What are the main symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and how can they be managed?



Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment

Many people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, develop a sixth sense about public restrooms. They know where to find one in a hurry and are used to leaving a table of friends at dinner or a sale at Bloomingdale’s to dash to the bathroom. Doctors aren’t sure what causes IBS, but many believe it’s a combination of factors, including muscle contraction or “motility” disturbance, and increased sensitivity of nerves in the digestive tract. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscles that contract and relax as they move food from the stomach through the intestinal tract. In people who don’t have IBS, the muscles contract and relax in regular rhythm. In people with IBS, the muscle contractions in the intestines can be stronger, producing diarrhea or constipation, and, in addition, the nerves fire more strongly, producing pain.

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Another theory blames an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria. Some IBS patients were thought to have a condition known as “small intestine bacterial overgrowth,” in which the bacteria that normally live in the colon somehow find their way into the relatively sterile small intestine. Now we know that there may not necessarily be an overgrowth of bacteria as much as replacement of “good” bacteria with “bad” bacteria, which can affect the motility and sensitivity of the nerves.

MORE:9 Things That May Surprise You About IBS

The upshot of irritable bowel syndrome treatment and coping techniques means identifying the food, drinks, or stressful events that trigger alternating bouts of diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Sometimes people with IBS get all three at the same time. A sense of bloating or fullness and mucus in the stool are some of the other complaints. Some doctors think that IBS may be second only to the common cold as America’s most widespread medical complaint. Yet there’s plenty of good news: For one, IBS does not appear to raise your risk for colorectal cancer. And IBS doesn’t trigger changes in the bowel tissue or cause inflammation.

19 Coping Suggestions For IBS

After a diagnosis, the following tips can help with IBS treatment, easing symptoms and discomfort.

Take The News In Stride

“There’s a very good connection between stress and an irritable bowel,” says Douglas A. Drossman, MD. Overly anxious and driven people are prone to IBS, according to a study published in theBritish Medical Journal. Researchers studied more than 600 people who had gastroenteritis (a condition that can lead to IBS). Six months later the people who had developed IBS were significantly more likely to report high levels of stress and a more pessimistic view of illness than those who didn’t develop IBS.

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What you don’t want to do to yourself is get stressedbecauseyou have an irritable bowel, which then just creates a vicious cycle. Especially during flare-ups of abdominal pain, it’s important to take a deep breath. “Think about what’s happening. Recognize that it’s happened before and it will pass. Once you’ve had an evaluation and are given a diagnosis of IBS by your physician, give up your fears of cancer or other serious diseases. People don’t die from an irritable bowel, and these symptoms are far more typical of IBS than anything else,” he says. (Try these stress-reducing yoga poses.)

Become A More Relaxed Person

Anything you can do to help yourself unwind should help to alleviate your symptoms, says Drossman. You may benefit from relaxation techniques, such as meditation, self-hypnosis, or biofeedback. If the stress in your life is particularly problematic, consider psychological counseling. The key is to find what best works foryou.

MORE:4 Natural Ways To Soothe An Angry Gut

Keep A Stress Diary

People with an irritable bowel have an intestinal system that overreacts to food, stress, and hormonal changes. “Think of your irritable bowel as a built-in barometer, and use it to help you determine what things in your life are most stressful,” says Drossman. If, for instance, you have stomach pain every time you talk to your boss, see it as a sign that you need to work on that relationship (perhaps by talking it over with your boss, a friend, a family member, or a therapist). Keep a written record of your symptoms for a week or two, taking note of what was happening just before the pain began and see if any patterns emerge. (Here's 10 silent signals you're way too stressed.)

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Log Your Food And Beverage Intake, Too

Certain foods and beverages, just like stress, can activate an irritable bowel, so also record in your diary the foods and beverages that give you the most trouble, says Drossman. Make note of what you eat during the day, the symptoms you have, when these symptoms occur, and what foods cause you to feel ill. Tracking your diet will help you identify foods that trigger your IBS.

Add Fiber To Your Diet

Many people with IBS do much better simply by adding fiber to their diets. Fiber is more effective with those who tend to have constipation. A diet that’s high in fiber keeps the colon mildly distended, which may prevent spasms. Some types of fiber draw water into the stool, so passing stools is easier. Experts recommend a diet that will keep bowel movements soft and painless to pass. The best fiber to add to your diet is the insoluble type—found in bran, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. High-fiber foods can cause bloating and gas, but for some people those symptoms go away after a few weeks. Increasing your fiber intake by 2 to 3 grams should make those problems less likely, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. (Here's 6 tasty ways to get more fiber.)

Send Psyllium Seed To The Rescue

If you need to treat symptoms of constipation with your IBS, you can increase your fiber intake with crushed psyllium seed, says Drossman. It’s a natural laxative sold in drugstores, supermarkets, and health food stores. Unlike chemical laxatives often found on the same shelves, psyllium-based laxatives such as Metamucil and Konsyl are nonaddictive and generally safe, even when taken over long periods. Keep in mind that laxatives only treat the constipation, not the pain, which is usually manageable. In some cases you may need to see your doctor for medication to treat the pain, advises Drossman.

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MORE:6 Natural Remedies for IBS

Drink Lots of Fluids

To keep your bowels moving smoothly, you need not only fiber but also fluids, especially if you have diarrhea. You’ll need more on August days when you play tennis than on December days that you spend at the movies, but in general, you should drink between six and eight glasses of fluid a day. (Encourage hydration with these 25 sassy, flat-belly water recipes.)

Turn To Yogurt

Scientists have long known that bacteria play an important role in maintaining your health. Probiotics, or foods that contain beneficial bacteria, will someday be recognized as “a new essential food group,” predicts Gary Huffnagle, PhD. “I believe we’ll eventually have research-based minimum daily requirements for probiotics,” he says, “just as we do for many vitamins and minerals.” Adding a probiotic, such as yogurt, to your diet may help alleviate some of the symptoms of IBS.

Research shows that the bacteria in many types of yogurt can lessen the gas, pain, and bloating that IBS causes. Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria hold the most promise, so look for yogurts containing these bacteria. If you have a lactose or milk intolerance, then try a probiotic supplement, says Huffnagle. Although probiotics are generally considered safe, discuss them with your doctor before using them to treat IBS.

Reconsider Dairy Products

One fluid you may be better off without is milk. “A large number of people who say they have IBS are really lactose intolerant,” says William J. Snape Jr, MD. It means that your body has difficulty absorbing lactose, an enzyme found in milk. Your doctor can test you for lactose intolerance, or you can give up dairy products for a couple of days and see how you do. In either case, you may find that this one dietary change can clear up all your problems.

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Cut Out The Fat

Here’s one more good reason to eat a low-fat diet. “Fat is a major stimulus to colonic contractions,” says Snape. In other words, it can worsen your IBS. A good place to begin to cut the fat out of your diet is by eliminating heavy sauces, fried foods, and salad oils, he says.

Beware Of Spicy Foods

Some people with IBS are sensitive to foods laden with peppers and other spices. In fact, preliminary research shows that the nerve fibers in people with IBS send more pain signals to the brain when they eat chile peppers and other spicy foods than people without IBS.

Avoid Coffee

Coffee is a major cause of woe among people with IBS, says Snape. To some extent, the culprit may be caffeine, but it may also be the resins in the coffee bean itself. You may get some relief if you switch to decaffeinated. If you don’t, try cutting down on all coffee.

Reconsider Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can exacerbate your problems, but it’s probably not the alcohol itself, says Snape. Rather, it’s the complex carbohydrates in beer and the tannins in red wine that probably cause the most grief. People with IBS should avoid these two drinks, he says.

Put Out That Cigarette

“A large number of people experience IBS problems with smoking,” says Snape. The most probable culprit is the nicotine of your cigarettes, so if you’re trying to quit with the help of nicotine gum, you may not see any difference in your tummy problems.

Spit Out The Gum

Gums and candies artificially sweetened with sorbitol are not easily digested and can worsen your IBS, says Drossman. While the amount of sorbitol found in one stick of gum or one hard candy isn’t likely to affect you greatly, if you gobble up 10 or more pieces a day, it’s time to cut back. (Here's 6 more gross side effects of chewing gum.)

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Eat Regular Meals

It’s not onlywhatyou eat, buthowyou eat that can vex an irritable bowel, says Snape. Digesting a lot of food eaten all at once overstimulates the digestive system. That is why it’s much better to eat frequent small meals rather than to ingest infrequent large ones.

MORE:11 Highly Effective Solutions For IBS

Go For A Job

Exercise strengthens the entire body, including the bowel. It helps relieve stress, and it releases endorphins that help you control pain. All in all, regular exercise will more than likely calm your irritable bowel. Be careful, however, not to overdo it. Oddly enough, too much exercise can lead to diarrhea.

Call A Hot-Water Bottle To The Rescue

If you experience abdominal pain, the best thing to do is to sit or lie down, take a deep breath, and try to relax. Some people have discovered that putting a hot-water bottle or a heating pad directly on their tummy helps, says Snape.

Visualize Yourself Pain-Free

It’s normal to panic during an attack of abdominal pain. But ironically, stress makes the pain worse by tensing the bowel. How can you break this nasty cycle? With visualization, says Donna Copeland, PhD. It’s a very effective tool for dealing with pain and anxiety, she says. Learning visualization techniques with a professional is probably the best route. But there’s nothing wrong with trying on your own. Copeland suggests the following: If you feel pain, stop what you’re doing, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, close your eyes, and—instead of focusing on your pain—see yourself:

  • Diving expertly into the warm ocean surf off a beautiful, white-sand tropical beach
  • Standing atop a tall, snow-crested mountain, breathing the cool air, and listening to the crunch of snow under your feet
  • Sitting in a large hot tub, chatting idly with several of your closest friends
  • Walking through a lush garden in a far-off, exotic land
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When To Call A Doctor For IBS Treatment

Diarrhea, constipation, and bloating, especially when accompanied by abdominal pain that seems aggravated in stressful situations and relieved by passing stools, are the cardinal signs of irritable bowel syndrome. While these symptoms can occur commonly in many individuals, when you find that they are limiting your activities or making you feel depressed or anxious, it’s time to see your doctor for proper treatment. Other symptoms may indicate a more serious condition. See your doctor if you have:

  • Blood in your stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhea or urinary incontinence that causes you to wake up at night
  • Diarrhea or urinary incontinence that cause you to have “accidents”
  • Constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or any combination of the three so severe that you can’t work for several days or engage in social activities

Panel Of Advisors

Donna Copeland, PhD,is a retired professor of pediatrics (psychology) and chief of the behavioral medicine section at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She is also a clinical psychologist and past president of the American Psychological Association's Division of Psychological Hypnosis.

Douglas A. Drossman, MD,is a professor of medicine and psychiatry, and codirector of the University of North Carolina Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders at Chapel Hill.

Gary Huffnagle, PhD,  is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor and a prominent probiotics researchers.

William J. Snape, Jr, MD,is the director of neurogastroenterology and motility at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.






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Date: 06.12.2018, 20:57 / Views: 44272