Dealing With IBS!
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) cannot be called a disease. It is a number of symptoms that arise due to certain changes in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
These symptoms of IBS are so common & similar to other digestive problems that most people don’t realize what is happening or why and hesitate to go see a doctor, therefore leaving IBS cases diagnosed & untreated.
Some of the common symptoms of IBS include stomach pain, stomach cramps, diarrhea or constipation, gas and bloating.
Other signs that may indicate IBS include: Urge to have a bowel movement. Painful and straining bowel movement Feeling of incomplete bowel movement Passing clear fluid called mucus that protects the tissues in GI tract
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects the large intestine and is a common disorder.
It is caused due to diet, stress, hormones, or genetic factors.
IBS can hamper the quality of life of a person and they may find it difficult to carry out daily activities.
In order to manage IBS, one will have to make a few lifestyle modifications like being physically active, following a good sleep schedule and most important, eating a healthy diet to manage it.
As per NIH – National Cancer Institute, “The typical symptoms of IBS include constant stomach ache or lower abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, as well as a change in the consistency of the stool. Other names for this disorder include irritable colon, mucous colitis, spastic colon or spastic colitis, and nervous stomach.
Although IBS is not dangerous, the symptoms can be very painful and bothersome.
Most people who have IBS have a mild form, which they can cope with quite well without getting any treatment.
But sometimes the symptoms are so strong that they significantly affect people’s everyday lives and can cause distress.
Treatment for IBS:
- One should cut down on alcohol and smoking and see to it that they get the treatment at the right time.
- Diet, stress and poor sleep may all trigger symptoms but the triggers may vary from person to person.
- Avoid self-medication and lead a stress-free life, which can sometimes be hard..but if you make some lifestyle alterations, it will work in your favor!
- Drink enough water
- Avoid eating spicy foods and foods rich in fats
- Avoid coffee and tea if you think it triggers your symptoms
- Control your portion size. Instead of having one large meal at a time, divide it into smaller meals over the day
- Do not overeat
- Exercise regularly - whether it be taking a daily walk, going to the gym or starting yoga.
- Sleep for at least for 7 hours
- Meditate- try to lead a stress free life.
Dr Ashwin Mallya, gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, offers some additional tips that will help people with IBS:
Some people have found that giving up milk and dairy products has helped them.
We suggest eating more fruits, fiber-rich food and green leafy vegetables.
Very important- Probiotics have also been shown to provide relief but you need to be consistent in taking them daily.
It is a good idea to keep a food diary which can help you correlate the food you eat and your IBS symptoms.
In any case, if your symptoms are getting worse and are affecting your bowel movements, it is a good idea to go for a colonoscopy.
To confirm IBS, your doctor may ask you to take some blood tests or a stool test which can be done at home.
These tests are often recommended to rule out presence of other serious diseases.
- A blood test may be done to check if you are suffering from celiac disease or low blood count due to anemia.
- A computed tomography (CT) scan may be recommended to rule out internal injury and other causes of the symptoms.
- A stool test may be done to rule out the possibility of intestinal infections & can be done in the confort of your home.
- A colonoscopy (viewing the rectum and colon) may be required for older patients to eliminate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
People with IBS are often suggested mental therapies to reduce stress in life. These therapies usually involve relaxation and stress-management techniques that improve focus & reduce anxiety & depression.
Thehealthsite suggests reading: Hypnosis could cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome!
Alternative treatments like herbal remedies, homeopathy and acupuncture do show positive effect on quality of life of IBS patients, but there is no convincing evidence for the same.
We have a fabulous stress management program we can share with you too. Call our office for more information.
If you are diagnosed with IBS, make sure to follow the instructions given by your doctor to help you to deal with it.