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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments » 2006 » December

Archive for December, 2006

Changing Seasons of IBS

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on December 28th, 2006

Winter, spring, summer or fall, which is the most irritable of all?  Believe it or not, but the temperature can have either a negative or positive impact on your IBS symptoms.  Thus, controlling the climate you live in can be another form of alternative treatment you can try.

For some people, the climate in which they live can play a role in the frequency or severity of their IBS attacks.  This is especially true when it comes to hot and humid weather.  Why does this type of weather seem to have a stronger affect on irritable bowel syndrome?  There are two main reasons:

1. Heat places stress on the body.  When your body is stressed it undergoes changes such as:
• Adrenaline and other chemicals are released
• Heart rate increases
• Excessive sweating
• Metabolism slows
• Muscles tense
• Blood vessels dilate

All of these changes, especially the tensing of your body’s muscles, can trigger an attack of IBS.

2. Air pressure changes that result from humidity upsets the body’s serotonin levels.   This affect may not be so bad if serotonin was evenly dispersed throughout your body, but more than 90% of serotonin resides in the stomach.  Therefore, humidity reduces a person’s level of pain tolerance.  This can make abdominal cramping, pain and overall discomfort more severe than normal.

However, just because heat and humidity appear to be the weather conditions that aggravate IBS symptoms the most, doesn’t mean that other types of weather or extreme temperatures can’t upset your gastrointestinal tract.

For instance, just as extreme heat can put your body under a lot of stress, so can extreme cold.  If you have ever been really cold, then you have felt your body become tense and stiff.  Tense muscles put a lot of strain on your digestive tract and often cause plenty of abdominal discomfort.

In addition, some IBS sufferers find that certain types of non-extreme weather such as rain, fog, cloudy skies, or even sunny days make them feel irritable, depressed and miserable.  These emotions cause psychological stress which can lead to physical stress.

What can you do about IBS symptoms caused by the weather?  There are a few options available to you:

1. Regulate your body temperature – During the months of summer and winter when extreme temperatures of cold, heat and humidity are prominent, make sure your home, car, and work place is properly equipped to deal with these temperatures.  This can be achieved by ensuring you have a working air conditioner and heater. 

Also, don’t forget to bundle up if you are going outside on a cold winter day.  If you will be outside in the heat, be sure to wear breezy and light color clothing, and drink plenty of water!   Finally, whenever possible, avoid going out on extreme temperature days.

2. Psychological stress management –Controlling psychological stress can be a tricky process.  Some people take antidepressants, while others try a more holistic approach of hypnotherapy.  Regardless of your choice, your goal is to find a way to deal with your mental stress in a way that works best for you.

3. Change your address – If you live in a climate that is not conducive to your condition, you should seriously consider moving to a place where the weather will be more complimentary, even if this means moving out of the country you currently live in.  Although this may sound extreme, if moving to a better climate will improve your IBS condition, don’t you think it’s worth it? Chances are if you improve your IBS symptoms, you’ll improve your quality of life. 
If you want to discover other ways to successfully reduce or eliminate your IBS symptoms, please click on the following link for more information: 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.

Taking Alternative IBS Meds with Prescribed Meds?

Posted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome on December 14th, 2006

Alternative medicine and complementary therapy is becoming more and more popular among IBS sufferers in America. In fact, it is estimated that more than 40% of Americans who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders seek complementary and alternative medicine for IBS (CAM). The reason is because IBS can often be hard to treat with prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Furthermore, many medications cause negative side effects that in some cases actually make the condition worse.

Alternative and complementary therapies are a holistic approach to treating IBS. These natural treatments typically involve proper diet management and stress reduction to help control, reduce and eliminate IBS symptoms.

You should know, however, that there is a slight difference between alternative medicines and complimentary therapy. Alternative medicine is taken instead of traditional medical treatments (drugs), whereas complementary therapy is when an IBS sufferer uses both alternative medicine and traditional medicine as treatment.

The following is a list of alternative medicines that are used as part of complimentary therapy:

Herbal therapy – The use of traditional Chinese medicines to treat IBS is a common alternative treatment. A combination of herbs may be used to treat IBS, or individual herbs may be prescribed to treat precise gastrointestinal symptoms. For instance, peppermint oil is used to reduce muscles spasms that can occur in the gastrointestinal tract which causes bloating and other uncomfortable symptoms. Other common herbs used include artichoke leaf extract and ginger.

Diet – IBS occurs in some people because one or more foods in their diet are aggravating the condition. A person can find out if certain foods in their diet are triggering attacks by keeping a food diary. For a few weeks a record is kept of everything they eat and the symptoms they experience after each meal. Eventually, an elimination diet can be created to help reduce symptoms. For instance, if an IBS suffer is prone to diarrhea, eliminating raw fruits and vegetables may help. On the contrary, someone who sufferers from constipation will benefit from a diet that is high in fiber.

In addition to an elimination diet, dietary supplements such as probiotics are helpful to some IBS sufferers. Probiotics can assist in regulating digestion and overall improvement of the immune system.

Hypnotherapy – Some people believe that IBS symptoms can be related to a person’s psyche. Hypnosis has been known to be an effective treatment for IBS sufferers as it helps them to relax and focus on soothing sensations and imagery related to their personal symptoms. The result has often been an overall improvement of health and wellbeing as well as, the IBS symptoms constipation, bloating and abdominal pain.

Movement and meditation therapy – Yoga and tai chi are the recommended therapies for treating IBS. These activities reduce stress and help symptoms of bloating, flatulence, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Other forms of alternative medicines include acupuncture and homeopathy.

It is usually safe to try alternative treatments when on prescribed medication. However, you should speak to your healthcare professional about alternative medicines and complimentary therapy before you start trying different treatments. Your doctor will likely be able to provide you with useful information regarding alternative treatments, or refer you to a specialist.

Keep in mind, that there is no evidence that suggests alternative medicine for IBS is better than traditional medication. This is likely because each IBS sufferer responds to different methods of treatment. Therefore, each case of IBS must be considered unique. After all, although one person’s IBS may be triggered by the food they eat, another’s could be caused by the weather.

For more information about 100% products to help support a healthy digestive system and reduce IBS symptoms please click on the following link:

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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.

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