Often referred to as a spastic colon, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a common disorder affecting the digestive tract. In fact, researchers estimate that nearly 1/5th of the population worldwide suffers from the condition, or more serious G.I. track conditions, including ulcerated colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Many individuals that suffer from IBS take Metamucil as a way to minimize much of the discomfort and pain associated with bowel movements.
Common IBS Symptoms
Irritable bowel syndrome typically starts to manifest in early adult years, or late teens.
All the symptoms tend to vary between individuals, along with the frequency, many of the symptoms involve constipation, gas, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal discomfort and pain, headaches and fatigue.
While an individual might not experience all of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, most experience two or more.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Causes
Researchers are still baffled as to the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, but it is typically recognized as a ‘functional disorder.’ This means that the condition interferes with normal activity of the bowel based on sensitivity to the system. It also can be the result of an impairment of how the brain communicates with the intestines to regulate the digestive and elimination systems.
In fact, irritable bowel syndrome is thought to stem from a specific ‘glitch’ in the way that the body regulates the nervous system to normal functioning of the large intestine (lower digestive tract).
In fact, the G.I. track appears to become highly sensitive to even minimal stimuli.
Individuals that suffer hypersensitivity in the G.I. tract often experience major discomfort from mild gas, or typical muscle contractions. While there might not actually be any problem with the intestinal structure, there may be issues with muscle movement during times of elimination.
In addition, inflammation can appear at a microscopic level, when compared to severe inflammation characteristics that can be visually seen in serious inflammation bowel diseases.
In addition, the lower intestine might also be playing a role in irritable bowel syndrome, along with the consumption of specific foods, and associated emotional factors such as depression, fear, stress and anxiety. To date, researchers believe there are a huge array of irritants they can easily trigger the condition, and make the symptoms worse.
In many incidences, individuals attempt to treat the condition on their own. Over-the-counter products including Metamucil have been beneficial to individuals that suffer constipation as a part of their irritable bowel syndrome.
As a dense fiber supplement formulated from psyllium, Metamucil as a significant amount of bulk to the individual’s stool, and allows waste to travel significantly more smoothly while passing through the digestive tract.
Metamucil is beneficial because it is a natural ingredient formulated from soluble plant fiber. This is especially advantageous to individuals that suffer gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, and other G.I. track hyper reactive conditions. There are numerous varieties of Metamucil including powder form, and flavored wafers along with capsules. Some varieties of Metamucil have added calcium as a way to help reduce the potential of diarrhea.
Avoiding Specific Foods
Many individuals have dairy intolerance and cannot easily or properly assimilate and digest milk and other dairy products from sheep, goats and cows. Many patients indicate that they experience severe bloating, gas and diarrhea when consuming milk products.
Being lactose intolerant, the patient may experience lessening symptoms of IBS by avoiding dairy products altogether.
In addition, many individuals have gluten sensitivity, and have problematic issues when consuming wheat products. Many of the chemicals and proteins in wheat can cause significant issues including skin problems, brain issues and diarrhea.
Other than celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome can be directly affected by the consumption of a variety of foods.
Antibiotics and Probiotics
Repeated or extended use of antibiotics can easily lower the total volume of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.
Unfortunately, an antibiotic is not designed to be a targeted missile. Instead, the medication works more like a nuclear bomb, killing off bad and good bacteria at the same time.
While antibiotics are great at killing off harmful bacteria, it often takes months, weeks or even years to restore healthy colonies of good bacteria needed in the intestines to digest food.
Alternatively, doctors often prescribe probiotics to their patients that suffer IBS. These beneficial, good bacteria help eliminate diarrhea or loose stools. However, over-consumption of probiotics can cause other G.I. tract problems, and should be only taken in moderation, as directed.
Stomach Acid and Stress
If the individual does not make enough quality acid in the stomach to digest food properly, it can cause significant problems to the G.I. tract. Inadequate stomach acids can cause the food to ferment, and make it more challenging to flush the partially undigested food from the body. Doctors will often perform a Heidelberg test for a proper diagnosis, to determine exactly what is happening.
In addition, doctors often take a medical history to determine if there is chronic stress happening in the body. Any amount of chronic stress can increase the level of inflammation in the G.I. tract, for an extended time and cause serious conditions including many associated with IBS symptoms. Doctors might perform a 24-hour adrenal stress test to determine the level of chronic stress in the body.
Even though irritable bowel syndrome can be a devastating and debilitating condition, it is not life threatening, or cause damage to the intestinal tract. However, it is still essential to seek out a doctor’s advice on the best ways to treat the condition.