IBS: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: What it is and how it can affect you
IBS is a chronic, long-term condition that affects the large intestine. While it is not a dangerous condition and won't cause you irreparable damage, it remains an often embarrassing source of pain and discomfort in many people.
Whether you're racing to the bathroom every ten minutes due to the stress of meeting an important client, or feeling the bloat after relying on coffee and high-sugar foods to get you through the day, IBS can have a serious impact on your day-to-day functioning if left unmanaged.
The severity of IBS can range amongst sufferers, but there are affordable and adjustable management plans available, from a change in diet and lessening stress, to medications and therapies to help you cope.
Read on to hear what Feelgood Health has to say about IBS and the steps that you can take to help yourself.
The Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Has a few months gone by, and you're still experiencing that sense of an upset stomach, grumbling after meals, and a bloated and tired feeling after your dinner? Are you swinging between racing to the bathroom, to not being able to go at all?
Are you growing concerned because you were convinced that you just “had a bug” and that the stomach cramps and frequent gas would eventually pass? Well, while some of it may have passed, you're more than likely experiencing a few of the symptoms commonly first experienced by IBS sufferers.
Do you feel better after having just gone to the bathroom, in a greater way than you'd usually expect?
It is commonly reported that many IBS sufferers experience a lessening in symptoms shortly after flushing – particularly feeling a great relief from the abdominal pain that often goes hand in hand with this condition.
Felt just above your belly button, you may be experiencing cramps or sharp pains and a feeling of swelling – otherwise known as abdominal distension – around the stomach area. Nausea, a loss of libido, acid reflux, and backache are a few other common symptoms of this condition.
What Causes IBS?
The exact cause of IBS is currently unknown, but there are many theories. Diet and stress are seen as the most common life-style causes, with an overgrowth of bacteria being one theory behind the underlying organic cause for the discomfort.
There is also the theory that a broken link between our brain and gut can create the symptoms when the IBS is triggered by stressful events.
The risk of developing IBS increases greatly after recovering from an acute gastrointestinal infection, as well as with the use of antibiotics.
Those suffering from depression and anxiety related psychological disorders are also at a greater risk of developing the condition.
Diagnosis of IBS
While there have been developments in studies of a potential test for IBS, there is currently no specific laboratory procedure for diagnosing the condition, beyond a process of eliminating various other medical conditions that could cause IBS-like symptoms.
Diagnosis is made when no other cause can be determined – which can be very frustrating for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome who consult medical practitioners for help!
Managing Your Symptoms
There are a few ways that you can manage the symptoms of IBS, as well as the effect it can have on your day-to-day functioning.
Many people rely on a strict diet change following the FODMAP model (a diet based around the restriction of certain carbohydrates, foods high in fructose, as well as products containing lactose), and find keeping a food-journal to jot down their “trigger” foods can help in avoiding a great deal of future pain.
Speaking to your doctor or nutritionist and keeping track of finding which foods help or hinder you can greatly improve many of the symptoms.
There are many products available on the market to assist in the management of IBS, and management can also be found in psychological therapies, stress-reduction techniques such as meditation and yoga, and keeping a balanced exercise regime.
For those wanting to take a more natural route to comfort, many find that herbal remedies such as peppermint oil can both alleviate and prevent their discomfort.
We recommend trying the Feelgood Health natural IBS remedy, Gastronic Dr. Gastronic Dr is a herbal remedy specifically formulated to assist with chronic digestive complaints and can help to restore balance to the digestive system for those suffering from IBS.
One of the characteristics of IBS is that the person often experiences a range of digestive symptoms – fluctuating from diarrhoea to constipation and back! Here are some more tips to deal with the symptoms of IBS.
CONSTIPATION: For a natural laxative, try drinking black forest tea or prune juice –, or keep yourself regular by using Feelgood Health's Natural Moves.
HEARTBURN/ACID REFLUX: Nat Phos Tissue Salts 10 that helps with the discomfort of heartburn and acid reflux without the disadvantages of over the counter antacids.
The role of CANDIDA: Some theories implicate an overgrowth of candida in the body as a cause of IBS. Try cutting out sugar and wheat from your diet for 4 – 6 weeks and see if that makes a difference. Also see Feelgood Health’s Candidate Drops – a herbal remedy that helps to reduce candida levels in the body.
Other Tips for dealing with IBS: Keeping healthy and happy may seem like a big task when you're suffering the symptoms of IBS, but it is possible! As stress is one of the big triggers of IBS, sign up for a meditation or yoga class or take up a stress relieving hobby such as dancing. Keep aware and listen to your body, and you'll soon be on your way to living a symptom-free life once again.If you have any health-related questions, please contact us or leave a comment below for FREE advice. We always love hearing from you!