Anyone who suffers from IBS (short for irritable bowel syndrome) can definitely tell you that dealing with it is far from a picnic. It can be painful and uncomfortable, for one thing. It can also be the sort of thing that causes a lot of embarrassment. Most people with IBS find themselves planning out their entire days and certainly any outings around their condition. They never want to be far from a bathroom for long, as they never know when their next attack might decide to make an appearance.
However, irritable bowel syndrome doesn’t have to be the end of the world despite the fact that there’s no known cure. When you get to understand the condition, you quickly learn that it is manageable with a little know-how.
What causes IBS?
In a nutshell, irritable bowel syndrome is the result of a disconnect in communication between your central nervous system and your bowels that result in the malfunction of your intestinal muscles. However, it’s important to note that IBS doesn’t have any one cause. It can come about via one or any combination of the following.
- Genetic background
- Stress or related conditions
- Hormonal changes (such as those associated with menopause)
- Food allergies or dietary problems
- Illness that causes gastroenteritis
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can vary from person to person. However, there are some symptoms that tend to remain fairly consistent from case to case.
- Excessive gassiness
- Abdominal bloating or distension
- Change in frequency or consistency of bowel movements
Generally IBS is considered to be a pretty good possibility if these symptoms occur 2-3 times per week for a period of 2 months or longer. If any of this sounds familiar, you should definitely think about speaking to your doctor about what’s going on. He or she will be able to tell you for sure whether or not you have irritable bowel syndrome and help you decide how to proceed. However, you can still manage your condition by making a few simple changes.
Dietary changes can help manage IBS.
The management of any digestive ailment, IBS included — really needs to start with dietary changes first and foremost. Most modern people could stand to be eating better anyway! Begin by taking a look at what constitutes the bulk of what you eat. Many sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome consume large amounts of white flour in various forms: pasta, bread, and so forth. Foods like these are made from grains that have the most nutritious layer completely stripped away, robbing you of the bulk of the fiber and nutrition such foods would otherwise have. Swap your refined flour items for similar items made from whole grain. Adding a proper amount of fiber to your diet can help with IBS discomfort considerably and cut down quite a bit on the frequency of attacks. Also be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Since IBS can manifest differently for everyone, many sufferers find it beneficial to start a log that helps them keep track of foods that seem to trigger attacks. Common culprits are foods that are acidic, spicy, or overly rich. High-acidity beverages like coffee or alcohol can also be problematic, so consider cutting back.
Try managing your IBS with probiotics supplements.
All-natural probiotics supplements designed to help aid digestion in a number of ways can also be very helpful when it comes to managing your IBS. They work by helping to optimize the function of your entire gastrointestinal tract to help keep discomfort and severe attacks at bay. You digest your food more easily and more thoroughly, a big help, since improper or incomplete digestion can be at the root of many IBS cases.
Don’t just settle for any old supplements assuming that they’ll do the trick though. Visit your favorite local health food store and ask for recommendations. You may also try searching the internet for consumer reviews attached to top options to get a feel for what people’s experiences were with individual options. Definitely consider making an appointment with your own regular physician and asking him or her for their suggestions as well!
Although living with IBS is never going to be a dream, it can be a lot easier when you know how to live with it, and proper management starts with research and wise lifestyle changes.