IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome, and it is a disorder that causes several symptoms in the digestive system.
This condition can be very discomforting, and it can have a negative effect on your quality of life. IBS can adversely affect your career by making you frequently ill, and forcing you to miss work, school or other daily activities.
What are the symptoms of IBS?
Common symptoms of IBS may include bloating, gas and flatulence, cramping abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of all these symptoms. Other common symptoms include unusual stool consistency and mucus in stool. Some people only experience a few of these symptoms while others have most or all of the symptoms.
Is there an IBS cure?
While there is currently no cure for IBS, according to the latest findings, researchers may be closer than ever. Current studies tend to focus on the microorganisms that live within the human digestive tract and their role in the condition. Unfortunately, there are such a large number of diverse bacteria present that it can be difficult to pinpoint what’s causing the trouble, and this is compounded by the fact that that each person’s makeup of microorganisms is unique to them. However, as scientific knowledge about the digestive tract and the microorganisms that occupy it increases, it’s believed that humans will one day be able to manipulate them in such a way that IBS can be eliminated.
How can dietary changes treat IBS?
One of the most common ways to treat irritable bowel syndrome is to change your diet to avoid problem foods. Most people who suffer from IBS have specific food products which make symptoms to get worse. Foods that cause, or worsen symptoms, are usually different for every person. The best way to get relief or prevent these symptoms is to stay away from foods that irritate your digestive tract and to only consume foods that are neutral or soothing. Some people may also take prescription medications or may be advised to use over the counter medicines when they experience symptoms.
Treatment for irritable bowel may be different for everyone. Each individual may have unique problem foods, so dietary requirements or changes that are needed may vary. Foods that trigger IBS symptoms include dairy, cruciferous vegetables, and high-fiber foods. Many of these foods are healthy and may be needed despite potential side effects, but you can find them in forms that are easily processed by the body. For instance, people who cannot tolerate or digest dairy easily may be able to use a digestive enzyme supplement before consumption to prevent problems.
Most patients will be instructed to keep a food diary for one or more weeks before treatment for IBS can begin. They will start by eating a bland diet with easy to digest foods like toast and bananas. Slowly, one food group at a time can be added back to the diet. Patients will need to write down what is eaten each day, which symptoms occur, and which foods seem to cause the most problems.
Some people with IBS will find that most foods will not cause problems, and very little treatment will be needed for their IBS symptoms. Other people may have to go on a very strict diet that offers a limited number of food choices. For these people, medications may help to relieve symptoms so that more varieties of foods can be tolerated. Limiting nutritious foods in order to avoid IBS symptoms may result in malnutrition for some people.
What other treatment options exist?
Other treatments for IBS include regular physical activity to promote smoother digestive function, and drinking adequate amounts of water to hydrate the body and lubricate digested food. Regular exercises that are helpful in dealing with IBS include walking, jogging, yoga, and stretching.
If you do not get relief with common treatment for IBS, you may consider seeing a physician to determine if there is an underlying medical condition. There are many syndromes which may present symptoms similar to IBS. Some people with IBS become depressed because the discomfort and symptoms of IBS disrupt their daily plans. When properly treated, you can get rid of, or control your IB symptoms.