IBS, or Irritable Bowl Syndrome is a chronic intestinal disorder that has multiple symptoms of indigestion, gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and overall pain. These symptoms can appear together or separately with IBS, in no particular order or pattern.
The symptoms can vary from person to person and the severity can be different in individuals as well. IBS can be a real nuisance as well as being painful, but it doesn’t lead to other diseases or complications.
It is difficult to diagnose specifically by the doctor, and the best way to decide if you have IBS is to eliminate other issues.
Other conditions that can be mistaken for IBS are Celiac disease, overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, colitis, Crohn’s disease, parasites, and other bowel diseases.
Although stress does not cause IBS, it can really aggravate it. For some reason our bowels are linked to our nerve center that controls stress. It may be related to our defense mechanisms related to the fight or flight syndrome, but stress does affect the condition.
The foods that we eat also affect IBS. Spicy foods, greasy foods, eating too much at one time, eating too fast, can all have the effect of making IBS worse. It seems that if the digestive system is overloaded, it adversely affects the symptoms from IBS.
Sometimes a doctor will advise you to add fiber to your diet, and you should be aware of the type of fiber that works best. There is a difference between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber will dissolve in water and is smoother and easier on the intestines when it passes through, and this is the type of fiber that works the best if you have IBS.
Soluble fiber gets transformed into a gel when mixed with water and slows down the food as it moves through the digestive process, making it easier. Foods such as oats, barley, psyllium husks, beans, peas, some fruits and vegetables, and bananas.
Insoluble fiber ads bulk to the stool and causes it to pass through the intestines more quickly. Forms of insoluble fiber includes corn, wheat, nuts, skins of fruits and vegetables, like apple skins.
Get off of dairy and eat yogurt. Yogurt has good properties such as probiotics, which are the good bacteria that you need to help digestion, and it is soothing to the digestive process. If you have to have milk, get skim milk, or use lactose removal enzymes if you are lactose intolerant.
Drink plenty of water to flush things on through, which keeps you from becoming constipated. Drink distilled water only, at least 6 to 8 full glasses, because chlorine, fluoride and other additives can irritate the bowl. Our bodies distill everything we drink anyway through the kidneys, so we might as well save the kidneys the trouble. Just be sure to take a good supplement with good mineral content with distilled water.
Your doctor might give you medication to help with your IBS. You might be prescribed laxatives for constipation, and your doctor can help you to find the right one for you. Diarrhea can be treated with Loperamide, also known as Imodium. Muscle spasms in the intestines which cause abdominal pain can be treated with antispasmodic medications. Antidepressants in lower doses can help relieve the anxiety that often accompanies IBS.
Probiotics are the live microorganisms that live in out gut and promote the healthy digestion of our foods. IBS has been helped greatly by the addition of these bacteria to our diets through capsules, supplements, and yogurt.
Your diet can have a lot to do with how your digestion reacts if you have sensitivity in your digestive system.
Avoid eating large meals at one sitting, because this overloads the digestive system, and can cause all of the symptoms of IBS. Eat smaller meals, more times during the day.
Stay away from high fat foods, stay away from sugary drinks and sodas, spicy foods, and heavy meat diets, as meat is harder to digest. Chicken and fish are lighter and easier on the digestion.
Avoid coffee and other caffeine drinks, alcohol, chocolate, and sugar free sweeteners. Avoid foods that help to produce gas like beans, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Don’t chew gum or drink liquids through a straw, as these practices help to product gas because of the air that you swallow.
Get plenty of exercise. If you sit around a lot, get up and take a walk. Exercise helps you feel better mentally and helps to stimulate more normal contractions of the intestines and bowels. Start slowly if you have been inactive for a while, and walking is a good way to start.
Eat foods that are more bland such as chicken, rice, mashed potatoes, without heavy gravy. Vegetables such as green peas, sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, winter squash, and parsnips are good. Fruits such as oranges, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas are excellent.
You want to have foods that are easy to digest and are easily moved through the intestines. If foods move too fast, like insoluble vegetables, that is when a lot of the irritation seems to occur.
Once you find recipes that provide the best digestive results, stick to those types of foods. You can go online and search for IBS diets and come up with a lot of good ideas. Just be sure to go easy on the fiber at first, and add it gradually.