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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments » 2006 » November

Archive for November, 2006

Should You Be Taking Probiotics for IBS?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on November 30th, 2006

Treating IBS can be a daunting process for doctors, because treatment that works for one patient may not be beneficial to another. For example, while one IBS sufferer may experience frequent attacks of diarrhea, another may have the complete opposite problem and be constipated for days. Therefore, someone who has been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome needs to seek treatment that is specific to his or her personal symptoms of the disease. This is where probiotics for IBS can help.

Although some people with IBS prefer medical treatment to help them control their problems, others prefer a more natural method of following tailored diets or taking dietary supplements to control their IBS attacks. One dietary supplement that is becoming a more and more common treatment among IBS sufferers are Probiotics.

What are probiotics? They are dietary supplements that contain what are considered “good” bacteria and yeast which are naturally found within the body. Probiotics can also be found in natural food sources such as yogurt, sauerkraut and lactobacillus.

The purpose of probiotic bacterial cultures is to help the body’s normal occurrence of gut flora in the digestive tract re-establish itself. Although probiotics are not required in order for someone with IBS to remain healthy, it can aid in digestion and help protect the body from the affects of harmful bacteria. In fact, many believe that probiotics actually strengthen the immune system.

Medical researchers are currently studying the effects probiotics have when taken as supplements or food for treating and preventing irritable bowel syndrome.

How can probiotics help treat IBS? Medical research has found that many people who suffer from IBS are also affected by SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). SIBO occurs when the small intestine has an unnatural overgrowth of large intestine bacteria.

Since this condition stems from an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria which can aggravate symptoms of IBS (particularly diarrhea), probitotic treatment can help replace the “bad” bacteria in the small intestine with “good” bacteria.

Do probiotics actually work? Yes and no. They seem to be an effective treatment for people who have SIBO, as it has been discovered that probiotics can make very subtle yet important changes in the functioning of a person’s immune system. Essentially, it stops IBS from causing the immune system to overreact. However, not all people who have IBS have SIBO. Thus, probiotic treatment would provide no relief of symptoms in these people.

Furthermore, not all probiotics are the same. Different probiatic bacteria have diverse effects on the intestines. Thus, it is important that a doctor prescribe their patient with the appropriate probiotic bacteria in order for treatment to be effective.

Currently there are a number of studies being conducted on different probiotic bacteria. So far, those that have been tested in clinical trials present no harm to IBS sufferers. Consult your doctor so he or she can prescribe you one of the probiotic treatments that are currently being studied such as:
• Bifidobacterium
• Enterococcus
• Lactobacillus acidophilus
• Saccharomyces boulardii

Probiotics for IBS maybe the treatment that sufferers have been waiting for. That being said, the information above is not a substitute for consulting with a medical professional. Always consult your doctor before starting any treatment regardless if it is a medical or an alternative treatment. A specialist can help you find an effective IBS treatment to suit your own unique needs, and will be able to monitor your progress.
If you are interested in finding out more about how probiotics can help your IBS symptoms please click on the following link:
Primal Defense

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

What Happens to IBS During Pregnancy?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on November 16th, 2006

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a chronic intestinal disorder, not a disease.  The intestines of a person with IBS do not function properly which can lead to many symptoms.  The most common include diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and abdominal pain.  It is estimated that IBS affects as many as 20% of Americans, and affects women three times greater than it does men.  

Depending on the types of symptoms a woman has, and the severity of her IBS, this disorder can be both physically and psychologically upsetting and cause plenty of anxiety.  Some women worry that having IBS will affect their ability to become pregnant or cause problems during pregnancy. 

Irritable bowel syndrome does not affect a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant, nor does it make her infertile.   However, during pregnancy, IBS symptoms are generally worse than normal due to the hormonal changes a woman’s body experiences. 

The following is a breakdown of what a woman with IBS can expect during pregnancy, and the different treatments she can try to help control symptoms.

First trimester – During this period, most women don’t feel the hormonal effects on their body, because they are too busy coping with morning sickness.  At this time, IBS virtually disappears 

Second trimester – As hormonal change becomes more apparent, IBS will usually strike.  Women with irritable bowel syndrome will usually experience a stronger version of the symptoms they usually have.

Third trimester – Just as in the second trimester, IBS symptoms will continue due to hormonal changes.  However, in many women, the symptom that is experienced the most is constipation, especially during the 8th month.

The reason constipation is the most common symptom is because pregnancy causes the levels of the progesterone hormone to rise.  This hormone causes muscles to relax, which can result in the digestive system slowing down.  Other reasons why constipation occurs are from lack of exercise, diet change, and the physical pressure of the baby on the bowel.  Thus, even pregnant women who don’t have IBS are prone to constipation. 

To help with constipation and other IBS symptoms during pregnancy, some women take medications.  Not all medications that may be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome are safe for pregnancy.  Therefore, you should discuss medical treatment with your doctor before taking any drug. 

However, the following is a list of medications that are usually safe to take during pregnancy:
• Acetaminophen (IE Tylenol) – helps with pain and discomfort
• Bentyl/Dicyclomine – prevents muscles spasms in the stomach and bladder and helps to relax them.  It also reduces the production of stomach acid.
• Diclectin – helps with morning sickness
• Simethicone – helps to alleviate gas in the intestinal tract.

Medications are not the only answer when it comes to helping pregnant women treat their IBS symptoms.  Alternative treatments include:
• Drinking plenty of water – prevents dehydration and helps with digestion
• Regular and safe pregnancy exercises – helps aid in digestion and reduces stress
• Sufficient sleep – reduces stress
• High fiber diet – Helps move slow bowels.  This includes foods such as fruit, vegetables, and high fiber cereals. Note:  keep in mind that if your IBS symptoms occur because of certain fiber foods, don’t include these as apart of your diet.
• Soluble fiber supplements – may help with diarrhea and constipation
• Ginger tea – Ginger tea can help treat morning sickness
• Hypnosis – This psychological treatment can be used to individually treat the symptoms a woman is experiencing.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways a pregnant woman can deal with IBS.  The trick is to know what treatments work best, and incorporate them into a healthy and active lifestyle.

For more information on successfully managing IBS please visit 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.

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