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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments

Is lactose intolerance causing your IBS?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on March 13th, 2008

Many people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS syndrome) have problems digesting milk sugar, better known as lactose.  Lactose intolerance occurs when there is insufficient lactase in the small intestine.

Lactase is responsible for breaking down lactose so it can be properly absorbed into the bloodstream.  When not enough lactase exists, the undigested lactose can ferment in the large intestine, which can lead to the unpleasant symptoms of:
• nausea
• bloating
• cramps
• flatulence
• diarrhea

These symptoms usually present themselves between 30 minutes – 2 hours following ingestion of lactose.  Symptoms will vary depending on how intolerant one’s system is to lactose.

As you can see, the above symptoms closely mirror those related to IBS.  Therefore, discovering whether or not lactose intolerance is a contributing factor to the symptoms an IBS sufferer experiences, can be difficult to determine without the proper diagnosis.

One of the ways an IBS sufferer can self-determine if they have lactose intolerance is to begin a lactose elimination diet.  In other words, ingest a lactose product and monitor if you have a reaction within 30 minutes - 2 hours after eating it.  If you do, eliminate this item from your diet and try ingesting something else that contains less lactose.  Continue eliminating until you no longer have symptoms.

Unfortunately, the problem with an elimination diet is that lactose isn’t only in dairy products.  It also exists in small amounts in baked goods, certain breads, cookies, dry cereal, breakfast drinks and instant soups.  In addition, lactose is often used for filler or to increase the bulk of capsules and tablets.

The following are a list of lactose ingredient names to look for on food packages: lactose, whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, and nonfat dry milk powder. Also, make sure you ask the pharmacist if any of the medication you are taking contains lactose.

If you have been diagnosed with IBS, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about taking a hydrogen breath test to determine whether or not you have lactose malabsoprtion.  This is the best way for you to determine what course of action you should take.  After all, if you don’t suffer from lactose intolerance, eating a lactose-free diet isn’t going to help the symptoms you are experiencing.  Plus, foods that contain lactose are usually high in calcium and are an important part of a healthy diet.

If the lactose breath test is negative, your doctor may want to run other tests to rule out other dietary factors you may be allergic too.

If a hydrogen breath tests proves that you are lactose intolerant, the best treatment is to completely eliminate all lactose products from your diet.  Due to the fact that this means eliminating many dairy products from your diet, you will need to find other ways to provide your body with the calcium it needs to remain strong and healthy.

The following are a list of food sources that are high in calcium and contain no lactose:

• Fortified soymilk
• Canned salmon
• Canned tuna
• Sardines with edible bones
• Raw broccoli
• Lettuce greens
• Orange
• Pinto beans

There are other foods high in calcium without lactose such as spinach, swiss chard and rhubarb, but they also contain oxalates which block the absorption of calcium so they are counter productive.

Recent research finds that yogurt with active cultures are a good sources of calcium event though it contains lactose.  The reason why yogurt appears not to cause problems is because the bacterial culture produces some of the lactase enzyme that is necessary for proper digestion.

Calcium supplements may also be necessary in order to meet the daily requirements.  Talk to your doctor about treatment for IBS Syndrome.

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The Signs and Symptom for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on February 14th, 2008

You may find many people experiencing a symptom for irritable bowel syndrome feel depressed about it.  Although IBS is considered a “syndrome” meaning that there are a number of signs and symptoms that characterize the condition, many people can suffer with some of the same signs and symptoms and not have IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition, which can reduce quality of life.  It can effect people both physically and psychologically, and dictate many of ways someone has to conduct their life as the symptoms can be sudden.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder of the lower digestive tract that is characterized by a mixture of symptoms. The symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome may differ from person to person. However the main symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and abnormal bowel habits such as diarrhea and constipation.

It has been observed that any one symptom typically predominates in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

Many patients’ report of diarrhea being the chief complaint during an irritable bowel attack. Such patients feel a strong need to relieve themselves many times throughout the day and they pass loose, watery stools.

Patients suffering from constipation may have fewer than three bowel movements a week. Some patients of irritable bowel syndrome experience alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation. Some patients feel as if they are not able to void completely. They may also experience bloating and pass excessive amounts of gas.

The majority of patients never bother to seek help from a doctor and simply endure their symptoms. Some others feel reluctant to leave home during an attack because of pain or the urgency to have bowel movement.

In people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, the muscles of the bowel wall go into spasm. In a normal person, regular contractions of the muscles in the wall of the digestive track propel the contents forward. In IBS patients, the muscle spasms hinder this smooth movement resulting in diarrhea or constipation.

While factors such as diet and stress can trigger the muscle spasms, it is thought that one of the main possible causes of IBS appears to be the way the brain and bowel communicate. Some researches have indicated that patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome have a more heightened awareness of pain in their digestive systems than people without irritable bowel syndrome do. This hypersensitivity is considered to trigger the intestinal spasms, and is the basis of abdominal pain/discomfort.

In order to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome in a patient, a physician needs to rule out other possible conditions or diseases. A physician performs physical examination of the patient and goes through the medical history of the patient.

The physician will ask questions about the symptoms and then may suggest laboratory tests. These tests help in ruling out other diseases and may include complete blood count (CBC), thyroid function, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and urinalysis.

Depending on symptoms, physician may also recommend additional tests such as lactose tolerance test and a check for the presence of blood, bacteria, and parasites in feces. If the laboratory tests and physical exam do not suggest any other disease, the physician may diagnose irritable bowel syndrome in the patient.

IBS is not very well understood and very few drugs show consistent results. Many patients of IBS are often switched from drug to drug to control the abnormal bowel habits including antidepressants or medications that affect serotonin receptors.

However, for most patients, the best therapy is natural, based on dietary supplements that encourage healthy digestion. Also lifestyle changes can bring each symptom for irritable bowel syndrome under control.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t joined already, to sign up for the free IBS newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally. In the newsletter you’ll also find more information on effective control of each symptom for irritable bowel syndrome.

When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

Who Wants the Real Info on Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on February 7th, 2008

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also known as spastic colon is usually indicated by episodes of abdominal pain and irregularities in bowel patterns. Some of the conditions of this functional bowel disorder are similar to other gastrointestinal (GI) conditions, and more info on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms that the person is suffering with is required to make a full diagnosis.

Although irritable bowel syndrome cases are not uncommon, the true cause of the disease is yet unknown. Further studies are being conducted to find the cause, as well as reviewing past records and reports to gain more data regarding the hazards that cause or may aggravate IBS.

The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, discomfort and bloating while bowel habits are considerably altered. IBS can last for a long period of time but it is a manageable and treatable condition.

The symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome are usually classified as follows:

IBS-A is characterized by changing bowel pattern, usually alternating between constipation and diarrhea.

IBS-C is predominated by episodes of constipation

IBS-D is predominated by episodes of diarrhea

IBS-PI is known as post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome, which is triggered by a pre-existing an infection.

The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown at present but some theories suggest that it may be caused by communication problems between the brain and the intestines and the confused messages causing hypersensitivity in the bowels and causing untimely and painful symptoms.  It is suggested that this communication problem can cause abnormalities in gastrointestinal tract motility, and so causing either diarrhea or constipation.  

Theories also link IBS with food allergies and other allergies we may be exposed to in our daily routines. These theories suggest that sudden allergic reactions to certain foods may cause contractions or blockage in the gastrointestinal tract and the digestive system in general which may hamper or boost bowel movement. This then irritates the digestive tract and alters bowel pattern.

Other information on irritable bowel syndrome proposes stress as a causative factor. The evidence for this proposal is not clear, but it has been shown that as many as 60% of the people with IBS also suffers with one or more psychological disorders like depression or anxiety.

However, it is not clear if these psychological disorders cause IBS, or are a symptom of living with IBS. It is known that stress and anxiety can make IBS symptoms worsen.

Info on irritable bowel syndrome shows that changing diet, avoiding trigger foods and supplementation can have amazing results on improving IBS symptoms.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t joined already, to sign up for the free IBS newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally. In the newsletter you’ll also find more
info on irritable bowel syndrome.

When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

What is the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Ovarian Cyst Link?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on January 31st, 2008

Hormones are a very important factor to consider when trying to determine the irritable bowel syndrome ovarian cyst link. Since women are more affected by the irritable bowel syndrome and intestinal disorders compared to men, and ovarian cysts only affect women, gender-sensitive issues regarding diagnosis, pathophysiology and interventions have been specifically designed.

Ovarian cysts are usually considered a functional disorder, which means that they develop when a normal function of the body works abnormally, and they form only during the years that a women is ovulating regularly. It is still possible to acquire a cyst later in life, but it would have formed initially when the woman was still ovulating.

Irritable bowel syndrome is also considered a functional disorder.  There are a number of theories about the cause, and although there are trigger factors that have been identified, the cause of IBS is still a mystery.

Some studies have shown that a person, who has irritable bowel syndrome, suffers from a brain-gut abnormality due to faulty communication between the two areas of the body. It is believed that communications get confused, causing hypersensitivity in the colon.

One common symptom present in both irritable bowel syndrome and functional ovarian cysts is abdominal pain. The pain experienced by individuals having irritable bowel syndrome is mainly caused by gas accumulation from swallowed air and formation of gas from microorganisms and digested food, which exerts pressure on the intestinal tract and the colon. The pressure can make the distended intestines come into contact with the ovaries, which then also lead to pain experiences due to hypersensitive nerves in the area.

Also, as women are more likely to suffer with IBS, and that IBS has been reported to be worse during menstruation, there seems to be a link between hormones and IBS.   Women generally have more severe symptoms than men, needing more medication or treatment to relieve the symptoms.

There is an estrogen receptor in our small intestines and stomach, and when the levels of hormones change there can be a reaction. Also, during menstruation, in which most women have said that their IBS symptoms worsen dramatically, there is a high production of progesterone, which trigger uterine cramping, which can effect the hypersensitive colon and increase gastrointestinal muscle spasms.

Although it is feasible that there is a functional irritable bowel syndrome ovarian cyst link, with the one physiologically triggering the other there is little evidence to suggest this is the case.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t joined already, to sign up for the free IBS newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally. In the newsletter you’ll also find more information on how to get started with an effective diet for irritable bowel syndrome.

When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

Choosing a Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on January 24th, 2008

The right diet for irritable bowel syndrome should aim to promote proper digestion and bowel habits, as well as reduce the symptoms of abdominal pain and discomfort. As irritable bowel syndrome negatively affects the process of digestion, making the colon hypersensitive and function abnormally, certain foods can be incorporated in the sufferer’s usual diet to alleviate some of the worse symptoms. Essentially, they are foods that relax the gastrointestinal tract, soothe the muscles, and clear the passageway.

Soluble fiber is considered as probably the best food to prevent or manage irritable bowel syndrome. Rich sources of soluble fiber include grain and wheat products, like rice and oatmeal. Several other foods including barley, soy, carrots, potatoes and bananas are also rich in soluble fiber.

Incorporating soluble fiber in the diet of irritable bowel syndrome patients can aid in constipation episodes by providing soluble fiber gel, which improves bowel movement. The colon is rich in gel and fluids, which are responsible for moving and evacuating fecal matter.

As soluble fiber absorbs and carries some of the natural gel that the colon produces, constipation can effectively be relieved by faster and smoother passage of the bowel and diarrhea will ease due to the concentrated fluids.

Soluble fiber is water soluble but not digested in the intestinal tract so it can prevent and improve alterations in bowel habits by increasing the bulk of stool in diarrhea patients which then adds more constitution and body. Constipation is significantly relieved as soluble fiber uses the colon gel to smooth the passageway and ease the hold of the intestinal tract on the bowel during peristalsis.

Adding soluble fiber to the diet has more beneficial effects on the colon by regulating the muscular spasms and contractions and aiding the gastrocolic reflex. Reconditioning the contractions will reduce abdominal cramping and bloating. It is also recommended that patients consume soluble fiber in small quantities four to six times a day.

Insoluble fiber also has an important role to play in the digestion process, but someone with IBS needs to be wary of eating too much in one sitting.  Insoluble fiber can help bulk and soften stools, which helps ease constipation, but as it is a strong intestinal stimulator it needs to be eaten in moderation and with other foods that lessens the effect. Ensure sufficient water in drunk to also help relieve constipation symptoms.

Other foods that will initially need to be restricted from the diet are those that cause a lot of gas, as bloating and gassiness can trigger IBS symptoms due to the hypersensitive reaction.  This means steering clear of carbonated drinks and soda, and foods like cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.

The presence of soluble fiber in a diet for irritable bowel syndrome can improve the condition of the digestive tract and reduce abnormal contractions of the intestines. It is one of the best additions a person can make to relieve diarrhea or constipation and help sufferers gain more control over their bowel movement pattern.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t joined already, to sign up for the free IBS newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally. In the newsletter you’ll also find more information on how to get started with an effective diet for irritable bowel syndrome.


When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

Want To Know About The Link Between Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Pregnancy?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on January 17th, 2008

If you ask the majority of people who have IBS when they get pregnant, they will tell you that there is definitely a link between irritable bowel syndrome and pregnancy.

For some people the symptoms alleviate, but unfortunately, for many the symptoms get worse, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.

The cause seems to be linked to the hormonal changes that a woman is going through during pregnancy. The knowledge of the link between hormones and IBS has been around for a while, and it is self evident in those whose IBS symptoms deteriorate on or around menstruation.

Up to 20% of people are thought to have irritable bowel syndrome, with about 3 out of 4 of the number being women. This again could point to hormonal link to IBS as hormone levels in women fluctuate considerably during the month, where as men’s remains relatively level in comparison.

There are however no hard and fast rules about whether IBS symptoms will get worse during pregnancy or they may actually improve.  However, there does seem to be a trend that follows the pattern below.

1st Trimester – In this trimester, symptoms can often be alleviated.

2nd Trimester – As the changes promoted by the increase in hormonal activity taking place in the body become more apparent it is not unusual to see IBS symptoms return and sometimes get worse.

3rd Trimester – As with the second trimester, it seems the IBS symptoms can be aggravated by the hormonal activity, and also the physical discomfort the women is feeling.  Also, during this period, as there is more progesterone released, which is a muscle relaxant, the symptoms of IBS are more likely to be constipation related as the muscles that push the waste through the system are weakened.

If a person want to avoid taking medication during pregnancy after talking with their doctor there are some simple lifestyle methods that can be introduced that help to alleviate the symptoms.

Ensure the diet is rich in fiber, especially soluble fiber.  Both insoluble and soluble fibers have a place in the diet, bulking, softening and lubricating the passages.

Make sure that sufficient water is drunk, at least 8 glasses per day, and if possible more than 10, especially if you’re active or it is hot.

Reduce the levels of gassy foods like cabbage and broccoli in the diet.  This can help reduce bloating.

Help your body digest food better by fully chewing foods and eating little and often.  The digestion process actually starts in the mouth, and food should be well chewed before swallowing.  This will also reduce the levels of air being swallowed and reduce bloating and trapped wind.

There is a connection between irritable bowel syndrome and pregnancy, although as the symptoms can be varied from person to person, all that a woman can do is know the methods to alleviate symptoms in case they strike.
Don’t forget, if you haven’t joined already, to sign up for the free IBS newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally. In the newsletter you’ll also find more information on other irritable bowel syndrome and pregnancy.

When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

Is There A Herbal Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on January 10th, 2008

A herbal treatment for irritable bowel syndrome can be incorporated and included in most of the treatment plans prescribed by a doctor.  However, it is always worth checking with a medical professional to ensure that any herbal options chosen do not interact with current prescriptions and you are aware of any side effects.

The methods described in the article are age tested and have been shown to be beneficial for many sufferers of IBS.  However, each person is different and what has helped one person with IBS may not help you.

To use these remedies you probably won’t have to search further than your kitchen or the shelves at the grocery or local health store.

The first step to overcoming IBS is to have a “healthy” diet.  Although some of the specifics about the diet may be different from person to person, in most cases a diet high in fiber like oat bran, which is mild and colon friendly is beneficial.  It helps to bind, soften and bulk the stool, and can help with constipation and diarrhea.

Start with small proportions of oatmeal and increase over time.

Consume vegetables like carrots and lettuce but avoid having cauliflower, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables as they can increase gas production.

Trying fruits like pears, which are rich in nutrients and high in fiber.  They are also a light food that means that they are not hard to digest, so also make an ideal snack.

Live yoghurt can be an excellent source of active bacteria.  This bacteria, often referred to as friendly bacteria or probiotics, can help restore and maintain a healthy gut flora, a deficit of which is believed to be one of the symptoms of IBS.

For better results, you can mix half a teaspoon of psyllium husk (easily available in any medical stores) with the yogurt and consume about an hour after your meals.

Drink plenty of liquids. Water helps with dehydration and diarrhea. It is recommended that people suffering from IBS should consume plenty of fresh, pure water, sipping small amounts so as not to dilute the stomach acids. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water or more if diarrhea symptoms are bad.

And while you are in the kitchen, have a look at your spice rack. It has certain ingredients that not only help add taste to your food, but also can help ease IBS symptoms and improve digestion.  Some of the ones that may prove helpful include fennel seeds and flaxseeds that help in elimination of the fats in the digestive system.

As those with IBS know, if not treated properly it can prevent you from leading a normal life. Impacting on a person both physically and psychologically.

Remember the golden rule that prevention is better than cure, and being aware of the triggers for your IBS is important.

The above list of natural and herbal treatment for irritable bowel syndrome suggested is not exhaustive, in fact there are many more that have shown promise in relieving IBS symptoms. Various herbs and ayurvedic medicines like trifala and amla have been used for centuries, but before you test or try any herbal treatments it is best to consult with your doctor.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t joined already, to sign up for the free IBS newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally. In the newsletter you’ll also find more information on other natural home remedies for IBS.

When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

Have You Tried This Irritable Bowel Treatment?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on January 3rd, 2008

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder. It is not disease but a combination of a number of symptoms like abdominal pain and discomfort, flatulence or bloating and alternating episodes of diarrhea and constipation. The increase in frequency and number of intestinal contractions disturb bowel movement patterns, which is the most likely cause of the alterations in bowel pattern. A variety of interventions are available for irritable bowel treatment, alleviating symptoms and improving overall level of functioning.

Dietary changes are important when dealing with alterations in bowel habits. Because the episodes can be constantly changing, either hard lumpy stools or soft watery ones may predominate an incident, the diet should consist of foods that specifically help to alleviate the abnormal pattern that are present at that time. The main result being sought is to lessen contractions and gut motility to reduce diarrhea and increase contractions and lubrication for constipation.

Soluble fiber from supplements and whole foods are necessary to aid in the process of digestion and to move matter through the intestine without straining or spasms.

The aim of the additional fiber is to soothe and relax the muscles that are responsible for the contractions to reduce pain experiences. Peppermint tea, chamomile and anise are also good sources that can be incorporated in an irritable bowel syndrome diet to aid digestion and help with bowel functionality.

Gastrointestinal spasms can return to normal and pain levels generally will have significantly decreased after ingesting soluble fiber for a few days. Severe cases of diarrhea or constipation can also be minimized. If there is not sufficient soluble fiber in the diet then taking a soluble fiber supplement with lots of water to facilitate proper draining and flushing of the bowel can help. Also, exercise can be very helpful in eliminating bloating and gassiness.

Soluble fiber can dissolve in water, which has beneficial effects in stool formation and elimination. The colon is filled with fluids and gel-like substances, which can be readily absorbed by the fiber to stabilize diarrhea as it adds form and integrity to the stool.

On the other hand, it also can readily add water to stool during constipation to lessen lumpiness and firmness which then facilitates easier passage through the intestine and colon.

Rice, pasta, potatoes and oatmeal are good food sources of soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber like green leafy vegetables and fruits are beneficial for constipation relief. However, spasms and contractions are usually more likely with insoluble fiber.

Both soluble and insoluble fiber must be incorporated in a healthy diet. Some food sources like wheat, apples and cereals have insoluble fiber covering a soluble fiber content which is why most fruits and vegetables are better eaten with the skin on for a mix of both fiber types.

However, some types of insoluable fiber may have ‘trigger risks’ so a number of preparations like peeling may be effective to avoid hypersensitivity reactions. It may be a case of trial and error to see if you can eat fruits and vegetables with the skins on or off.

Soluble fiber is generally considered one of the most effective foods for IBS. Treating the disorder with whole foods or supplements should ease the gastro-colic reflex and relax the gastrointestinal muscles and so reduce spasms and contractions.  This simple irritable bowel treatment can ease diarrhea and constipation significantly.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t joined already, to sign up for the free IBS newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally. In the newsletter you’ll also find more information on other Irritable Bowel Treatment options.


When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

Researching Online Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptom Relief Information

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on December 27th, 2007

Despite all the attempts to control it, many people have found their lives dominated by the unpredictability of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reducing the quality of life and making doing normal things like eating out a chore. If you are among those who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and want find out how others have managed their symptoms there are a number of places to get online irritable bowel syndrome symptom relief information from.

You can start by browsing through this blog for measures you can follow to gain relief from these symptoms.

As an overview, Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder effecting the intestines. The main symptoms of this disorder are abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and urgency with defecation, constipation, or a combination of these problems.

Some people with IBS experience infrequent bowel movements while others experience frequent loose stools. Others have cramps and the immediate urge to move their bowels but cannot do so.

Those who experience diarrhea tend to worry that they may be “caught short” at an inconvenient moment, and avoid taking long journeys or going places where there are unlikely to be good toilet facilities.

There is no test to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are actually very similar to other medical conditions, and therefore a physician needs to rule out a number of diseases before diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome.

It should also be noted that irritable bowel syndrome is not an inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, are characterized by inflammation in the lower digestive tract, including the colon and the small intestine (in Crohn’s).

With irritable bowel syndrome, there is no pronounced inflammation or any external sign to indicate that something is wrong. It has been observed that irritable bowel syndrome tends to occur more with other pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

At also tends to strike almost exclusively adults, being more common among women than men.

Explanations for the cause of irritable bowel syndrome include hypersensitivity and increased motor reactivity in the large intestine, which is often triggered by diet and stress.  This basically means that the bowels are more sensitive and they react more strongly than other peoples do.

In irritable bowel syndrome sufferers, the rhythm of the digestive tract can be more rapid and less regular in comparison to non-IBS persons. As a result, the movement of stool and gas through the colon is affected, leading to constipation, diarrhea, or both. A number of factors can be responsible for triggering IBS flare-ups such as specific foods, allergies, diet, and stress.

It is therefore very important to restore the rhythm of the digestive tract to normal and slow it down to gain control of the condition. Much of the online irritable bowel syndrome symptom information available will cover medication to relieve symptoms, like laxatives and anti spasmodic medication and how diets can be changed to identify trigger foods in an attempt to get digestive rhythms to return to normal.

If you haven’t joined already, sign up for the free IBS newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally. In the newsletter you’ll also find more information on effective IBS Treatment options.

When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

Does Irritable Bowel Syndrome Make You Hungry?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on December 20th, 2007

We wish our readers a very happy Christmas and holiday season, and a peaceful – and healthy – 2008.

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a chronic intestinal condition where patients most likely show the symptoms of abdominal pain, cramping, flatulence and episodes of diarrhea, constipation or both. The disorder is the most common type gastrointestinal condition in the US, and diet plays an important role in easing the condition and reducing the presented symptoms. Which leads us to the question - Does irritable bowel syndrome make you hungry?

Irritable bowel syndrome can only be diagnosed once it is clear that there is no other medical condition causing the symptoms. There are a number of conditions that display the same or similar signs as irritable bowl syndrome and some of these are severe and will require more immediate attention.

A full diagnosis covers the patient’s medical history, the symptoms they have and when they are normally prevalent.  It is likely to involve a stool sample being tested for pre conditions, and sometimes an internal exam to monitor the way that the intestines function.

IBS is known as a functional disorder, as it effects the way that the intestines work.  It does not cause damage to the colon, and is not a progressive condition.  Sometimes the symptoms can be relieved for a period and then return.

It is likely that everyone will suffer some of the symptoms of IBS now and again, however, it is when it becomes either a regular occurrence, or continues over a protracted period of time that it is considered as IBS and will be treated.

The symptoms of IBS are stomach pains and cramps, which are usually relieved after defecation.

No single cause of IBS has been identified, but it is known that there are certain trigger factors that can increase the risk of IBS, including a poor diet, stress, and a parasite infection.

IBS symptoms are caused because the colon is hypersensitive and the mobility (movement, including regularity and strength of the contractions) are effected and are abnormal.

One theory about the cause if IBS is that there is a miscommunication between the brain and the gut.  Many people do not realise that there are more nerve endings in the stomach than there are in the spine, and that the majority of the serotonin which is produced by the body, is produced in the digestive tract.

This is one of the reasons that it is speculated that stress and anxiety has such a large role to play in IBS symptoms.  In fact, in a study carried out that checked the psychological state of IBS sufferer’s it was found that 60% of them had at least one psychological disorder, including anxiety or depression.

However, it is not clear whether the IBS was bought on by the psychological disorder, or if IBS just worsens or triggers the psychological condition.  Either way, it is an important finding that has allowed for new treatments to be devised that help with the mental state of the patient.

Stress and anxiety has a two-fold impact on the host, it can either suppress hunger, or it can increase hunger. If the “fight or flight” reaction is triggered, then normally the hormones released at this time will trigger blood to move from less critical systems and organs in the body, and move it into those organs that are required to perform intense physical activity.  This response also suppresses appetite usually.

However, there are also some hormones released that increase hunger, and this is why some people turn to snacks, ice-cream or chocolate when they are feeling anxious or stressed.

Also, there has been some evidence that a parasitic infection can trigger IBS.  One of the symptoms of a parasite infestation is hunger. Parasite infestations are sometimes hard to diagnose, so speak with your doctor.

So, does irritable bowel syndrome make you hungry? Well, the answer appears to be ‘maybe’.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t joined already, to sign up for the free IBS newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally. In the newsletter you’ll also find more information on other IBS complications like IBS with constipation.

When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

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