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An Overview of Constipation Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome

written by: Lashan Clarke • edited by: BStone • updated: 3/17/2011

There is a high prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome within society. Many people also suffer from the one type known as constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome. This article will describe the signs and symptoms of this type of IBS.

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    An Overview of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects the intestine and is characterized by a bowel that doesn't work properly. At least fifteen percent of the population has this condition. IBS has been shown to cause a variety of symptoms that include diarrhea, constipation or a dominant alternative of both. This disorder should not be confused with other medical conditions affecting the bowels such as colitis. It is not a disorder caused by an inflammation, but rather it is a functional disorder that affects the innervation of the intestine.

    Therefore, constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome will affect how the intestine works rather than change the actual structure of this organ. However, other disorders such as colitis change the structure of the intestine. In some people this medical condition can be quite severe and can affect the normal daily function of their lives.

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    The Cause of Constipation Predominant IBS

    It is not completely known what causes constipation predominant IBS. What does happen is that the disorder manifests or presents itself with the same symptoms as someone having gastroenteritis. There is also a motility issue that is caused by the increased or decreased movement of stool through the intestine. Scientists do believe that the syndrome is caused by a problem with the nerves that supply the intestines. Stress also has a significant role in the symptoms experienced by someone with this disorder.

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    Diagnosis and Treatment

    For a definite diagnosis, the doctor will have to rule out all other conditions that can cause pain in the stomach, diarrhea and constipation. Usually the person will experience either diarrhea or constipation with varying bouts of each one. Even though scientists have labeled this as a problem caused by the nerves that supply the intestines, a doctor may still want a biopsy of the intestinal wall to confirm that it is not another condition.

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    Constipation predominant IBS does have a chronic nature to it. Most people who have been told they have this disorder will feel as if they have lost the normal structure to their life. However, there are quite a number of treatment options, such as medication to improve the constipation and irregularity. Some people have found relief by using more natural sources of nutrition to alleviate the constipation. Thus a change in what you eat can alleviate the symptoms for some people with IBS.

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    One of the main treatments of this medical condition is soluble fiber, which can be used to decrease the amount of impacted stool in the stomach. There are various ways to get more fiber within the diet such as eating fruits and vegetables or healthy breads and grains. It is also possible to buy a fiber powder drink to increase the amount of fiber that you consume. Some people do need to be prescribed a laxative or an antispasmodic medication that can improve the function of the intestine. In cases where constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome is being caused by stress, psychotherapy or counseling is available.