Not many people know about irritable bowel syndrome. Perhaps because not much is known about it despite the fact that it affects a lot of people. In fact, statistics in the United States have shown that one out of five people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. That is roughly about 20 percent of the population. That is pretty prevalent for a disease that is not so known.
In fact, most doctors believe that the numbers should be even higher. The lack of information has contributed to a lot of misdiagnosis and under diagnosis. Patients, it seems, do not even know that they have irritable bowel syndrome until after a few years when the symptoms are already getting out of hand.
With irritable bowel syndrome, the symptoms are often mild. In fact, among patients suffering from the disorder, about 70 percent of them only have mild symptoms at the onset. This is the reason why the problem is not detected early on.
Irritable bowel syndrome does not have a specific cause. Up until now, doctors cannot still pinpoint what causes the problem in the first place. Although much research has already been done about, there is still no clear cut answer as to what exactly starts off the problem. One existing theory in the medical profession is that people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome have very sensitive large intestines or colon. Because of this increased sensitiveness, minor changes in the chemicals and substances that enter the chamber sets off a series of reactions that affect the movement of bowel in the body. Another possibility is the role of stress in the problem.
This happens when stress brings on changes with how the body responds and work internally. Although stress is not the cause, many still believe that easing stress can significantly improve the condition. This is true. In fact, some doctors also recommend undergoing some psychotherapy to help the patient deal with some of the stressors in his life. Another triggering factor that are being researched upon are milk and other milk products that are said to often trigger irritable bowel syndrome.
Because irritable bowel syndrome has no specific cause, diagnosis often relies on the account of symptoms that come from the patient was well as the medical history. There is no specific test that can detect the occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome. The most that doctors do is to make sure that other problems are not causing the symptoms. Hence, they will give you a number of tests designed to test other diseases and not irritable bowel syndrome.