What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, commonly referred to as IBS, has become very common in North America as the typical diet is out of balance and foods have lost much of their nutrition. This disease causes the GI tract to become irritated and the result is usually irregular bowel movements accompanied by discomfort.

Sufferers report bloating and pain, gas, constipation, and diarrhea: not necessarily all of these and maybe not all at the same time, but a combination which leads to almost daily discomfort and embarrassment.

Chronic Problem

Once you develop IBS, it is possible you will always have it. The trouble is that IBS mimics other diseases like Crohn’s. Knowing which you have is a serious issue a doctor should get to the bottom of after you have eliminated possible food intolerances by taking part in an elimination diet. Typical triggers include wheat, alcohol, caffeine, and dairy.

There is a silver lining: you probably are not developing cancer or more severe problems as a result of IBS and symptoms are usually manageable. It can be painful, but not life-threatening.

Signs of IBS

How do you know you probably have IBS? Typical signs include regularly feeling bloated, a sensation which causes sharp abdominal pain but which is relieved by passing gas or constipated stools accompanied by mucus. Cramps and nausea regularly give way to loose stools. Don’t worry as long as you don’t have a fever or blood in your stools and you aren’t dehydrated.

Managing IBS

Furthermore, with help from a doctor, nutritionist, and counselor, you can stay on top of the problem. A stress-filled life frequently leads to problems in the GI tract, so assess your lifestyle and potential conflicts. Could you eliminate or address any of the current stressors in your life to reduce physical symptoms of stress? Perhaps talking with a counselor will help you to deal with emotional stressors from past or present.

Medication might be needed but most people would rather not take expensive meds, especially if they will have to be on them for the rest of their lives in order to manage. It’s better to find out if dietary changes and exercise can help. Some holistic health providers recommend adding yoga to a daily routine of fitness because twisting and bending moves naturally stimulate the bowel and release gas.

There are good days and bad days. Women often discover their IBS is worse during their periods. Everyone is different, though, so don’t assume what works for a co-worker will work for you too. Certain changes to diet are good for everyone, however, such as cutting back on processed, refined, and rich or greasy foods. Get more sleep. Keep your immune system in good health by eating a diet full of nutritionally dense foods and reduce your intake of sugar.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Rate this post

Jana Evans

Janet Evans is our resident Health Nut and aspiring chef. She can shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's with her eyes closed.