How To Manage IBS

How To Manage IBS

The Tummy Clinic | February 22nd, 2022

Don’t let Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) weigh you down. Tackle it and live free!

Are you or your loved ones traumatized by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? Is IBS impacting your life and wearing you down? Are you constantly suffering from cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and/or constipation? Well, this common disorder that affects the large intestine and plays havoc with one’s life is a chronic condition, but there’s no need to panic or lose all hope of leading a happy, healthy life. With the correct support, IBS can be managed commendably.

It is only a minuscule number of people who showcase severe signs and symptoms of IBS. Most others control the symptoms by keeping their stress levels under control, and by managing their lifestyle through proper diet and regular exercise. People with very severe symptoms are best treated by medication and counselling. Incidentally, neither does IBS cause a change in bowel tissue, nor does it increase one’s risk of colorectal cancer.

Indicators & Symptoms

The symptoms of IBS differ from person-to-person, but the most common ones are:

  • Cramping, bloating and abdominal pain while having a bowel movement.
  • A change in the appearance of a stool.
  • Alterations in the schedule of your bowel movements.
  • Increased gas or mucus in the stool.

Professional Diagnosis for IBS

IBS can be physically daunting and mentally harrowing. So when is the best time to go and see a doctor? Well, go to a doctor if you have a persistent change in bowel habits, or any of the other signs mentioned above.

In case you experience more severe signs of IBS, it could be an indicator of a more serious condition, such as colon cancer. The more severe symptoms comprise:

  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Diarrhoea, especially at night.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Anaemia caused by iron deficiency.
  • Unexplained vomiting.
  • Difficulty while swallowing.
  • Constant pain that is not relieved by passing gas nor a bowel movement.

Sources & Causes of IBS

Though the specific causes of IBS have not been completely ascertained, here are some definitive factors that could be playing a key role:

  • Gut Health: When changes take place in the gut microbes, IBS could raise its painful head. Anychange in the bacteria, fungi and viruses typically found in the intestines could impact one’s gut health. Research has demonstrated that the microbes in people’s intestines with IBS differs from those in people not suffering from IBS.
  • Intestinal Muscle Contractions: Our intestinal walls are lined with layers of muscle that contract as they move food through our digestive tract. Stronger and longer than normal contractions generally cause gas, bloating and diarrhoea. Contrastingly, weak intestinal contractions slow down the passage of the food, giving rise to hard and dry stools.
  • Drastic Infections:There is a possibility that IBS could develop after a severe bout of diarrhoea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus.
  • Childhood Anxiety:Anyone who has been exposed to extreme stress, especially in their early years, or is constantly susceptible to a stress-filled lifestyle, tends to be prone to IBS.
  • The Nervous System Matrix: Irregularities in our digestive system’s nerves could make us experience uneasiness when our abdomen stretches due to gas or stools. Moreover, badly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can cause our body to overreact to the changes occurring during the digestive process. This cycle results in pain, constipation or diarrhoea.

Terrible Triggers

IBS can be activated by various triggers; chief among them are…

  • Stress:People with stress are highly prone to IBS. Symptoms of IBS during stressful periods are acutely heightened. However, it is crucial to note that stress only aggravates but does not cause IBS symptoms.
  • Food: The role that food allergies and food intolerances play in IBS has not been properly understood. Real food allergies rarely cause IBS. Most people generally have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink certain foods or beverages that include high FODMAP’s.

High Risk Group

While several people have irregular bouts of IBS, certain categories of people are more likely to have IBS. These comprise…

  • Young people: frequently under the age of 50.
  • Women: it has been noted thatIBS is more common among females. Also estrogen therapy before or after menopause could contribute to IBS.

Other Assorted IBS Factors

  • Genes, family history and environment: individually or a combination of these factorsplay a major role in the cause of IBS.
  • Mental health issues: while anxiety and depression could bring on IBS,sexual, physical or emotional abuse could also be high risk factors.
  • Complications: constipation or diarrhoea not only causes discomfort, but can also cause haemorrhoids.
  • Quality of life: people with moderate to severe IBS end up living a life that is not entirely productive. Research has reported that those impacted by IBS miss thrice the amount of work days compared to those without IBS.
  • Mood disorders:IBS often brings on depression and/or anxiety. These conditions, in turn, make IBS worse.

Now that you know about the causes of IBS and the ways to control it, follow the advice and live holistically. Also, if required, seek help to live freely, confidently and happily!

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by a variety of symptoms, including cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long term. The cause is not well understood.

There is no definitive test to diagnose IBS. IBS is diagnosed after your doctor has reviewed your symptoms and occasionally ordered tests to rule out other conditions.

Visits at the Tummy Clinic are not covered by OHIP, however most extended healthcare plans cover many aspects of the care you will receive here, such as visits to Naturopathic Doctors, Dieticians, Social Workers or Psychotherapists. Check your benefits package or contact your insurance company for more information.