By Abdellatif Sharaa
KUWAIT: Gastroenterologist Dr Wafa Al-Hashash said around 10 percent of Kuwait’s population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is around 450,000 persons. She said 65 percent of IBS patients are affected with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), adding studies indicate that women are more prone to be affected with IBS than men.
Dr Hashash said IBS is a chronic but not infectious disease, adding that symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and flatulence, similar to SIBO symptoms, which is diagnosed by the hydrogen and methane breathing test with 83 percent accuracy. She said IBS is diagnosed by following the Rome criteria, which is group of symptoms, in addition to laboratory tests of blood and stool, in addition to x-ray, lactose intolerance and SIBO test, along with endoscopy of the digestive system, stomach and colon.
Dr Hashash said most groups that are likely to get IBS are those under 40 years old and family history, in addition to having depression and anxiety. As for those who may be affected with SIBO, she said they include those who underwent abdominal surgeries such as gastric sleeve and bypass, have peptic ulcer, intestine adhesions, diabetes and coeliac condition that prompts the immune system to attack the patient’s tissue when eating items containing gluten, such as wheat and barley, Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease) and other diseases that affect bowel movement.
Dr Hashash said IBS treatment is a complicated and complex process and includes changing the nutritional system by taking lots of liquids and practicing sport. As for medicinal treatment, it is up to the doctor, who relies on the health condition and symptoms of the patient. SIBO treatment on the other hand depends on treating the main cause, then treatment with antibiotics to reduce the number of harmful bacteria, in addition to food support, because one of SIBO’s complications is malnutrition and inefficient absorption of nutrients accompanied with weight loss.
Dr Hashash recommended that when having abdominal symptoms such as pain, bloating, change in the bathroom habits including having diarrhea and constipation, a gastroenterologist should be consulted.