What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a problem that few choose to talk about because it is not such a fun topic! Doctors see Irritable Bowel Syndrome the most out of all the common problems with digestion. In fact, about 20 percent of America deals with this rather uncomfortable problem.
IBS takes place in the bowels and large intestine and shows up as pain in the abdomen that comes and goes. This can be accompanied by diarrhea, gas, constipation, nausea, headache, cramps, fatigue and an urgent need to empty the bowels.
How is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosed?
Other than noticing the symptoms of IBS, there is no real easy way to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. It is found by eliminating all other conditions that could cause similar symptoms.
Your medical history will be looked at closely in the diagnostic process for irritable bowel syndrome and questions asked regarding all the symptoms you are experiencing. All of this information will be checked against the diagnostic criteria for irritable bowel syndrome.
Medical conditions that can present similar symptoms as Irritable Bowel Syndrome are: allergies, Crohn’s disease, intestinal infections, colon cancer, parasites or the colon becoming inflamed/blocked.
Based on a number of criteria the doctor will be able to easily decide which tests to administer. It is common for the blood to be checked in order to get a complete blood count. A urinalysis and stool sample might also be taken in an exam to determine whether IBS is what you are suffering from.
Treatment Options for IBS
If you are diagnosed with IBS then there are plenty of treatment options at your fingertips. Flare ups can be managed and symptoms dealt with so that you can go on to live a good life.
Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Medicines that often complement them are antispasmodics, anti-diarrhea tablets and laxatives. Make sure that you read the side effects especially if it was prescribed by the doctor. Many times the side effects are worse than the condition itself.
It is especially important that you get your lifestyle habits in order and start eating better. If you are looking for other alternative treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, then you could try acupuncture, colonic irrigation and probiotics.
Some of the prescription drugs for Irritable Bowel Syndrome have side effects like weakening the immune system, causing the electrolytes in your body to become out of balance.
Herbs and natural therapies that can help:
German Chamomile, Sutherlandia Frutescens, Meadowsweet and Ulmus Fulva. They all work to deal with inflammation and keep the digestive in good working order. Mentha Piperita is something you can use when you are getting a flare up. It will help to calm your digestive system down pretty quickly.
Other factors that may contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) include smoking, sensitivity to foods (especially dairy), overeating, eating irregularly or too quickly, use of antibiotics and other prescription drugs, candida overgrowth, as well as hormonal changes (most commonly during the menstrual cycle).
As Irritable Bowel Syndrome is often affected by diet, many people have found that eliminating or reducing certain foods from their diet can greatly relieve symptoms.
Common trigger foods often include:
- Spicy and fatty foods
- High-gas vegetables such as beans, cabbage, and cauliflower
- Caffeinated drinks, including tea and coffee
- Artificial sweeteners that contain sorbitol and aspartame
In addition, it may help your symptoms to increase your daily intake of dietary fiber and to drink plenty of water in order to regularly flush out toxins and detox your body. Fiber supplements which include Psyllium husks (such as ColoFlush by Native Remedies) have also been shown to help Irritable Bowel Syndrome.