Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the condition characterized by the abnormality of activities in the colon or the larger intestine. Since it is a syndrome, there are no exact causes as to why this condition arises. It is also marked with the combination of symptoms that are closely associated with the intestinal tract.
While it may be common among Americans (15% of the general population is affected with mild to severe Irritable Bowel Syndrom), there are not enough studies to find the roots of this disorder. However, it is well understood that it is a functional disorder, which gives justification as to why it was first termed to as a psychological disease.
Functional disorder is the state where there is no actual physical or anatomical complications presented during examination. However, this does not negate the presence of the disorder. Only, the problem lies in the abnormality of functions the colon presents.
This implies that either the nerves or the muscles involved in the intestinal activities don’t function in ways they should. The nerves though go beyond those that are found in the digestive system. The spinal chord and the brain themselves are also involved.
There are various terms that are used in exchange for Irritable Bowel Syndrom. Some of which are spastic colon, mucous colitis, spastic colitis and others. It must be cleared though that these are far different from the actual condition as described for Irritable Bowel Syndrom.
Since the medical community has no comprehensive reports on the known causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrom, it is likely that there exists no cure on the disorder. The only best measure that’s left is the treatment of the symptoms to suppress the aggravation or the pain that is caused by the attacks.
The treatment though for Irritable Bowel Syndrom is often a unsatisfying and difficult topic since there are too few drugs that were studied for effectivity towards the treatment. Additionally, the drugs that had been studied show too little substantial use due to a number of reasons.
There is lack in our understanding of the disease since it is not actually a life threatening disorder. It has been observed that only those conditions that post immediate therat on the life of the patients have been given enough significance to be considered worthy of the research. For Irritable Bowel Syndrom, there is not enough research funding to help facilitate our comprehension towards the disease.
Add to this the fact that it deals more on subjective states (such as pain). Subjective factors are less reliable than objective ones for there is no quantifiable data that researchers can build their findings on.
The presence of subtypes furthers result to difficulties of finding viable treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Subtypes such as constipation-dominant IBS or Diarrhea-dominant IBS are known to have varying physiological roots. Therefore, the possibility that one drug will work for one patient and will fail to another is high.
Since Irritable Bowel Syndrom deals more on subjective factors, it is at high risk with reacting to placebos, that is responses to inactive drugs. In fact, studies present that 1/3 of all IBS patients respond positively on inactive drugs.
The bottom line though is the lack of understanding on the physiological processes involved in IBS. Thus, proper treatment cannot be directed on the mechanisms associated to it.