Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, affects nearly 20 percent of all adults. The symptoms of the condition can range from very mild to severe, and it can cause pain and other problems every day. IBS cannot be cured, although there are ways to eliminate or minimize the symptoms. Below is information on IBS and some of the most common remedies for the condition.
Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is a condition that affects how your large intestine works, specifically affecting the muscles that move food through your digestive system. If you have IBS, your muscles are not moving in the correct order, are contracting too tightly, or are not contracting enough. This can lead to various issues like constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and gas. Exactly what causes IBS is not currently known, although it might be related to nervous system problems, intestinal bacteria, or an irregular large intestine.
Changes to your diet can sometimes minimize or eliminate the symptoms of IBS. Pay attention to specific foods that cause severe symptoms and cut these foods out of your diet right away. Another dietary change to consider is to start eating more fiber. This can help to better regulate your digestive system and solve problems with constipation. Increase fiber slowly to ensure it does not aggravate problems such as cramping and gas. Limit how much caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol you consume. A final change that could help is to reduce or eliminate the dairy products you eat each day.
Lifestyle changes can also reduce the severity of your IBS symptoms. Exercise on a regular basis to regulate your metabolism. This can actually normalize the muscle contractions in your large intestine over time, and it also relieves stress that can make IBS worse. Start eating meals at the same time each day. Eating at the same times each day is going to help to regulate your large intestine so that contractions are less frequent. Finally, start drinking water throughout the day. Water is essential for good digestive health and can relax your bowels.
Medications are available for IBS. Some people respond well to anti-diarrheal drugs or bile acid binders like colesevelam, although these medications have unpleasant side effects. Antispasmodic drugs such as dicyclomine can actually prevent the unpredictable contractions in your large intestine that cause IBS. Some people might be prescribed antibiotics to treat IBS if harmful intestinal bacteria are present. A final possibility is an antidepressant. These medications can sometimes cause chemical changes in the brain that actually stop the signals causing the intestinal contractions. A drug called lubiprostone has been developed specifically for IBS, although it is available only for adult women who suffer exclusively from constipation.
Although the research is not conclusive, some people report that certain alternative remedies have helped with IBS. These remedies include acupuncture, yoga, and taking herbs such as peppermint. Hypnosis has been reportedly used to relieve the pain of IBS and some of the contractions. Another alternative option is to take probiotic supplements that might help to rebalance intestinal bacteria and minimize IBS symptoms.
Featured Image: DepositPhotos/ RawpixelPosted on May 5, 2023