Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. IBS is a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long-term. If you have alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea for at least three months, it is a good idea to visit your doctor in order to rule out IBS. IBS is different for each person, with varying symptoms and triggers. There are three types: IBS with constipation (IBS-C), IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) and Mixed IBS (IBS-M). IBS-M is the most common subtype.
The exact cause of IBS is not known. However, medical and health experts believe that the root cause is due to faulty communication between the brain and the intestinal tract, resulting in abnormal muscle contractions or spasms, which may also produce pain.
Symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation. All IBS sufferers complain of having dull or sharp abdominal pain or cramping and having a feeling of incomplete bowel movements. IBS-C sufferers, specifically will strain to efficate and endure manual evacuation of the bowels. IBS-D usually encounter feelings of urgency in evacuating. Sufferers of IBS-M report having symptoms that are common to all subtypes of IBS. The main difference is that these symptoms alternate in IBS-M, which may lead to a misdiagnosis.
Many people with IBS also have non-gastrointestinal symptoms. These include fatigue, muscle pain, sexual dysfunctions, and sleep disturbances. They may also overlap with other conditions.
Medical professionals will likely recommend dietary and lifestyle changes, the incorporation of. Medicines and probiotics.
Dietary changes are often the most effective in combating IBS. Many IBS-M patients report that certain foods trigger their symptoms. These foods include and should be avoided:
- Caffeinated drinks (such as soft drinks, coffee, and tea)
- Dairy products
- Fatty, fried or greasy food
- Wheat, rye, and barley
Keeping a daily meal journal can certainly help you figure out what foods are triggering or aggravating your symptoms. Many raw fruits, and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are known to contribute to gas and bloating, so it is best to avoid or limit them.
Including probiotics in your diet may improve your digestion, so it might offer a reprieve from some of your symptoms.
Stress is another significant trigger for many IBS sufferers. Try different relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and talking strolls early in the morning to greet the day at sunrise.
Acupuncture might also be useful in relieving pain, gas, and stress.
Medication is a good option for many IBS sufferers. There are several classes of medication which may include antibiotics, over-the-counter, antidepressants, and antispasmodics. We recommend that you speak to your doctor about which course of action is the most appropriate for you and your needs.
Whatever course of action you decide on, make sure it is something you can implement long-term. IBS is not a life sentence of pain, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea but you must learn how to manage these symptoms better so that you can live a life that you can enjoy.