Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Why You Feel Regular Discomfort in Your Belly Hours After A Meal.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome graphic
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The name 'Irritable Bowel Syndrome' may sound like a name that fell from space but trust me it's a problem a lot of us are very familiar with (I'm not pointing hands...) and often misdiagnose as 'common' diarrhea or constipation, although, diarrhea and constipation are actually associated symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome.

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon) commonly causing cramping, recurrent abdominal pains, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and constipation. All these really annoying symptoms are as a result of changes in the pattern of bowel movements without any evidence of underlying damage. Despite the fact that signs and symptoms are uncomfortable, Irritable bowel syndrome doesn't bring about changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of cancer. Just a little number of individuals with Irritable Bowel Disorder have extreme signs and side effects. A few people can control their symptoms by completely changing their eating habits, way of life and anxiety.
According to a recent study, about 10 to 15% of people in the developed world are believed to be affected by Irritable bowel syndrome. It is more common in South America and less common in Southeast Asia.  Sorry ladies, It is twice as common in women as men and typically occurs before age 45. The condition appears to become less common with age. Irritable bowel syndrome does not affect life expectancy or lead to other serious diseases. The first description of the condition was in 1820 while the current name of the condition "irritable bowel syndrome" came into use in 1944.

regular discomfort in your stomach
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If you can relate to this image above after a nice meal of Beans Porridge, my guess is that you already understand what I'm talking about here. If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you must have discovered by now that the symptoms are triggered by certain things you eat or do, not just beans.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Causes

The causes of irritable bowel syndrome are not really clear, but a variety of factors contribute to triggering the symptoms. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract and relax in a coordinated rhythm as they move food from your stomach through your intestinal tract to your rectum. That's what happens in the body of 'normal people'. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, the contractions may be stronger and last longer than normal, causing gasbloating and diarrhoea. Or the opposite may occur, with weak intestinal contractions slowing food passage and leading to hard, dry stools. In summary, you're going to have a really bad day.

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Abnormalities in your gastrointestinal nervous system also may play a role, causing you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can make your body overreact to the changes that normally occur in the digestive process. This overreaction can cause pain, diarrhoea or constipation.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Triggers

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Triggers
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Just like most disorders, triggers for irritable bowel syndrome vary from person to person. Stimuli that don't trouble other people can trigger side effects in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome— however not all individuals with the condition respond to the same stimuli. Normal triggers include:
  • Foods: I don't know about you but I know Food to be a major cause of irritable bowel syndrome. The role of food allergy or intolerance in irritable bowel syndrome is not yet clearly understood, but many people have more severe symptoms when they eat certain things. A wide range of foods has been identified — chocolate, spices, fats, fruits, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, milk, carbonated beverages and alcohol to name a few. You must have noticed that whenever you enjoy a meal containing any of the above foods, your body seems to always reject it. It's like something in the food irritates the epithelial lining of the intestine and it starts with bloating then gas... then...You know the rest.
  • Stress: The vast majority with irritable bowel syndrome find that their signs and symptoms are worse or more frequent during periods of increased stress, such as the final week of exams or the first weeks on a new job. But while stress may aggravate symptoms, it doesn't cause them.
  • Hormones: Since ladies are twice as liable to have irritable bowel syndrome, scientists trust that hormonal changes assume a part in this condition. Numerous ladies find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual periods.
  • Different ailments: Sometimes another illness, such as an acute episode of infectious diarrhoea (gastroenteritis) or too many bacteria in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth), can trigger irritable bowel syndrome.
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A lot of people have occasional signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but you're more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome if you:
  • Are young. Bad news young people, irritable bowel syndrome tends to occur in people under age 45.
  • Are female. Overall, about twice as many women as men have the condition.
  • Have a family history of irritable bowel syndrome. Studies suggest that people who have a family member with irritable bowel syndrome may be at increased risk of the condition. The influence of family history on irritable bowel syndrome risk may be related to genes, shared factors in a family's environment or both.
  • Have a mental health problem. Anxiety, depression, a personality disorder and a history of childhood sexual abuse are risk factors. For women, domestic abuse may be a risk factor as well. 

 Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment and Management

Because it's not clear what causes irritable bowel syndrome, treatment focuses on the relief of symptoms so that you can live as normally as possible. In most cases, you can successfully control mild signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by learning to manage stress and making changes in your diet and lifestyle.

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It's quite simple, try to avoid foods that trigger your symptoms and you should be fine. Also try to get enough exercise, drink plenty of fluids and get enough sleep.
If your problems are moderate or severe, you may need more than lifestyle changes. Your doctor may suggest medications. 

Dietary changes that could help include:
  • Eliminating high-gas foods. It's a no-brainer. If you have this constant bloating or are passing considerable amounts of gas, your doctor may suggest that you cut out such items as Beans, carbonated beverages, vegetables— especially cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower — and raw fruits.
  • Eliminating gluten. Research shows that some people with irritable bowel syndrome report improvement in diarrhoea symptoms if they stop eating gluten (wheat, barley and rye). This recommendation remains controversial, and the evidence is not clear.
  • Fibre supplements. Taking fibre supplements, such as psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel), with fluids may help control constipation. The fibre obtained from food may cause much more bloating compared with a fibre supplement. If fibre doesn't help symptoms, your doctor may prescribe an osmotic laxative such as milk of magnesia or polyethene glycol.
According to mayoclinic, possible medications you can take to control symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome include;
  • Anti-diarrheal medications. Over-the-counter medications, such as loperamide (Imodium), can help control diarrhoea. Some people will benefit from medications called bile acid binders, such as cholestyramine (Prevalite), colestipol (Colestid) or colesevelam (Welchol), but these can lead to bloating. Metronidazole, marketed under the brand name Flagyl among others used either alone or with other antibiotics may also be effective in IBS control.
  • Antibiotics. Some people whose symptoms are due to an overgrowth of bacteria in their intestines may benefit from antibiotic treatment. Some people with symptoms of diarrhoea have benefited from rifaximin (Xifaxan), but more research is needed.
  • Counseling. You may benefit from counselling if you have depression or if stress tends to worsen your symptoms.

You Could Change Your Lifestyle

In many cases, simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome.

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Although your body may not respond immediately to these changes, your goal is to find long-term, not temporary, solutions:
  • Avoid problem foods. If certain foods make your signs and symptoms worse, don't eat them. It may seem like torture but you're actually doing yourself a lot of good. These may include Beans, alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated beverages such as coffee and sodas, medications that contain caffeine, dairy products, and sugar-free sweeteners such as sorbitol or mannitol. If gas is a problem for you, foods that might make symptoms worse include beans, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Fatty foods also may be a problem for some people. Chewing gum or drinking through a straw can lead to swallowing air, causing more gas.
  • Take care with dairy products. If you're lactose intolerant, try substituting yoghurt for milk. Or use an enzyme product to help break down lactose. Consuming small amounts of milk products or combining them with other foods also may help. In some cases, though, you may need to stop eating dairy foods completely. If so, be sure to get enough protein, calcium and B vitamins from other sources.
  • Drink plenty of liquids. Try to drink plenty of fluids every day. Water is best. Alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine stimulate your intestines and can make diarrhoea worse, and carbonated drinks can produce gas.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps relieve depression and stress, stimulates normal contractions of your intestines, and can help you feel better about yourself. If you've been inactive, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you exercise. If you have other medical problems, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
  • Use anti-diarrheal medications and laxatives with caution.If you try over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications, such as Imodium or Kaopectate, use the lowest dose that helps. Imodium may be helpful if taken 20 to 30 minutes before eating, especially if you know that the food planned for your meal is likely to cause diarrhoea.
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In the long run, these medications can cause problems if you don't use them correctly. If you have any questions about them, check with your doctor or pharmacist. Overall, It's recommended you see your Doctor before taking any form of medication. Thanks for reading. Endeavour to share this post with your friends using the share buttons below and let them learn something new. Subscribe to our newsletter to get more amazing updates directly to your email.


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