IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)

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Description

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is one of the most common digestive disorders. This is a functional motility illness (abnormal muscular contractions) of the small and large intestines, in the true absence of structural damage. I.B.S is also known as spastic colon, irritable colitis, intestinal neurosis, and mucous colitis. This condition is seen twice as often in women than in men. IBS can affect people of all age groups though it is usually seen in people between 25 – 45 years of age.

IBS is most likely a synergistic disorder (There are, a series of triggers that individually would not provoke an attack, though may do so when combined). The triggers could include food sensitivities, a bowel flora imbalance, and colonic malfermentation which are all likely to play a significant role.

People suffering from IBS may also have associated conditions such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), heartburn, and difficulty swallowing.

IBS can be related to many other conditions such as pancreatic insufficiency, ulcers, parasitic infections, candidiasis, colon cancer, arthritis, and skin disorders

Symptoms

The symptoms of IBS can vary from person to person, but the most common ones include:

  1. Abdominal pain or discomfort: This is typically the primary symptom of IBS. The pain or discomfort may be cramp-like, and it is often relieved after a bowel movement.

  2. Changes in bowel habits: IBS can cause alterations in bowel movements, which can manifest as:

    • Diarrhea: Frequent loose or watery stools.
    • Constipation: Infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools.
    • Mixed: Alternating between diarrhea and constipation.
  3. Bloating and gas: Many people with IBS experience increased bloating, often accompanied by excessive gas production and a sensation of abdominal distension.

  4. Abdominal cramping: Cramping or spasms in the lower abdomen are common in IBS. These cramps may come and go and can range from mild to severe.

  5. Changes in stool appearance: Some individuals with IBS notice changes in the appearance of their stools, such as the presence of mucus or an inconsistent stool consistency (hard and lumpy or loose and watery).

  6. Urgency to have a bowel movement: Feeling an immediate and intense need to use the bathroom.

  7. Incomplete bowel movements: Feeling like you haven’t fully emptied your bowels even after having a bowel movement.

It’s important to note that IBS is a chronic condition and its symptoms can vary in frequency and severity over time. Other symptoms, such as fatigue, nausea, and backache, can also occur in individuals with IBS, although they are not exclusive to the condition.

Treatments

Diet: Making changes to your diet may help alleviate IBS symptoms. Some people find relief by avoiding foods that trigger symptoms such as dairy, gluten, caffeine, and high-fat foods. Others find a low-FODMAP diet to be helpful.

Stress management: Stress can be a major trigger for IBS symptoms. Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce stress levels. Counseling may also assist with stress management.

Exercise: Regular exercise can help alleviate IBS symptoms by improving bowel function and reducing stress. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking or cycling, most days of the week.

Probiotics: Some studies suggest that probiotics may help alleviate IBS symptoms by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil may help alleviate IBS symptoms such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. It can be taken as a capsule or added to tea.

Fiber supplements: Fiber supplements such as psyllium or methylcellulose may help alleviate constipation associated with IBS. However, it’s important to start with a low dose and gradually increase it to avoid worsening symptoms.

Hydration: Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated can help alleviate constipation and prevent dehydration.

Deep breathing exercises – Most people tend to hold their breath or are shallow breathers, especially during stressful situations.

NOTE: The symptoms of IBS may be similar to other disorders including cancer. If both lifestyle and dietary changes yield no relief or result it may prove prudent to consult a physician to rule out other underlying conditions/problems.

Nutrients and supplements:

1. L-Glutamine – helps maintain the absorption surfaces of the gut

2. Vitamin B Complex – required for correct muscle tone in the G.I. tract

3. Probiotics – required to maintain a healthy friendly bacteria balance

4. Colostrum plus – aids digestion and helps fight infection. Immune factors are transferred to the immune system. It strengthens the immune system and helps repair damaged tissue. Helps with gastrointestinal diseases, and eliminates parasites, viruses, and bacteria. Assists in repairing intestinal lining.

5. Multi-Vitamins – provides essential nutrients.

6. Digestive enzymes – are traditionally used to assist digestion. This digestive enzyme combination improves the digestion of nutrients.

7. Tummy formula – helping to promote peak digestive function and relieve gastrointestinal conditions.

8. Fulvic Acid – improves energy, skin health, gut health, detoxification, and supports the immune system. High in vitamins and minerals.

Causes

Abnormalities in gut motility: The muscles in the digestive system may contract too strongly or weakly, leading to diarrhea or constipation.

Changes in the gut microbiome: The balance of bacteria in the gut may be disrupted, leading to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria or a reduction in beneficial bacteria.

Food sensitivities: Certain foods may trigger IBS symptoms in some people, such as dairy, gluten, or high-fat foods.

Psychological factors: Stress, anxiety, and depression may contribute to the development of IBS or trigger symptoms in people who already have the condition.

Hormonal changes: Women may experience worsening of symptoms during their menstrual periods, suggesting a hormonal link.

Genetic factors: There may be a genetic component to IBS, as the condition tends to run in families.

Inflammation: Some researchers believe that low-grade inflammation in the gut may contribute to the development of IBS.

Underlying Emotions

Can be associated with intense/stressful relationships with parents. Feeling abused, rejected, or suppressed by authority figures led to feeling unsafe and insecure. An urgent need to get away from toxic people or relationships.

Diet

1. Following a high complex carbohydrate, high fiber diet will aid in controlling IBS. Adding fiber will assist with regulating bowel movements (psyllium seed husks, barley, rye, flaxseed, pectin, guar gum, oat bran, legumes, brown rice, and vegetables are fiber sources that are most likely to provide benefits and less likely to provide food sensitivity reactions)

2. Food allergies are an important consideration when treating IBS. Certain foods are more likely to cause irritable bowel syndrome because they irritate the walls of the intestinal tract. When eliminating these foods from the diet the management of IBS symptoms will be more effective.

a. The primary problem foods are dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream), eggs, wheat, corn, oranges, and sugar.

b. The following should also be avoided wherever possible, peanuts, meat (meat can take between 12 to 15 hours to be completely processed), refined and processed foods, soy products, most legumes, caffeine, alcohol, hot sauces, spicy foods, fried foods, fatty foods, rich and salty foods.

c. Limit the consumption of gas-producing foods such as cabbage, beans, and broccoli

d. Avoid Carrageenan a food stabilizer added to many processed foods and dairy products. Carrageenan may worsen colitis

3. Ensure that you chew your food well, and take your time when eating. Don’t eat a meal immediately before going to bed, it is best to wait at least two hours before lying down

Remedies

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