What should you do if you have IBS? If you have IBS symptoms that interfere with your quality of life. This article will help you to prevent and manage IBS in simple and natural ways.
Causes Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Many people around us living with one or more IBS symptoms without knowing that what actually they are suffering from.
The actual cause of IBS is still unknown. However, GI problems are one of the more common health issues worldwide.
So today we going to know about the main causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.
Signs & Symptoms Of IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS affects between 6 to 18% of people worldwide. It involves changes in frequency or form of bowel movements, lower abdominal pain, diet stress, poor sleep, and also changes in gut bacteria.
However, triggers are different for each person making it difficult to name specific foods or stressors that everyone with the IBS should avoid.
A low FODMAP diet is one of the most promising lifestyle changes for alleviating symptoms.
Identifying specific trigger foods can be difficult as it may differ on a personal basis. keeping a diary of meals and ingredients can help identify triggers.
Probiotic supplements may also reduce symptoms. Additionally avoiding digestive stimulants such as Caffeine, Alcohol and Sugary beverages can reduce symptoms in some people.
Abdominal Pain & Cramps
Cramps and abdominal pains are the most common IBS symptoms and a key factor in diagnosis.
IBS is diagnosed by recurrent abdominal pain for at least six months, combined with weekly pain for three months.
Also, some combination of pain relief by bowel movements and changes in frequency or form of bowel movements.
Normally your gut and brain work together to regulate digestion. This happened by Hormones nerves and signals released by the friendly bacteria that live in your gut.
In IBS, these cooperative signals become distorted leading to painful tension in the muscles of the digestive tract.
This pain usually occurs in the lower abdomen or the entire abdomen but rare in the upper abdomen.
Some diet modifications a low FODMAPs diet may improve pain and other symptoms.
Other treatments include bowel relaxants like Peppermint oil and some other remedies which we will discuss later in this article.
Diarrhea is one of the main disorder that affects roughly one-third of patients with IBS.
Some patients describe it as a great source of stress, even avoiding some social situations due to fear of sudden Diarrhea onset.
The diarrhea type tends to be loose and watery and may contain mucus.
Now, blood isn’t typically associated with IBS. So please do get that checked out if you are having blood in any of your stool whether it be watery, hard.
Whatever it’s consistency, you really must consult a physician.
Well, IBS can cause constipation, as well as diarrhea. Generally, constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week.
Constipation is the most common symptom affecting nearly 50% of people with IBS.
About 20% of patients with IBS experience these alternating periods of having Constipation and Diarrhea.
Throughout each phase, whether that is Constipation or Diarrhea, people tend to report that they do feel a significant reduction in pain when they have passed a bowel movement.
A disturbed communication between the brain and bowel may increase or slow down the normal transit time of stool.
When transit time slows the bowel, absorbs more water from stool and it becomes more difficult to pass.
Constipation and IBS also often causes a sensation of an incomplete bowel movement.
Exercise, drinking more water, eating Soluble Fiber, taking Probiotics, and limited use of Laxatives may help for alternating constipation and diarrhea.
Changes In Bowel Movements
As the intestine absorbs water, slow-moving stool in the intestine often becomes dehydrated & creates hard stool. Now, this can really exacerbate symptoms of constipation.
Prompt movement of the stool to the intestine leaves little time for absorption of water and results in the loose stools characteristic of Diarrhea.
IBS may also cause mucus to accumulate in the patient’s stool. This is not seen in the other causes of constipation.
Blood in the stool may be a sign of another potentially serious medical condition and deserves a visit to your doctor.
The sliding stool may appear red but often appears very dark or black.
Bloating And Gas
Gas and bloating can be really frustrating and really embarrassing and it always seems to be at the worst times and my experience at least supposedly.
Altered digestion in IBS produces more gas within the gut.
This can cause bloating which is very uncomfortable. Many people with IBS identified bloating as one of the most persistent symptoms.
Avoiding Lactose and other fodmap diets should really help reduce gas and bloating.
Up to 70% of individuals with IBS report that particular foods trigger IBS symptoms.
Two-thirds of people with IBS actively avoid certain foods, sometimes these individuals exclude multiple foods from the diet.
In fact, food Intolerances play a big part in IBS symptoms.
If you eat something that doesn’t agree with you, it really creates digestive problems, in some cases for days.
While the trigger foods list varies from person to person. For some people, things like Onion, Garlic, and Caffeine are very very high on that trigger food list.
Some other people can not tolerate gas-producing foods such as Lactose and Gluten.
Sleeping Disorder & Fatigue
Over half of people with IBS report fatigue. IBS is also related to Insomnia which includes difficulty falling asleep, waking frequently, and feeling unrest, Anxiety, and Depression.
If your Gut is not o.k, you Can’t get a good quality night’s sleep. Whereas fatigue and poor sleep may trigger further IBS symptoms.
Anxiety And Depression
Also, IBS is linked to Anxiety and Depression.
It’s unclear whether IBS symptoms are an expression of mental stress or whether the stress of living with IBS makes people more prone to psychological difficulties.
A lot of people complain about it and to be honest, it’s not a surprise because if you have IBS, most of the time you may be worried about how to respond to IBS symptoms.
You may be worried about having symptoms at work, or when you are out with friends
So, when you have IBS, a lot of the time you’re worried about your IBS symptoms that lead to Anxiety.
So the thing is when you are worried it really affects your go so you can literally set off symptoms just because you’re worried about having symptoms.
Well, Nausea is one of the most problematic symptoms for many people. It is one of the most debilitating symptoms that can really affect all areas of your life and your daily routine.
Studies have found that four out of 10 women and three out of ten men with IBS do not have Nausea as a symptom of their IBS.
Remember, Nausea may be an IBS symptom and it is also a symptom of other Gastrointestinal diseases.
So if you’re suffering a lot with Nausea and acid also its better to consult a doctor.
Foods That Triggers IBS Symptoms
Now, these are some foods that can act as an IBS trigger. Remember, IBS triggers vary from person to person.
Not everyone with IBS experiences the same symptoms with the same foods.
You can also help decrease symptoms of IBS by taking regular breakfast and getting smaller meals instead of three big ones.
If you’re suffering from IBS, you probably heard the advice that avoiding spicy foods is good. you know from an Ayurvedic point of view this is also almost always a good thing to avoid.
The important thing of IBS is that most people no matter what type of IBS they are suffering from has got a certain degree of inflammation or irritation in their digestive tract especially the lower part of the Small Intestine and the Colon.
This is mainly due to spicy foods because these spicy foods burn the Mucous membranes.
So, you know that if you put a bit of chili in your mouth straight away you feel that burning feeling.
On the other hand, there are actually some spices which are mild and actually very helpful in conditions like IBS.
Things like Fennel, Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric if you use these in moderate amounts in your cooking or as teas these can be very useful.
They can soothe the mucous membranes and also remove some of the digestive toxins which are aggravating your IBS symptoms.
Of course, you won’t need to be told what things are spicy because when you eat them they’ll make you get a burning feeling.
Chili’s hot sauce, Tabasco for example and Mustard these are the things that you would be best to avoid altogether if you have IBS.
So always try to use mild spices in cooking or as teas and see how they help.
Well, Alcohol is a strong GI irritant and a potential Colon Carcinogen. It can cause painful Spasms, Urgency, and Diarrhea as well as Bloating and Rebound constipation.
The worst drinks ones that contain other IBS triggers as well as Carbonated drinks, Coffee, Dairy, or Coconut cream, Fruit juices that are high in Fructose.
Does this mean that you can never drink any alcohol at all? It might but maybe not.
If you are not sure Alcohol bothers you eliminate it and get your diet stabilized. Don’t just assume, one drink won’t hurt you so you never take the step of eliminating all Alcohol.
This is a very common pattern with the foods and drinks that people really don’t want to give up that favorite cocktail before dinner. But it’s better to know for sure how your body reacts to triggers.
Unfortunately, IBS doesn’t often respond to wishful thinking.
If you are already stable, carefully try one drink and see how it affects.
Your tolerance is better when your IBS is stable as your GI tract is less hypersensitive.
How you drink not just what you drink could make quite a difference.
One light drink after a high soluble Fiber meal or a dose of tummy Fiber may be tolerable.
White wine may be safer for IBS than Red wine and the Beer seems to be big trouble.
Having a drink when you are feeling relaxed instead of stress can make a big difference. If you do drink have at least one glass of water for each Alcoholic beverage.
Actually, Alcohol is very dehydrating and this seriously impacts constipation and bloating.
Cooking with Alcohol is usually very tolerable. The Alcohol evaporates and carbonation dissipates, you’ll get all of the flavors but none of the risk.
If you have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis as well as IBS, avoid Alcohol completely.
Fats are a huge GI stimulant whether you have IBS or not. With IBS these high-fat foods often trigger an overreaction of the Gastrocolic reflex.
When food enters your stomach it triggers the Gastrocolic reflex which cues your colon to start contracting.
If you ever had an IBS attack just minutes after eating the wrong thing, blame your Gastrocolic reflex. The more calories in a food, the stronger that reflex.
Fats can cause Painful spasms, Urgency, Gas, Diarrhea, Constipation, and Bloating.
Worst high-fat triggers can be
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Fried foods
- Greasy dressings and Sauces
A low-fat diet is key for managing IBS but low fat does not mean fat-free. Keep your fat intake to 20 to 25% of total calories and make your fats count.
It makes no difference to your Gastrocolic reflex if you eat lard or extra-virgin Olive oil but it makes quite a difference to your heart, cancer risks, and your overall health.
Try to focus on Monounsaturated fats and essential fatty acids. Use Olive oil, Avocados, finely Ground Nuts, Fatty Fish, Flax oil, Hemp oil in small quantities with a soluble fiber foundation.
Getting too much Fiber in the form of Grains can increase your bathroom visits.
Whole grains may be a culprit in your IBS symptoms. Certain grains like Wheat and Barley contain Gluten.
At least half of IBS patients are also found Gluten intolerant.
Gluten is a type of protein that can damage your intestines and trigger symptoms of IBS.
While an allergy to Gluten is known as the Celiac disease.
Milk & Dairy Products
Milk is problematic for two reasons.
First milk contains Fat which can increase the Diarrhea. You may need to switch to low fat or nonfat milk to minimize symptoms.
Second many IBS patients are Lactose intolerant. This means their systems can’t digest milk products.
You may still eat Yogurt but you might have to switch to soy milk.
Beans are generally a great source of Protein and Fiber but they can be a source to trigger IBS symptoms.
While the food can increase Bulk stool to help constipation it also increases Gas, Bloating and Cramps.
If you are a typical IBS patient, you should mark this item on your list of foods to avoid.
Coffee has a stimulating effect on the Intestines that can increase Diarrhea and other IBS symptoms.
Also Coffee and other beverages that contain Caffeine are off-limits for people with IBS.
Best Foods For IBS
These are some foods that are good at IBS. These foods really help in IBS.
Yogurt that has live cultures can help cure IBS related Diarrhea.
This is because live cultures are Gut-friendly bacteria that add a layer of protection in the intestines and also help make Lactic acid to clean the body from Pathogens.
You can use plain Yogurt can make a smoothie, both ways it works great.
Another good and effective way to use it is to mix 1/2 TSP of Psyllium Husk with 1 cup of Yogurt and use it one hour after your lunch and dinner.
Continue until you feel better.
Well, Flax seeds are great for treating both constipation and Diarrhea due to two main reasons.
- Flax seeds have Dietary Fibers they help the body send out waste quickly and smoothly.
- Flaxseeds also have a lot of Omega-3 essential fatty acids that help the body’s immune system and also the digestive system to stay strong.
Just take one tablespoon of ground Flaxseed with water once a day.
You can also make tea by adding one teaspoon of Flaxseed in one cup of boiling water. let it sit for five to 10 minutes. Use this tea daily before going to bed.
It will keep your stomach clean and free from gas.
Spinach is one of the best home remedies for IBS. Spinach is rich in soluble Fiber, Potassium, and Iron.
It helps to remove the accumulated Mucus from the intestine. Also, Spinach is easy to digest.
Potatoes have a great number of carbohydrates and Starch that boosts your energy levels and also helps you to cure Diarrhea.
Use boiled Potatoes because fried Potatoes can further aggravate the IBS symptoms.
Now if you have IBS related Diarrhea, boiled rice just once in a day can really help you to get relief.
Boiled rice is a stomach-friendly food and can be easily digested.
Some people suffering from IBS also add yogurt into boiled rice to get a more soothing effect.
It is used as an effective remedy for IBS. Ginger can significantly reduce Bloating and gas.
Moreover, Ginger can lower the swelling in the intestines and relaxes the intestinal muscles.
add 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to a cup of boiled water. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and Remove the Ginger.
Add some Honey and your Ginger tea for IBS is ready. You can use this Ginger tea 2 or 3 times daily to get relief from cramps and Stomach pain.
Carrots are really good option to help both Diarrhea and constipation treatment.
Fresh carrots are very useful in reducing IBS symptoms but raw Carrots can further aggravate IBS and also leads to Stomach pain.
Peppermint can be helpful with cramps, Bloating and IBS related diarrhea.
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal found that Fiber, Anti-spasmodics, and Peppermint oil all helped treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Peppermint oil contains Menthol oil which eases cramps or spasms in the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. This stops Bloating, gas, pain, and Intestinal cramps.
Peppermint can facilitate food to pass through the stomach easily.
Mix one or two drops of Peppermint oil into a quarter cup of warm water. Use it three or four times daily until you feel better.
Fennel seeds can stop the intestinal spasms and bloat due to IBS.
It can also help send fats out of the digestive system and therefore stop the body from making too much mucus which can cause IBS.
add 1/2 or one teaspoons of crushed Fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water. Let it sit for 10 minutes, strain it and use this refreshing tea.
You can use a cup of this tea two to three times daily to stop and to reduce IBS symptoms.
You need to always have a good diet and a healthy lifestyle to avoid Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Adopt some healthy activities that can stop you from getting stressed like regular exercise or Meditation. Both are a good way to help with bowel discomfort.
Such healthy activities will keep your Intestines running in a regular manner.
If you have any success story related to your IBS, please share your experience.
Have a Happy & Healthy Life.