The irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been known for sometime, but the exact cause is unknown. Relative causes of IBS are: stress, some foods, irregular mealtimes and lack of dietary fiber in your diet.
IBS is the most common gut condition that affects about ten percent of the populace. It is most common to people aged between 25 and 45 but it can strike at any age. Women are more often affected than men.
Among the symptoms are:
*** Abdominal pain, bloating and wind.
*** Diarrhea or constipation, or episodes of both.
*** Passing mucus when you open your bowels.
*** A feeling of incomplete emptying of the rectum.
*** Nausea and vomiting.
*** Depression, anxiety and stress.
Other symptoms not related to the gut include backache, tiredness, headaches, and urinary or gynecological symptoms.
Research have shown that people with IBS seem to have a colon that is super-sensitive.
While IBS can cause disruption and affect one’s life to those severely affected, it’s important to note so far that IBS is not linked to a life-threatening diseases and doesn’t develop into a bowel cancer.
Many women with IBS find it particularly bad before or during their period and has led researchers to suggest that female hormones may play a part of it too.
Although there’s no cure for IBS yet, the following tips could help:
*** Watch your diet – Make a food diary. Try to work out how your diet relates to your symptoms, by comparing what you have eaten with bad attacks. Avoid fat-rich food, such as dairy, ensure your milk is skimmed or semi-skimmed, and cook with minimal fat by baking or steaming food rather than frying or roasting.
*** Avoid large meals – They can trigger spasms. Lactose from foods passes undigested to the large bowel, where it is fermented by the gut bacteria, resulting in cramps and gas production. Lactose intolerance can cause symptoms very similar to IBS. Cut down on dairy products and see if your symptoms improve.
*** Eat soluble fiber – Fiber can help reduce IBS symptoms and prevent spasms. Soluble fiber is helpful to people with IBS. High levels of soluble fiber are found in vegetables, such as potatoes, and some fruits (apples and citrus), dried beans, oats and barley. Insoluble fiber may also be helpful for constipation. Good sources include wheat bran, whole grains, cereals, seeds and the skins of many fruits and vegetables.
*** Tackle stress – Try to get as much sleep as you need, ensure there’s a least one set period each week when you can have some time exclusively for yourself at least once a day or take up some relaxation therapies.
*** Other treatments – Peppermint oil and antispasmodic medication relieve abdominal pain. Take anti-diarrhea medication to stop diarrhea. Increase fluid, fiber intake, spur activity, as well as taking a gentle dose of laxative for constipation is recommended. You can take probiotics to increase the levels of your own useful bacteria by eating unpeeled root vegetables or take probiotic yogurts. Studies have shown that these treatments may help reduce symptoms such as bloating and flatulence. Friendly bacteria to look for include Lactobacillus rhamnosus plantarum and bifidobacteria.
*** Get expert advice – If symptoms persist see your doctor or pharmacist.