Your digestive health plays a big role in how you feel. When your digestive system is functioning like it should you feel healthy and well, but when it isn’t, you feel sluggish and not yourself. Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disease that affects millions of people. It causes gas, bloating, pain, constipation and diarrhea. There is no cure for it, but you can manage your symptoms by eating the right food. Read on to learn more about IBS.
What Are The Symptoms Of IBS?
One of the main symptoms of IBS is abdominal pain. You feel like you are cramping all the time, especially after you eat a meal. You may feel chronically bloated and pass gas constantly which can contribute to anxiety and depression.
Should You See A Doctor?
Any time you have dramatic changes to your bowel system, you should see a doctor just to rule out anything more serious than IBS. Sometimes changes to your bowel habits can be the symptom of colon cancer, so you want to rule that out ASAP. Other colon cancer symptoms include weight loss, severe abdominal pain and rectal bleeding. Aside from ruling out cancer, your doctor can show you ways to cope with your IBS so it doesn’t have as much of an impact on your life.
What Causes IBS?
The causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unclear. Some researchers believe that it has something to do with a mix up between your brain and your gut. The signals your brain sends to your digestive system get jumbled, so your colon contracts when it isn’t supposed to causing pain and diarrhea. The mixed signals may also cause your colon to stop contracting at all, causing constipation.
What Are The Triggers Of IBS?
IBS has many triggers, including food and emotional triggers. Food is a big trigger and things like alcohol, dark chocolate, fatty and spicy foods and dairy can cause symptoms in some people. Stress is another big trigger for irritable bowel syndrome.
Patients report that their symptoms increase when they are stressed or anxious. When it comes to IBS and women, hormones may cause IBS to flare up and many women find it gets worse around their period.
What Foods Should You Avoid?
If you have IBS, you will want to avoid foods that contain lots of insoluble fiber and foods that cause gas. Stay away from anything carbonated. You will also want to avoid cabbage and broccoli. Gluten is a problem for many people and you might need to avoid bread. Dark chocolate, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods and fatty foods may all cause symptoms. You will also want to avoid any food that is processed.
Will Keeping A Food Diary Help?
One of the best things you can do if you have IBS is keep a food diary. This is hands down the best way to keep track of your symptoms. Your food diary will be your best source of information about how the foods you eat affect your symptoms. Write down everything you eat and write down the time that you eat it. If you have any symptoms, write those down and make note of the time.
Eventually, a pattern will emerge that will show you what foods to avoid and what foods are safe. Once you know your trigger foods, you can start managing your condition.
What Else Can You Do To Manage Your IBS?
If you have IBS, you don’t want to overeat. Eating meals that are too big are an invitation for IBS to start up. You don’t want to overload your stomach. Eat slowly and think about what you are doing as you eat. Chew your food completely and try to relax.
You will also want to stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day will help counteract any dehydrating effects of diarrhea and help you avoid constipation. Don’t drink carbonated beverages because they can make your gas worse and cause cramping.
Do Probiotics Help IBS?
Some researchers feel that taking probiotics or eating yogurt can help you manage your IBS symptoms. Probiotics contain helpful bacteria that can help you regulate your gut and stop cramping and gas. Dairy is a trigger food for some people, even the dairy that is found in yogurt. If your symptoms get worse when you eat yogurt, you can take probiotics in pill form without the need for dairy.
You can manage your IBS by eating the right foods and knowing what your problem foods are. Try to avoid stress and make sure that you eat a healthy diet. IBS doesn’t have to ruin your life.