Stomach cramps, an urgent need to go to the bathroom, bloating and gas. If you feel these uncomfortable symptoms often, you might be dealing with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Millions of people are struggling with IBS and it affects the quality of your life.
You might even be nervous about leaving your home unless you know that a bathroom is going to be available. In many cases, irritable bowel syndrome can be controlled by dietary changes like incorporating yogurt into your diet. Read on to learn more about IBS and how your diet affects it.
What Is IBS?
IBS is a chronic disease that affects millions of people. It affects your colon and causes it to either contract more or less than it should.
In both cases, you experience bloating, gas and pain. Researchers don’t know what causes IBS and the disease doesn’t have a cure. It is chronic and can only be managed, not cured.
What Are The Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
IBS has many symptoms. The most common symptom of IBS is abdominal pain and cramping. You might have the sensation of needing to have a bowel movement and the cramping can be painful. Many people also feel bloated.
You feel like your stomach is distended. Passing gas is common and you may experience both diarrhea and constipation. Many people also have mucus in their stool. These symptoms may make you feel constantly miserable and you may feel the need to be always near a bathroom.
What Causes IBS?
No one is exactly sure what causes IBS, but medical researchers feel that it has something to do with the way your colon contracts.
Most people experience rhythmic contractions that are coordinated, but people with IBS experience contractions that are all over the place.
Your colon contractions might be strong one day which leads to diarrhea and gas. The next day your colon contractions might be weak or non-existent and you end up with constipation and cramping. Unfortunately, there is no way to control these colon contractions yet so there is no cure.
What Are The Triggers For IBS?
Most people with IBS experience certain triggers that seem to make their symptoms flare up. Food is a big trigger for many people. If you eat certain foods, you may find that your symptoms get worse. Common trigger foods include alcohol, soda, spicy and fatty foods, and chocolate. Certain fruits and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, beans and cabbage may also affect you.
Stress is another big trigger for IBS. When you are stressed out, you will notice that your symptoms are much worse. It is important to try to stay as stress free as possible if you have IBS. Women are at a higher risk for IBS and many women find that their symptoms get worse around their periods.
What Are The Best Self Treatments For IBS?
Many people are able to get their IBS symptoms under control by making lifestyle changes. Some basic rules of thumb include managing your stress levels and diet.
You also want to get enough sleep each night, exercise on a regular basis and drink plenty of water.
You first want to determine what your trigger foods are. Keeping a food diary can be helpful in this regard. Write down everything you eat for a week and see how it affects your symptoms. Foods that cause symptoms should be removed from your diet.
Foods that cause gas build up should be eliminated from your diet. Consider cutting out broccoli, cauliflower and carbonated drinks from your diet. Many people find that gluten foods like bread and wheat products make their symptoms worse.
Some foods help your symptoms. Yogurt and probiotic supplements can help get your symptoms under control. Yogurt is full of beneficial bacteria that can help to calm and regulate your colon. Fiber can also be helpful because it can help prevent constipation. Taking a fiber supplement is probably the best way to get your fiber because high fiber foods can cause gas and bloating.
Should You See A Doctor?
In many cases, vigilant home treatment is enough to keep the disease under control. However, some symptoms are more serious and require a doctor visit. If you experience rectal bleeding or weight loss, it is crucial to see a doctor.
You should also make an appointment to see your doctor if your abdominal pain happens at night and continues to get worse.
While IBS doesn’t have a cure, you can get it under control with a wise mix of home treatments and lifestyle changes. Take control of irritable bowel syndrome and make the necessary changes in your life.