, Irritable
An irritative and inflammatory disorder involving the large and small intestines. It is not contagious, inherited or cancerous-but it probably is stress-related. Flare-ups may be triggered by approaching competitive events.
- Stress and emotional conflict prior to athletic competition, resulting in anxiety or depression.
- Obsessive worry about everyday problems or about self-image.
- Concern about performance.
- Marital tension.
- Fear of loss of a beloved person or object.
- Death of a loved one.
- Improper diet. Symptoms may be triggered by eating, though no specific food has been identified as responsible.
- Excess alcohol consumption.
- Use of drugs.
- Fatigue or overwork.
- Poor physical fitness.
Signs and symptoms
The following symptoms usually begin in early adult life. Episodes may last for days, weeks or months:
- Cramp like pain in the middle or to one side of the lower abdomen. Pain is usually relieved with a bowel movement.
- Bloating and gas.
- Occasional appetite loss that may lead to weight loss.
- Diarrhea or constipation, usually alternating.
- Concentration difficulty.
- Your own observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
- Laboratory studies, including stool studies, to exclude other disorders such as lactose intolerance, ulcers, parasites, enzyme deficiency and ulcerative colitis.
- X-ray of the colon (barium enema).
- Counseling with a trained therapist to define, confront and solve conflicts in day-to-day living.
- Anxiety-reducing measures, such as regular exercise
- Low-dose antidepressants
- Anti-diarrheal medications
- Adequate rest.
- Medication can help symptoms, but it cannot cure this disorder. Your doctor may prescribe:
- Antispasmodics to relieve severe abdominal cramps.
- Tranquilizers to reduce anxiety.
Reduce stress or try to modify your response to it. An exercise program without competition may protect against flare-ups because it reduces stress.
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