IBS, or Irritable bowel syndrome affects the colon, or large intestine. It causes symptoms such as cramping, bloating, constipation, pain, diarrhea, and gas. There may also be feelings of incomplete evacuation of the bowel, and oddly enough a feeling of constipation, or fullness.The muscles in the bowel will tend to contract incontrollable, pushing food through the bowel too rapidly, causing diarrhea, and in other cases, too slowly, causing a dry, hard stool.
IBS is uncomfortable, but it is not fatal, nor will it cause inflammation or permanent harm to the colon. It is also sometimes inconvenient because the timing of flare-ups is not always controllable and can be embarrassing.
Just imaging you are getting ready for an important meeting for your job, and you suddenly have an attack of IBS, so you run for the bathroom and you just barely make it, this time.
There is always the possibility of having a situation where you are always on the edge, wondering when the next attack will occur, putting at a severe disadvantage of not knowing how to deal with such an unpredictable schedule.
IBS is not a psychological situation, it is better classified as a functional disorder, and it has been shown that IBS is stimulated by stress. The symptoms are real enough, but there is no one true cause that can be traced to a physical reason for it happening.
This very frustrating too, as people are always looking for a cause for a disease, because then there is the possibility of finding a cure for it. This is one thing that makes IBS such a frustrating condition. The very fact that there are probably psychological triggers further complicate not only the experience of the condition, but the treatment as well.
Different stimuli may trigger the condition of IBS in different people. Bloating or gas may be causative in one person, while certain foods or conditions may cause it to manifest in another.
Once again, stress does seem to trigger the condition and make it worse, and once the stress factor is removed, the symptoms from the IBS tend to subside.
If a person is calmer, the IBS symptoms tend to go away. So there is obvious something to do with the nerves in the area that when they are stimulated, they tend to cause muscle contractions that are out of the ordinary.
Another condition that sometimes co-exists with IBS is GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. The fact that the two conditions will sometimes co-exist, gives rise to the theory that there may be some common triggers for both situations.
GERD is caused by stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid being regurgitated back up into the esophagus because a little valve between the esophagus and the stomach does not close properly.
This in turn can cause severe issues as sometimes the stomach acid can get pushed as far up as the mid chest area and this causes feelings of pain and discomfort into the chest and shoulder areas. Of course this stress could possibly trigger IBS, so that could be a connection.
One remedy for GERD is to take an antiacid prior to eating, and being sure to eat bland foods. That doesn’t always help, but it is a start. Much of the time, GERD and IBS can both be calmed down by diet and getting into a non-stress condition.
Dietary modification can be a great help for GERD and losing weight, stopping smoking, and cutting down on the consumption of alcohol can be very helpful in curtailing the symptoms of GERD. Stress reduction exercises such as yoga, deep breathing exercises and meditation can also be helpful.
Antacids such as TUMS and Rolaids can be very helpful for milder acid reflux, and for IBS antispasmodic Levsin or Bentyl medications can be very helpful.
One item that seems to calm both GERD and IBS is Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is a plant that has thick green leaves that when broken apart, secret a clear, gel.
This gel can be made into a juice that will heal burns, sores, and has been found to sooth our insides. It seems to have a soothing effect on the tissues and calms things down in such a way that there is not as much stress in the area.