Have you seen the movie, Along Came Polly? Can you remember the scene where Ben Stiller was sweating profusely while trying to hold his bowels? It turns out that eating Indian food triggers his irritable bowel syndrome, hence the sudden urge to poop.
The scene may be funny but the truth is, irritable bowel syndrome is a serious issue. Once you have it, you can never get rid of it. The good news is, there are ways to help you manage this condition.
Stick around and learn everything you need to know about IBS, plus the irritable bowel syndrome treatment options available for you.
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Why It’s a Big Deal for So Many People Today
First, what is irritable bowel syndrome? Before you choose the right treatment, you need to understand what this condition is.
Also known as IBS, this condition is the most common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine and causes abdominal pain, cramping, and gas among others. It is also a chronic condition that affects around 25 to 45 million in the United States alone. Worldwide, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the population has IBS, commonly affecting individuals below 50 years old.
Just like any other condition, irritable bowel syndrome can range from mild to severe. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure: it could affect your social, emotional, and even professional life.
Don’t worry. Read further to learn more about the remedies available and find out the best IBS treatment for you. Before you go there, head to the next section to find out the symptoms of this condition.
2. The Cast of Characters behind the Dreaded IBS Condition
How will you know if you have IBS? You must experience any of the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Mucus in the stool
- Diarrhea or constipation, or at times alternating bouts of both
Some of the irritable bowel syndrome symptoms that signify a more serious condition include:
- Weight loss
- Rectal bleeding
- Progressing abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain that happens at night
Keep in mind that the symptoms vary from person-to-person. Nonetheless, the presence of these symptoms will most likely tell you that you have IBS. If you noticed persistent changes in your bowel movements, then it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible.
3. Who to Blame: Find Out the Culprits behind Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Here’s the truth about IBS: the exact cause is still unknown. Experts have yet to identify the causes responsible for this disease. On the other hand, here are some of the common culprits that must’ve contributed for this condition:
- Food intolerance
- Emotional stress
- Heartburn medications
- Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs
- Treatments for bone density
- Calcium channel blockers
- Gastrointestinal nervous system abnormalities
- Poor diet
- Weak intestinal contractions
Here’s the good news: even if you can’t treat irritable bowel syndrome and make it go away completely, there are ways available to help you manage it. Keep reading to find out the different treatments available plus some home remedies for irritable bowel syndrome, starting with lifestyle changes.
4. The Proven and Amazing Benefits of Exercise as an Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment
You think that exercise is only meant to make you slimmer and help you get rid of excess weight. Apparently, regular physical activity could do more than just that.
Did you know that you can also alleviate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms through exercise?
One of the best ways in treating irritable bowel syndrome is through healthy lifestyle changes. This includes regular physical activities.
IBS can be problematic and cause you to live a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise stimulates normal contractions of your intestines, manages your stress levels to minimize abdominal pain, and helps you improve your overall well-being. If constipation is an issue, exercise can also help things moving in your gastrointestinal tract and makes it easier for you to pass stools.
Choose an exercise you are comfortable with, especially if it’s been a while since you last worked out. If you don’t know where to start, here are some exercise ideas you can try:
- Breathing exercises
- Aerobic exercises like walking or biking
- Tai chi
Make sure to make exercise a regular habit and choose a workout that fits your lifestyle. Eventually, introduce a new routine to encourage you to keep going.
5. Learn to Manage Stress and Stop IBS from Ruining Your System
One of the main culprits that cause this condition is stress. If you notice, you tend to visit the bathroom more often when you are under stressful situations.
What should you do?
Do your best to keep stress levels at its minimum. This is because stress releases certain hormones that trigger abdominal pain, one of the most common symptoms of this condition. At the same time, it could worsen IBS symptoms, which is something you don’t want to happen.
Don’t worry. You can still manage IBS even when under stress. Here are some ideas on how to do it:
- Practice relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or deep breathing.
- Identify your stressors and learn how to manage them.
- Go for massage therapy or acupuncture treatments.
- Consider creative outlets such as music and art.
- Reconnect with your old hobby or find something new to do.
- Try psychological therapy.
The bottom line is before you address IBS, try focusing on lowering your stress levels as well. You might be surprised how less problematic this condition can be simply by eliminating stress in your system.
6. Dear Diary: A List of Everything That Goes Inside Your Body
You will read countless articles about how to manage this disease and the things you can do to prevent it from coming back. Apparently, your IBS triggers differ from the other patients.
This is where symptoms diary comes in. A symptoms diary is where you keep track of everything you eat or drink. At the same time, you indicate any IBS symptoms that happen during the day after eating or doing a particular activity.
Why should you keep one?
The good thing about having symptoms diary is that it is easier for you to see and identify your IBS triggers and avoid them in the future. At the same time, your doctor can simply scan on your diary and make it easier for him to recommend medications and get you treated since he is presented with accurate information.
You’re just getting started. Stick around because there are more tips you should for IBS treatment that you surely don’t want to miss. This includes making dietary changes to minimize IBS.
7. Say Hello and Enjoy the Many Benefits of Fiber in Managing IBS
Just like exercise, fiber, particularly soluble fiber, is among the best cure for this condition. Soluble fiber absorbs excess liquid in your colon and adds bulk to prevent diarrhea. It regulates and soothes your digestive tract to make it easier for you to pass stools, thereby preventing constipation. Apart from this, soluble fiber stabilizes your intestinal contractions to normalize your bowel function.
In other words, soluble fiber is one of the key ingredients against IBS.
Here are some of the foods you should add in your irritable bowel syndrome diet plan:
Make sure you add these foods in your grocery list for relief against IBS. Consequently, don’t forget to read the next section to find out the foods you should avoid to manage the symptoms of this condition. If it helps, you can consider getting fiber supplements like psyllium.
8. Don’t Hate, Just Eliminate: Stay Away from These Foods to Make Sure IBS Symptoms Won’t Haunt You
If there are foods that are safe for IBS patients, then there are also foods you cannot eat.
Take the case of gluten. It can cause damage to your small intestine and leads to malabsorption of important nutrients, a condition called Celiac Disease. Gas-producing foods are also a big no-no since they could create pain and discomfort in your abdominal area.
There is also a food concept called FODMAP, which is a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly-absorbed by your small intestine and fermented rapidly by the bacteria in your gut. Here are some of the foods you should eliminate from your diet:
- Fruits with sorbitol:
- Vegetables that contain sugar like:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Starchy foods
- Milk and dairy products
- Oats and all oat products
- Carbonated drinks
- Processed meat
Is it still hard to seek irritable bowel syndrome treatment the natural way? Definitely not. It may be challenging as to what should be included in your diet, which is why it is important to have a food diary to help you determine what your trigger foods are.
9. What’s In a Cup: Drinks Your Body Needs and Stay Away From if You Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Apart from food, what you drink could also spell a difference in whether or not you will experience IBS.
Check out the drinks you should avoid to minimize the symptoms from paying a visit:
- Drinks with fructose or high-fructose corn syrup
- Sugar-free drinks with artificial sweeteners
Don’t worry. There are still options available for your drinks. If you want to add more flavor to your usual water, then here are some of your safest choices:
- Fresh fruit juices with no sugar
- Vegetables juices made from veggies that are low in FODMAP
- Herbal tea
- Decaffeinated coffee
- Decaf or weak caffeinated tea
- Ginger drinks
- Milk that are free from dairy
Is treating irritable bowel syndrome all about knowing and avoiding your trigger foods? Of course not. The succeeding sections will tell you about the other treatments available to make this condition more manageable.
10. 2 Newly-Discovered Medications Specifically Formulated for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Yes, you read that right. Finally, there are medications available that are specially-formulated to treat, or at least provide treatment against the symptoms of IBS.
Say hello to Alosetron and Lubiprostone for IBS:
- Alosetron for IBS: If you need something to relax your colon, then this irritable bowel syndrome medication can be helpful. Alosetron relaxes your colon and slows the movement of your wastes through the lower bowel.
Despite its good intentions, not all IBS patients are good candidates for this medication. It is only prescribed by doctors and helpful for patients with severe cases of diarrhea-predominant IBS. This medication is also not recommended for men and can only be resorted to when all the other treatments failed.
- Lubiprostone for IBS: If severe constipation is an issue, then this medication is recommended. It increases fluid secretion in your small intestines to make the passage of stool easier.
Here’s the catch: it comes with side effects like abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. It is also not recommended for men and can only be prescribed in you are suffering severely from IBS and constipation.
Make sure to talk to your doctor and discuss about these medications. You can also try the medications you will learn about in the next section.
11. Other Helpful Medications that Provide Relief Against this Gastrointestinal Condition
If you want to stay on the safe side, there are medications available that offer relief against irritable bowel syndrome.
- Antidepressants – Tricyclic antidepressants, which are recommended if you don’t have depression issues or SSRI are helpful in treating both depression and the activity of neurons that control your intestines.
- Anti-Diarrheal Medications – This type of medication like loperamide and colestipol helps control diarrhea, although this could lead to bloating.
- Antispasmodic and Anticholinergic Medications – This offers relief against painful bowel spasms and in case you have bouts of diarrhea. Apparently, it could worsen constipation and could cause difficulty in urinating.
- Antibiotics – IBS can be a result of an overgrowth of bacteria in your intestines. Antibiotics such as rifaximin are helpful against the symptoms of diarrhea, although more studies are needed to prove its effectiveness. You can also take antibiotics for ulcerative colitis treatment, but make sure to ask your doctor about the most appropriate medication for you.
If you want something safer, then try Digestive Science IBS Relief System. It provides relief against various gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation, diarrhea, irregular bowel movements, and stomach pain among others.
12. Say Hello to the Newest IBS Medications in Town
You were acquainted with the two approved medications for IBS. Did you know that there are other medications made and formulated to address this condition?
Here are the other medications you can ask your doctor about to stop IBS symptoms from coming back:
- Rifaximin – This antibiotic specifically treats IBS with diarrhea by altering or reducing bacteria in the gut. As a result, it reduces bloating and diarrhea; hence the relief.
- Eluxadoline – This new drug activates receptors in your nervous system to minimize bowel contractions while reducing abdominal pain and improving the consistency of your stools.
- Linaclotide – If you want something that blocks the pain signals in your intestines, then this medication could work. It also increases the movements of contents through your gastrointestinal tract to prevent constipation.
There are few more drugs being studies, but so far, what were enumerated were the ones who got the green light from the FDA.
13. Get to Know the Amazing Benefits of Acupuncture as an IBS Treatment
Acupuncture is a type of alternative medicine that balances and improves the flow of chi to restore your health.
How can it help and how is acupuncture related to IBS?
Acupuncture helps provide relief by addressing stress and IBS-related problems like insomnia, anxiety, and nervousness. It also offers relief against abdominal pain and other irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
Still, remember this: acupuncture is not for everyone. Pregnant, diabetes, uncontrolled bleeding disorder, and other forms of implants are not recommended to try acupuncture.
Don’t worry. You can still try this next technique.
14. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: An Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment Worth Trying
According to experts, there is a condition called GI symptom-specific anxiety wherein you only experience anxiety in relation to gastrointestinal sensations or events like mealtime, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. If you feel anxious and worried about GI symptoms, then you should know that there is a solution to this problem: cognitive behavioral therapy.
This form of irritable bowel syndrome therapy aims to help you change your habitual feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in relation to IBS. This employs a series of self-exploration exercises and stress-reducing strategies to change your mood against GI-related events.
It is normal to feel skeptic about it, but believe it or not, psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy can help in reducing the symptoms of IBS.
You can also try this other technique, which will be discussed in detail in the next section.
15. The Amazing Benefits of Hypnosis as a Means to Treat IBS
First, get to know hypnotherapy better.
Hypnotherapy is a type of modern, progressive relaxation through the use of soothing imagery and sensations that are focused on your symptoms. This means hypnosis can provide relief against IBS symptoms, which makes it among the favorite treatments to improve the symptoms of IBS.
Don’t get too excited. Hypnotherapy could work, but as much as 25 percent of patients are unable to respond. In case it worked for you, make sure you combine this strategy with other conventional approaches to make sure you get relief against irritable bowel syndrome.
Hypnotherapy can be time-consuming and heavy on the pocket. That is why it is important to choose your hypnotherapist carefully by making sure that he is a licensed health professional and with formal training and experience in clinical hypnosis.
16. Dramatically Improve the Symptoms of IBS with the Help of Psychotherapy
Are you looking for long-term relief against IBS? You should consider psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy is a type of therapy that aims to facilitate change in order to improve the quality of life. This also includes confronting barriers that interfere with your emotional and mental well-being in order to increase positive feelings.
How does psychotherapy help against IBS?
Keep in mind that irritable bowel syndrome disrupts the activity of your large intestines. This could cause various symptoms that would make you feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. Oftentimes, it could lead to sex.
Through psychotherapy, you are able to discuss and voice out your concerns and at the same time, finding solutions to your gastrointestinal issues. You are able to address stress and reduce anxiety, which is taking a toll in your life. The results may not be instant and it will take a few more sessions before you are able to overcome the symptoms for this gastrointestinal condition.
The Bottom Line
Managing irritable bowel syndrome may be challenging. The key here is to identify what your triggers are and make sure to stick to it. Don’t forget to choose among the irritable bowel syndrome treatment options as part of your daily routine.
It takes time, patience, and a lot of effort but you will eventually overcome this condition. Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it.