Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the large intestine that can affect Singaporeans of all ages. In fact, one in ten Singaporeans suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Dr Gwee Kok Ann, President of the IBS Support Group Singapore). What exactly is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? Physician Chin Chew Seng provides insight into Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and how it affects our daily life.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
IBS is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. While the cause of it is not exactly known and the triggers are usually varied, modern medicine believes that stress, food, hormones and acute episodes of infectious diarrhoea or bacterial in the intestines can trigger IBS. In some chronic cases, it may even co-exist with heart palpitation, insomnia, anxiety and depression.
The symptoms may differ from person to person. Among the most common symptoms of IBS, it includes abdominal pain or cramping, feeling of bloatedness, gas, diarrhoea or constipation (sometimes alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhoea) and mucus in the stool.
What is the cause of IBS? Is there any form of prevention?
According to statistics shared by Tan Tock Seng Hospital, IBS affects 8 to 10 per cent of the population. It’s not known exactly what causes IBS, and since the triggers are usually varied, modern medicine believes that stress, food, hormones and acute episodes of infectious diarrhoea or bacteria in the intestines can trigger IBS.
How is IBS diagnosed?
There is no test to confirm the diagnosis of IBS. The diagnosis of IBS is made on the basis of chronic recurrent bowel symptoms, that is uncommon in a healthy individual. There is no specific test for IBS, and tests like blood and stool studies are generally done to exclude other illnesses which can mimic IBS.
Is IBS linked to more serious problems? Is there treatment available to treat it?
In some chronic cases, IBS may even co-exist with heart palpitation, insomnia, anxiety and depression.
In TCM, IBS is closely related to the liver and spleen as the liver maintains the smooth flow of Qi, while the spleen governs digestion. Prescribed herbal medication can help to improve the functionality of the liver and spleen, maintaining a good flow of Qi. Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinics provide Traditional Chinese Medicine services, including prescribed herbal medication, acupuncture and cupping to help treat the individual holistically.
By Physician Chin Chew Seng, Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic.
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