Heat waves tied to flare-ups of digestive illness

Flare-ups of inflammatory bowel disease and “stomach bugs” may be more common during and immediately after heat waves, a new study suggests. Swiss researchers looked at five years of records from one hospital and found more admissions related to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) during long stretches of hot days. Hospitalizations for so-called infectious gastroenteritis, marked by vomiting and watery diarrhea, also increased, lagging behind IBD admissions by about a week.The study “shows clearly that climate change might have serious effects on human health that have not been understood until now,” Thomas Frei, a climatologist who worked on the study while at the Swiss National Weather and Climate Service, said. However, one researcher not involved in the study said the findings should be interpreted cautiously. IBD is a chronic condition that occurs when the immune system attacks the digestive tract, leading to chronic inflammation of the intestines and sometimes other parts of the digestive system like the liver. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over one million Americans have IBD. Gastroenteritis affects about 179 million Americans each year. Infectious forms can be caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites. Children and the elderly are at higher risk for health complications caused by intestinal infections. For their study, the researchers looked at the records of 738 people admitted to the University Hospital of Zurich with symptoms of IBD – including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – between 2001 and 2005, and 786 admitted for intestinal infections. Temperature data was collected from the meteorological station in Zurich. There were 17 heat waves during that time, lasting up to 19 days. During a heat wave, admissions for both IBD and intestinal infections increased by close to five percent for every additional day the heat […]
By |November 22nd, 2013|IBS|0 Comments

IBS Treatment

Treatments that are likely to work: Anti-spasmodic drugs: These drugs relax the muscles in the wall of your bowels to stop painful spasms. They include (with their brand names) mebeverine (Colofac IBS), alverine (Spasmonal), hyoscine (Buscopan), and dicycloverine (Merbentyl). Antidepressants: Drugs used to treat depression also seem to have benefits for people with IBS. Doctors often prescribe a type of drug called a tricyclic antidepressant. Examples (with brand names) are amitriptyline, clomipramine (Anafranil), doxepin (Sinequan), and trimipramine (Surmontil). Fibre supplements: These supplements can be used to treat constipation and possibly some of the other symptoms of IBS. Examples of fibre supplements (with brand names) include ispaghula (Fybogel, Isogel), methylcellulose (Celevac), and sterculia (Normacol).   Treatments that work, but whose harms may outweigh benefits: Alosetron: This drug is used to treat women with diarrhoea and pain caused by severe IBS. The brand name in the US is Lotronex. There’s a risk of serious side effects. Treatments that need further study: Loperamide (Imodium): This drug is sometimes used to treat diarrhoea in people with irritable bowel syndrome. Cognitive behaviour therapy: This is a talking treatment. It teaches you how to deal with stressful thoughts and feelings. The idea is that this will help you control your symptoms of IBS. Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy helps you relax and focus on your symptoms. Some types of hypnotherapy use tapes or CDs so you can continue treatment at home. Acupuncture: If you have this treatment, a trained acupuncturist puts thin needles into your skin.  
By |November 19th, 2013|IBS|0 Comments

Cause of IBS

The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not known. But health experts believe faulty communication between the brain and the intestinal tract causes the symptoms of IBS. A complex combination of elements, including psychological stress, hormones, the immune system, and chemicals called neurotransmitters, appears to interfere with messages between the brain and the bowel. The miscommunication causes abnormal muscle contractions or spasms, which often cause cramping pain. The spasms may either speed the passage of stool, causing diarrhea, or slow it down, causing constipation or bloating. Many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) turn to laxatives to relieve constipation, but laxatives usually offer limited help. Although laxatives do ease constipation, there’s no proof that they relieve stomach aches, bloating, and discomfort that come with IBS. That’s because the drugs have never been thoroughly studied for the treatment of IBS in randomized controlled trials. In these trials, people are randomly assigned to different treatments without knowing which one they receive. People who have IBS seem to have unusually sensitive intestines. It is not known why their intestines are more likely to react strongly to the elements that contribute to IBS. People who have IBS may start having symptoms because of one or more factors, including: Eating (though no particular foods have been associated with IBS). Stress. Stress may affect the movements of the intestines and also may affect the way a person feels pain. (Stress may also have the same effect on people who do not have IBS.) Trapped gas that causes bloating. Hormonal changes, such as during the menstrual cycle. Some medicines, such as antibiotics. Genetics. IBS may be more likely to occur in people who have a family history of the disorder.
By |November 15th, 2013|IBS|0 Comments

IBS Symptoms

Doctors make a diagnosis of IBS based on a combination of abdominal pain and a marked change in your bowel habits. Thus, for the individual sufferer, IBS can consist of: •abdominal pain or discomfort relieved by a bowel movement •three or more bowel movements a day (diarrhea) •three or fewer bowel movements a week (constipation) •loose, watery stools (diarrhea) •hard, dry stools (constipation) •feeling of urgency (diarrhea) •straining during a bowel movement (constipation) •feeling of incomplete evacuation •passage of mucus •gas and bloating   Sub-types of IBS IBS does not present the same way in all people. Doctors and researchers recognize this variability and thus classify IBS according the primary symptom that patients experience: •Constipation-predominant (IBS-C) •Diarrhea-predominant (IBS-D) •Alternating or Mixed (IBS-A): symptoms alternate between constipation and diarrhea.   Notice the word “predominant.” This term is used to acknowledge the fact that an IBS-C patient might occasionally experience diarrhea and that an IBS-D patient might occasionally experience constipation. It is also common for IBS sufferers to experience a change in their predominant symptom and therefore switch from one sub-type to another. Red-flag Digestive Symptoms IBS symptoms can be so severe and disruptive that sufferers frequently worry about misdiagnosis and that their doctor has overlooked a more serious disorder. The following list describes symptoms that are NOT typical of IBS and would warrant further investigation: •fever •vomiting •blood in the stool (may be only from hemorrhoids, but MUST be brought to the attention of a qualified physician) •significant and unexplained weight loss •anemia •abdominal pain and cramping not relieved by a bowel movement •abdominal pain and cramping which awakes the sufferer from sleep •poor appetite (not caused by a fear of eating trigger foods) •fatigue    
By |October 26th, 2013|IBS|0 Comments

IBS Explained

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional bowel disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort accompanied by alterations in bowel function, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, typically over months or years. The cause of IBS is unknown. A diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome has been reported by approximately 15% of adults in the United States, and symptoms of IBS are responsible for over 3.5 million yearly visits to physicians. Research suggests that Irritable Bowel Syndrome is one of the most common functional GI disorders and is one of the most common reasons for consultation with a primary care physician or gastroenterologist. Despite IBS showing to have a significant negative impact on health-related quality of life, only 30% of people with IBS symptoms seek medical attention. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is found predominantly in women in a 2:1 ratio versus men. There are several subtypes of IBS. • IBS-D: Diarrhea predominant • IBS-C: Constipation predominant • IBS-A or IBS-M: Alternating, or mixed, between constipation and diarrhea • IBS-PI: Post Infectious IBS • PDV-IBS: Post Diverticulitis IBS Some of the things you may have heard from family or friends about IBS are just myths about IBS.  IBS sufferers may experience multiple symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, excessive flatulence, bloating, a continual urge to defecate, urgency to get to a toilet, incontinence, a sensation of incomplete evacuation, straining with a bowel movement, hard / lumpy stools, or even an inability to have a bowel movement at all. A subset of Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers may have co-morbidities with other digestive health disorders namely; GERD / Heartburn, Dyspepsia, Chronic Constipation, Chronic Abdominal Pain, Fibromyalgia, Pelvic pain or perhaps Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, known collectively as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). […]
By |October 21st, 2013|IBS|0 Comments