Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the common health problems affecting people from all across the globe. There is need to solve this ailment in time so as to avoid further complications that could arise as a result of delayed treatment. It’s recommendable to seek professional medical health care immediately you experience any persistent change in your bowel habits. These symptoms can be an indication of other problems such as infections or even colon cancer.
Symptoms: Some of the common symptoms include bloated feeling, mucus in the stool, cramps or abdominal pains, flatulence (gas), Diarrhoea and constipation. In a severe case, the symptoms do not respond well to medical treatment hence it’s very wise to seek medical advice as soon as possible so as to avoid aggravating the issue. In addition, timely treatment will help enhance your chances of recovering completely from the problem.
Causes: There is a number of prevailing factors that are known to cause this ailment. All of them are based on the fact that intestine walls are lined with a layer of muscles that contract and relax as they move food from the stomach to the rectum. Irritable Bowel syndrome affects this muscles in that its makes the contractions last longer and this leads to abdominal pains. Due to the slow movement of food in the intestines, the stool becomes very hard and dry. In addition, any changes in your nervous system may cause discomfort that can negatively affect your daily activities. Some of the closely linked causes of this problem include:
Stress- Stress does not cause this ailment but it has the capacity to increase the magnitude of the symptoms and this will in turn complicate your performance at home or at your work place.
Foods- This includes foods that can cause constipation or diarrhoea if consumed in large quantities. Some fruits and carbonated beverages are known to cause constipation due to some of the ingredients that are used in their production. If the body is unable to tolerate the high sugar content is foods such as dairy products or caffeine, you are more likely to experience bloating or cramps.
Hormones- An intensive research that was recently carried out showed that women are more likely to experience IBS than men due to their hormones. Hormonal changes especially during the menstrual periods can worsen the symptoms.
Treatment: Mild symptoms can be effectively cured by controlling your stress levels or by changing your diet. Some of the well known treatments that can help solve this problem include:
Anti-diarrhea Medicines- There is a number of medicines that are specifically formulated to help solve diarrhoea related complications. Most of them are available over the counter but it’s recommendable to seek professional advice from your doctor before using a particular drug.
Avoid High Gas Foods- This includes foods that cause bloating such as carbonated beverages, raw fruits, some vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.
Fibre Supplements- Lack of enough fibres in the body prevents complete digestion of foods and can lead to constipation. Fibre supplements will help avoid such problems by ensuring that digestion occurs correctly. Example of some supplements in this category includes psyllium and methylcellulose.
Anti- Depressants- This refers to medicines that help to relieve and control stress and depression. They help in ensuring that your nervous system health remains optimal so as to avoid digestion related problems that can lead to IBS. In most cases, if you experience abdominal pains or diarrhoea without depression, you doctor may recommend a lower dose of antidepressants. Some of the side effects that might be experienced after use of these drugs include drowsiness and constipation.
Antibiotics: This are normally administered if the problem is linked to intestinal infections or an over growth of bacteria in the intestines. The antibiotics help to decrease the population of bacteria in the intestines and cure the infection so as to avoid further complications.
Counselling: Counselling helps to relieve stress especially if the medications fail to cure the problem completely. A professional counsellor who has vast experience in handling such cases can provide you with information on how to relieve depression and stress safely.
Alternative Medicines: This includes therapies that have being proven to be very effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome.
Exercises- Physical exercises such as Yoga, meditation, gym or a massage can help to reduce depression and stress.
Hypnosis- This helps to relieve certain symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pains. A professional in this field will help relax your mind and guide you through the process of relaxing your abdominal muscles.
Herbs- There is a number of natural herbs such as peppermint that are very effective in ensuring that the intestinal muscles function optimally. Before taking any herbal medicines, seek professional advice so as to avoid complications that may arise after usage. It’s also important to note that some herbs might compromise and interfere with other medications.
Pro-biotic-This refers to a beneficial bacterium that is normally found in certain dairy products such yogurt. Studies shows that persons who suffer from IBS have a low population of the bacteria hence incorporating foods that contain this bacteria helps to relieve the symptoms.
Acupuncture- Acupuncture helps to significantly relax the muscles and improve the manner in which intestines move food from the stomach to the rectum. It can also help to eliminate abdominal muscles cramping.
Prevention: Prevention is better than cure hence it is recommendable to take the necessary measures in order to cushion yourself from this problem. Some of the activities that can help in achieving this include:
Relaxation Exercises- This will help ensure that all your body muscles operate normally. Be sure to start with exercises that require minimal energy before progressing to the intensive exercises so as to give your body enough time to get acquainted to the activity.
Control Stress- Exercises, counseling and deep breathing can help control or prevent stress. This will in turn ensure that digestion occurs normally.
Be sure to only seek irritable bowel syndrome treatment from an accredited health care service provider so as to get a comprehensive treatment that will solve the problem and prevent it from recurring in future.