An insight on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

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Irritable Bowel SyndromeIBS is a gut disorder, essentially meaning that your gut is not functioning properly. The gut includes everything from your intestines to your bowels. It is not a “disease” but rather a term to explain digestive issues that don’t fit into other categories.

IBS ranges from very mild to extremely painful symptoms. When I say mild, I mean something along the lines of occasional bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea but still being able to live a normal life. On the other end of the spectrum, I mean unbearable agony, being hunched over and unable to move, or even being hospitalized.

Types of IBS
Experts have now categorized IBS into three groups. Each group is recognized by a primary symptom. However, this primary symptom is often in addition to general gut issues, such as bloating or abdominal discomfort.

First, you have IBS-C, which indicates that an individual suffers mostly with constipation. Second, you have IBS-D, which indicates the primary symptom is diarrhea And finally, you have IBS-A, which indicates alternating between constipation and diarrhea.

And just to add to the confusion, many individuals will actually alternate between the tranches over time. This is one reason it is very important to identify a long-term solution for oneself. Otherwise, you will be taking measures to help your constipation then switching to something to help diarrhea then back again. This is not good for your body and can actually make things worse.

Common Symptoms
Symptoms will probably vary in severity and in length of time over a person’s life. What this means is that one week things will be great and the next week you will feel bloated and gassy the entire time. One month you will suffer with symptoms for just a couple days and the next month they are full steam ahead over a two-week period.

When you read about IBS, the most common symptoms discussed are bloating, constipation, and diarrhea These are exactly the symptoms I’ve talked about so far above. However, the list of symptoms goes on for miles and each person experiences something slightly different or varying combinations of the symptoms. Some other common symptoms are:

• Headache
• Backache (something I suffered with and then realized it was from constipation)
• Fatigue
• Excess wind
• Depression/anxiety
• Urgency for bowel movements

Why has IBS become so common?
Leading on from the discussion above about the fact that people consume more packaged or processed foods now and are exposed to more and more chemicals, I know this has something to do with how common IBS suffering has become.

Eating Habits
Processed foods obviously have more ingredients in them than the same foods would if you cooked them yourself.
Some of the ingredients that tend to cause digestive trouble for people are egg, dairy, and gluten. And what do you find in many, many products? These ingredients. They even show up in things you wouldn’t think of, like soups (even the non-creamy ones!), crisps, and even some poultry/meats.

As our intake of these ingredients increases, our bodies have more reaction to them during the digestive process. Hence, the instance of IBS appears to have risen significantly recently.

Chemicals/Toxins and Parasites
Common chemicals, additives, toxins, and metals cause problems in our digestive system. As we now know that exposure to these foreign substances contributes to digestive trouble, there is a link between the increasing exposure to chemicals and the increasing reports of IBS suffering.

Another important note:
If you ever notice that you have blood in your stool, please don’t pass this off as IBS because it is not a normal symptom of IBS. You should go see a doctor immediately.

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