Irritable Bowel Symptoms and Irritable Bowel Treatments

What Is IBS?

Dinner was delicious, and now, less than an hour later, your abdomen is distended and painful. You go over what you ate in your mind, trying to see if there was a food trigger for the familiar yet uncomfortable feelings - sometimes you are able to find one and other times you are not. That's the thing about irritable bowel disease, often there is no telling what causes it, it just is. According to the definition furnished under Irritable Bowel, Wiki-pedia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS or spastic colon) is a diagnosis of exclusion. It is a functional bowel disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alternation of bowel habits in the absence of any detectable organic cause. In some cases, the symptoms are relieved by bowel movements. Diarrhea or constipation may predominate or they may alternate.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel

Irritable bowel symptoms are similar to other conditions, and since clinical testing for IBS usually show no abnormalities, it is a difficult to pin it down. Some of the conditions that present in the same manner as irritable bowel disease include celiac disease, fructose malabsorption, mild infections, parasitic infections (giardiasis), and a number of different inflammatory bowel diseases. The cause of IBS is not known and there is no cure for it. Irritable bowel syndrome diarrhea is frequently experienced, although it may alternate with constipation. Either way, the result is unpleasant and there have been associations with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, headache, backache and mental/emotional symptoms of depression and anxiety. The mental and emotional impact of IBS is also linked to other psychological disorders and a connection between IBS and attention deficit has been made.

No Cure - But Some Effective Treatments Are Available

Even though there is no cure for IBS, there are several different irritable bowel treatments that can be effective in relieving symptoms. One such treatment is through diet. Since IBS is a gastrointestinal problem, it makes sense to monitor the diet and make changes and adjustments to ease the discomfort and bring some calm to the turmoil of an upset gut. There is no specific diet recommended by the medical establishment, however, many professionals and IBS sufferers have offered helpful hints in dealing with the problem. Irritable bowel syndrome diets all basically revolve around soluble fiber rather than insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber for an irritable bowel diet includes foods that are considered safe - like rice, pasta, oatmeal, fresh white breads, rice cereals, flour and corn tortillas, carrots, yams, potatoes and sweet potatoes. These foods are non-abrasive and do not inflame the colon. It is recommended that these foods are eaten first, on an empty stomach, before adding other foods. That way, they coat the intestinal track. Insoluble fibers can be eaten, but in order to gain control of the condition, initially, it is not recommended that they be included in the irritable bowel diet. Such foods as wholewheat flour and breads, cereal and bran, whole grains, granola, muesli, seeds, nuts, beans and popcorn are all irritants to the colon and should be avoided until such time as the condition is under control. Trigger foods are foods that create an instant reaction, such as red meat, dairy products (although goat seems to be fine for some people), egg yolks, fried foods and coconut milk. A low fat diet is fine, but it is important to ensure that healthy fats are included in the irritable bowel diet.

Medications and Alternative Answers

People who suffer mostly with irritable bowel syndrome diarrhea may be advised to use antispasmodics as they may help with cramps or diarrhea. Antidiarrheals, such as opiate, opioid, or opioid analogs like codeine seem to work well for diarrhea-predominant IBS. Constipation is most commonly dealt with by the use of laxatives, however, the type of laxative used is critical to its success and to avoiding cathartic colon, which is associated with stimulant laxatives.

Alternative medicine has shown to have some effective treatments for IBS - among them, probiotics. Determining which type of probiotics is best is something that will require further research, however, they do show excellent results. Other herbal remedies include peppermint oil and a multi-herbal extract called Iberogast. This mixtures was found to be effective in the treatment of abdominal pain and IBS symptoms. Yoga and acupuncture are also included in the alternative treatment list as being methods of relief for IBS sufferers.

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