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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments » 2006 » August

Archive for August, 2006

Overview of IBS

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on August 26th, 2006

For the many Americans who suffer from IBS, irritable bowel syndrome isn’t just a problem. It’s a way of life. IBS refers to a condition that is characterized by the large intestine not operating in the way that it should. Not really a disease, IBS is a disorder. The interesting thing to note is that patients who suffer from IBS exhibit no abnormalities in their intestine nor have they sustained intestinal damage. That is the real mystery of the disorder.

For this reason, no clear-cut cause for IBS has ever been established. There are some observations and theories on the subject. One thing that experts do note is the fact that IBS appears to include both sensitivity and muscle spasms in the large intestine. Because of this, gas and stool move quickly through the small and large intestines. Patients suffering from IBS may notice that this condition escalates when they are suffering from great amounts of stress. When life is going smoothly, and patients are at ease, the symptoms often fade tremendously.

Patients suffering from IBS have to endure a variety of symptoms. Among these are bloating, diarrhea, sometimes constipation, lower stomach pain, and cramping. The pain that comes along with IBS isn’t a constant pain. It can disappear for days or weeks even. The pain often goes away after a patient has a bowel movement.

If you are suffering from IBS, the muscles and nerves that reside in your large intestine have strong responses to outside factors such as stress. Certain foods that don’t bother most people can spark stomach muscle contractions that lead to diarrhea when the food is sped through your digestive track.

An extremely common disorder, IBS affects about one in every five Americans over the age of twenty. Because of the embarrassing nature of the disorder, many people do not seek medical attention for this problem.

Depending on the severity of your disorder, it can range from annoying to life-altering. In severe cases, it can cause people to be unable to leave the house, maintain a job, or lead an active life. For this reason, it’s important to seek medical attention, garner a diagnosis, and discuss treatment options.

IBS differs from other irritable bowel disorders, especially in the fact that there are no abnormalities in the intestines and no apparent cause for the episodes. A doctor makes the diagnosis mostly by evaluating your symptoms and ruling out all other possibilities. Your doctor will more than likely order a series of tests to ensure that you do not suffer from another type of irritable bowel disorder or even a more serious condition.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffers from IBS, take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. With around 20% of the population suffering from this disorder, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Talk to your doctor about methods of coping with this disorder. Don’t let IBS control your life. Many patients lead normal, rich, complete lives.

For more detailed information on managing IBS take a look at my downloadable ebook Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments.

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

IBS and Diet

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on August 19th, 2006

For patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, commonly referred to as IBS, life becomes challenging. Depending on the severity of your disorder, it can have a profound affect on your life. For those who are unfamiliar with the disorder, it is an intestinal disorder that is usually characterized by abdominal pain, irregular bowel patterns, and constipation or diarrhea. So can an IBS diet help?

Although the causes for IBS are unclear, doctors have noticed that changing your diet can really help relieve IBS symptoms. For some sufferers of the disorder, implementing a proper meal plan can be the key to paving the road to reconnecting with the life you enjoyed before IBS interfered.

Since many patients don’t realize how much diet can affect IBS symptoms, they continue to make poor food choices. Certain foods can actually trigger IBS episodes, causing constipation or more commonly diarrhea. Although these “trigger” foods often differ from person to person, there are certain foods that doctors suggest that patients eat, and others that they should avoid.

One thing that you need to remember is to avoid coffee and caffeine. Yes, this even means saying no to a cup of decaf. The same is true of alcoholic beverages. These types of beverages have been linked to IBS episodes and should be avoided if you suffer from IBS.

The bottom line when concentrating on developing an IBS friendly diet is that any food that is high in insoluble fiber or fat isn’t a good food choice. You may ask yourself why this is? It is because these types of food and the beverages mentioned above can cause disruptive reactions to your gastrocolic reflex. This is like a chain reaction that affects the muscles in your colon. What does that mean for you? It means pain. It can mean constipation or diarrhea accompanied by bloating or gas.

So what should you eat? The good news is that an IBS friendly diet doesn’t mean deprivation. You can still enjoy tasty foods. You can indulge in healthy foods without totally denying yourself of foods that you enjoy. The best way to find the proper foods to eat is to talk to your doctor. Aside from developing a special meal plan, there are some things you should keep in mind to help you make better food choices.

The first thing you need to do is cut down on sugar. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat an occasional candy bar, but you might want to opt for sugar-free snacks when possible. With so many tasty alternatives, this is now easier than ever. Remember that sugar is also found in breads. You want to avoid overindulging on bread products.

When it comes to dairy products, milk doesn’t always “do a body good”… particularly if you suffer from IBS. Limit your dairy consumption since it has been linked particularly with diarrhea.

Say no to foods like jalapenos or extra spicy dishes. These types of foods can wreak havoc on your intestines. When seasoning your food, use moderation. Spicy food may taste great, but your stomach may not thank you later.

A great snack or meal is soup with meat. Make sure you don’t load up that soup with starchy vegetables. Avoid putting grains, corn, or rice in your soup since these foods could agitate IBS symptoms.

If you are eating vegetables, make sure to cook them. Raw veggies or fruit should be avoided or taken in moderation. If you do indulge in them, make sure to use a dressing that has some acid in it. This can counteract the effects of the raw fruit or vegetables.

Remember that there is no one set IBS diet that will ensure you minimize your IBS symptoms as everyone with IBS has different requirements. To help you decide on the right diet for you, you may want to keep a diet diary. Identify which particular foods trigger your IBS symptoms and try to avoid them. Educated food choices can make a real difference in the lives of IBS patients.

For more detailed information on managing IBS take a look at my downloadable ebook Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments.

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

Diagnosis Process for IBS

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on August 11th, 2006

If you think you may be suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you are not alone.  You are among the millions of people who battle this frustrating disorder.  Perhaps you have frequent, painful constipation.  Maybe you find that after consuming a meal, you immediately find that you are rushing to the restroom, plagued by diarrhea.

Unfortunately, obtaining a diagnosis for irritable bowel syndrome isn’t as easy as simply taking a single test.  This is mainly because there is no clear evidence of the disorder when you observe a person’s intestines.  In fact, the intestine will look totally normal, without damage or deformity.  For this reason, there is really no clear reason for the presence of IBS symptoms.

Diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome is a process of elimination.  The doctor will conduct a complete, thorough medical history examination along with a physical exam.  He will probably order a series of tests to check for other problems and rule out other potential illnesses.

  • Often, a doctor will order a colonoscopy.  This is a process where a tiny, flexible tube is used to examine your colon.
  • A CT Scan can provide x-ray images of your organs.  During this scan, a doctor can examine your abdomen and pelvis to rule out other causes for your IBS symptoms.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy tests can be performed to examine your colon.
  • Your doctor may test you for lactose intolerance.  If you find that your diarrhea is prevalent when you consume dairy products, you may lack the enzyme needed to digest dairy products.  A breath test can be performed or your doctor may ask you to abstain from dairy products for a period of time.
  • Blood tests can be ordered to test for sensitivity to a certain type of wheat protein.  This type of problem can present itself with symptoms very much like those of IBS.

Since diagnosing IBS is a process of elimination, there is a specific diagnostic criterion that must be followed in order to obtain a proper diagnosis.  Referred to as Rome criteria, this process is used to diagnose IBS and other similar disorders that negatively affect proper bowel functions.

Certain signs and symptoms must be exhibited before your doctor will confirm that you have IBS.  Your pain in the abdomen and diarrhea or constipation must last at least twelve weeks in a year’s time frame.  You may also be experiencing changes in your bowel movements.  For example, one day, you may have normal bowel movements, and the next day, you may have constipation or very firm stool.  You will also notice that after having a bowel movement, you perpetually feel as if you haven’t finished emptying your bowels.  Some people also note mucus in their stool accompanied by abdominal pain.

IBS is a difficult to diagnose disorder.  Little is known about its causes, but it is a treatable condition.  It’s important to note that you should seek medical attention if you think you are exhibiting symptoms of IBS.  After receiving a proper diagnosis, your doctor can suggest the best treatment mode.

For more detailed information on managing IBS take a look at my downloadable ebook Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments.

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

Causes of IBS

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on August 4th, 2006

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder that affects millions of Americans each day.  A condition that causes abdominal pains, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or a combination of those symptoms, IBS is a disorder that is illusive in nature.

The reason that IBS is so intriguing is the fact that it has no known cause.  There are theories about the causes of the disorder, but if a doctor was to examine an IBS patient’s intestine, the results of that examination might shock you.  The intestine would appear to be normal in every way with no apparent damage. 

If this is true, what causes IBS?  Finally, as technology and research evolves, more theories are developing on possible causes of IBS.  In the past, many IBS patients were deemed “hypochondriacs”.  Was the disease really in their head?

One of the theories of the cause of IBS has to do with stress.  Patients who suffer from IBS notice that their symptoms are greatly agitated when anxiety levels are the highest.  This is mainly due to the fact that stress can bring on the muscle spasms that often either trap gas and fecal matter in your system or rush food through your system.  The results are either constipation or diarrhea.  In many cases, severe abdominal pains accompany this constipation or diarrhea.

Other possible causes have been suggested.  Some of these are immune system malfunction and sensitive reactive colon.  These were two of the more common theories, but many doctors are beginning to think otherwise as research continues. 

It is possible that irritable bowel syndrome can be due to a large amount of bacteria in the small intestine.  This could explain the change in bowel movements, gas, pain, etc.  Since there are so few bacteria in your small intestine, a rapid increase in bacteria could really impact on your system. 

Another possible cause of IBS is intolerance of foods.  Depending on the individual, certain foods which would be harmless to the average person can cause an IBS episode.  If an IBS patient can identify these “trigger” foods, they can remove those foods from the diet, cutting down the IBS symptoms.  The good news is that doctors often say that, after taking a break from those foods, they can later be reincorporated into your meal plans. 

The bottom line, unfortunately, is there is no known cause for IBS.  Doctors have theories, and many medical professionals believe some of the above mentioned things can contribute to IBS symptoms.  The truth is that the real root of IBS is a mystery.  As research continues, we can hope to eventually find a definitive answer. 

Until then, if you are suffering from the disorder, you can be comforted by the fact that your doctor can help you devise the best treatment plan to help you cope with this disorder.  Many patients suffering from the disorder have learned to control their symptoms and resume their full, active pre-IBS lives.  It is also important to seek a proper diagnosis to ensure that you aren’t suffering from another type of similar IBD.

To help you cope with IBS symptoms have a look at the following:

Bowtrol - has been formulated to address the needs of all IBS sufferers, whether they experience diarrhea or constipation. It’s 100% natural and has no known side effects.

Alternatively, you can find plenty of information on managing IBS in my downloadable ebook Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments.

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

Coming Soon!

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on August 2nd, 2006

Welcome to my new blog on IBS. Coming soon will be some really informative articles and resources, which will be useful to anyone with or who may think they have IBS. Check back on Friday when I hope the first post will be up.

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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