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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments » 2006 » September

Archive for September, 2006

Top Tips for Reducing IBS Nausea

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on September 27th, 2006

During a normal day, muscles located in the colon contract every few hours moving feces along the intestinal tract and resulting in a bowel movement. For those people that suffer with IBS, it is believed that those same muscles are exceptionally sensitive. An large list of things such as hormones, foods, medications or just plain old stress can cause symptoms associated with IBS and one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of IBS is constant and persistent nausea.

Scientists are not sure why people who have IBS have this unique colon muscle sensitivity. Stress isn’t believed to be a sole cause, but it can aggravate it. There are many documented cases where people suffer strong IBS symptoms during exceptionally stressful periods in their lives, like the death of a relative, but it is not believed that the stress alone causes IBS.  Nausea flare ups during periods of exceptional stress are common for IBS sufferers. 

The cause of nausea in IBS sufferers is difficult to pinpoint. Anytime the digestive system is not balanced, nausea is the most common result. A vast majority of IBS sufferers report that nausea is a primary symptom, but the most difficult aspect for doctors and patients alike is that one cure which works for one sufferer is likely not to work for another. It’s this lack of consistency in treating IBS that makes it one of the most challenging ailments to treat if you’re a doctor and one of the most frustrating to suffer from if you’re a patient.  

Nausea and cramps can sometimes be relieved by a bowel movement, but some sufferers of IBS may not be able to have a movement. Many different types of drugs can be used to treat the nausea associated with IBS, but since there is no known cure, the drugs are used mainly to alleviate symptoms only.

Anticholinergics are drugs that affect the nerve cells or nerve fibers and are used to decrease muscle spasms in the small and large intestine and alleviate symptoms such as nausea, cramping pain or diarrhea.

Dicyclomine is a drug that is used to relax the muscles in the gut and bladder to help prevent spasms and ease movement of feces through the digestive tract. It also helps to reduce the amount of stomach acid that is produced to help treat nausea. But even this treatment has side effects of its own, which include dry mouth, nose and throat and a decreased ability to sweat, which can lead to heat stroke if the user is active while on the medication.

Many other drugs are used to help treat IBS and the nausea that accompanies it, but there are more simple solutions.

Changing your diet to include more or less of certain foods can help. Many IBS sufferers are sensitive to dietary fiber. For some, simply adding a bran muffin or avoiding insoluble fiber can help a lot. Also, over the counter anti-diarrhea’s such as Pepto Bismol or Milk of Magnesia can calm the digestive tract and rid an IBS sufferer of nausea. Before experimenting with dietary changes, please consult your doctor to ensure your body continues to get the correct level of nutrition.

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

Soluble vs Non-Soluble Fiber

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on September 19th, 2006

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an extremely common but almost completely misunderstood condition where there are often intense bodily responses to things such as certain foods, stress and distension. It is believed that a large number of people who are currently seeking help from gastroenterology clinics have IBS. So, what is the relationship between IBS and fiber?

Some of the varied symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain and discomfort and a change in bowel habit that usually ends up being either constipation or diarrhea. For most sufferers, the pain associated with IBS is experienced during meals or during a bowel movement. One of the biggest problems with IBS is that the same symptoms are sometimes associated with other bowel disorders, so the correct diagnosis of IBS is extremely difficult. Other symptoms that have nothing to do with the bowels can also be linked to IBS.

One of the most common treatments associated with IBS is following a high-fiber diet, although there is almost no agreement among doctors that this is the way to go. A recent synopsis of studies focusing on high fiber or bran-supplemented diets showed that only two of the eight patients had reduced symptoms. Some symptoms, such as constipation, have been shown to decrease with the prescription of a high fiber diet, but at the same time, other sufferers that have symptoms such as distension, diarrhea and abdominal pain may end up worse off with the same high fiber diet that helped others.

Dietary fiber is usually classified into two different groups: soluble and insoluble. Both kinds of fiber are present in all known plant food, with different amounts of each present depending on the plant. The word insoluble refers to a fiber’s ability to soak up water and not dissolve. It’s said that insoluble fiber has “passive water-attracting properties” that help to add mass to a bowel movement, softening the movement and giving some speed to the movement through the intestinal tract. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, means that the fiber in the plant dissolves in water easily. These simple definitions, however, can be limiting since soluble fiber can ferment in the intestinal tract and that can benefit the body in the long run.

One of the easiest ways to imagine the difference between what is soluble and what is insoluble, imagine a plum. The thick, tough outer skin would be considered insoluble fiber, while the inner flesh, while still fibrous, would be considered soluble.

Other popular sources of insoluble fiber include whole wheat, corn bran, flax seeds and veggies such as carrots, celery, green beans and potato skins.

One of the best combinations of soluble and insoluble fiber is the husk from a psyllium grain. It’s been proven to help lower blood cholesterol when consumed on a regular basis. The husk is 34% insoluble fiber and 66% soluble, which is considered to be an optimal balance that makes the grain a highly thought of food additive.

The impact of these fibers on the digestions of IBS sufferers is not conclusive. Some sufferers say that eating particular types of food cause their symptoms to reduce. But at the same time, getting rid of “problem” foods and eating more foods from another group can do more harm than good in the long run. The link between IBS and fiber is clear, however its important not to try any sort of special diet when you suffer from IBS without consulting a doctor first. If you remove one kind of fiber, your body may need to find a replacement source.
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When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

Symptoms of IBS

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on September 1st, 2006

IBS is a disorder affecting approximately 20% of the population.  In its mildest cases, IBS can frustrate patients and cause anxiety.  In severe cases, it can totally affect a patient’s life, limiting their activities, causing them to quit their jobs, and prompting a reclusive lifestyle.

Irritable bowel syndrome is not a disease.  In fact, although the problem occurs in the patient’s intestine, there is no obvious reason for the disorder.  Affected patients have not suffered damage to the intestine and have no apparent intestinal abnormalities.  This is the key reason why doctors have yet to identify a true cause for the disorder.

Many people think that IBS is synonymous with diarrhea.  While some IBS patients do exhibit diarrhea, this is not the only symptom of IBS.  This disorder is often accompanied by other bothersome issues like pain and discomfort in the abdomen, retention of water, and changes in bowel movements.  Those changes can come in either the form of diarrhea or constipation.  Some patients alternate between the two.  The severity of a patient’s symptoms dictates how much their lives are affected.  From missing school, work, or staying at home for fear of IBS episodes, it is easy to see why IBS is such a serious disorder for the patients it affects.

The first type of IBS is IBS-A.  Patients suffering from IBS-A do not have consistent symptoms. In fact, on some days, an IBS-A patient may suffer from bloating and constipation.  On other days, that same patient will suffer from diarrhea.

Unlike IBS-A, IBS-C patients are usually constipated.  They suffer from a bloated feeling and often stomach pains.  The main characteristic of this type of IBS is that the patient is often constipated.  Patients usually experience these symptoms at least twelve weeks a year.  Different from chronic constipation, this is truly a painful disorder.

Then there’s IBS-D.  Patients with IBS-D suffer from diarrhea.  When they become particularly nervous or upset, it can spark an IBS episode.  By the same token, an IBS-D patient may find that certain foods bring on these episodes.  Depending on the severity of the disorder, patients can truly be devastated by this type of the disorder.  More common in men than women, often patients have a fear of eating out in restaurants since they often feel the affects of the food immediately via irrepressible diarrhea.

If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms of IBS, it is important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis.  A doctor can’t immediately label you as an IBS patient since there is no clear-cut evidence of the disorder to be found.  Through a series of tests, a thorough examination of your history of symptoms, and the ruling out of other conditions, a doctor can then make a diagnosis.  With technology and pharmaceutical aids advancing each year, there are more options than ever for patients suffering from IBS.  Talk to your doctor about ways you can take control of IBS so it doesn’t control your life. 

Have a look at the following book on IBS – it comes highly recommended by people who have bought it: A New IBS Solution




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