diagnosing ibs - A Brief Overview Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
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A Brief Overview Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition effecting up to 20% of the population and the numbers are rising. There are more women sufferers than men and the age that it commonly starts is at around twenty. It is classed as a 'functional' disorder as it alters the way the body works and therefore is not diagnosable using traditional means such as examination or blood test.


Choosing the right foods rich in soluble fiber and drinking a lot of water can greatly help in reducing the usual symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.


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 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Dr. Maia Dodds is the author of ‘The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Improvement Program' See www.irritablebowelsyndromeip.com for details, further research and articles. Write directly at maia@irritablebowelsyndromeip.com - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Processed goods and beverages can form gas, which accumulates in the digestive tract and the stomach causing bloating, gassiness and pain from the pressure. These gases can cause irritation and thereby causing forceful responses by the gastrocolic reflex (This is the reflex that causes contractions in the colon responsible for moving waste along its length)

There are medications available that play a role in relieving the symptoms. Fiber supplements or laxatives are sometimes prescribed for constipation, there are also drugs available to reduce diarrhea and control colon muscle spasms. Antidepressants may also be prescribed. Your doctor will talk through the most appropriate approach for you to take, determined by the symptoms that you suffer from.

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is the most commonly diagnosed intestinal disorder in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. It is not a disease but a collection of symptoms like abdominal pain, which is the most common symptom, abdominal bloating or distension and irregular bowel patterns characterized by diarrhea, constipation or both. There is no definite cause or cure for the condition but several types of irritable bowel treatment have been developed to provide sufferers with the same degree of comfort and functionality as any other non-IBS sufferer.

If you start to notice irregular bowel movements or suffer prolonged abdominal discomfort you could be suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Keeping a diary to monitor food intake, exercise and stress levels is a good idea to track anything that may exacerbate your symptoms. When diagnosing IBS your medical practitioner will ask you for a general history of your bowel movements so keeping records will come in handy.

Certain foods are also recognized as triggers for IBS, such as fatty foods, caffeine and dairy products. Keeping a food diary will help you identify if eating these foods cause your symptoms to flare up and you can eliminate them in line with advice from your doctor.

Although not the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, stress can be a contributing factor to its symptoms. Try to introduce some relaxation techniques into your day such as meditation, yoga, exercise or any activity that you enjoy.

About the author:
Paul Gustafson RN, BSN, CH runs HealthyHypnosis.com of
Burlington, Massachusetts. His 11 years of acute cardiac and
hospice experience offer a solid foundation supporting his
clinical approach to hypnotherapy. Visit HealthyHypnosis.com or
call toll free at 888-290-3972.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastro-intestinal (GI) condition with no known cause or cure. It causes the GI tract to move too quickly (hypermotility) or too slowly (hypomotility) and the resulting symptoms include any one or a combination of the following: diarrhea, constipation, cramping, gas, pain or bloating. Symptoms usually run in cycles lasting for days, months or years. IBS can be disabling making sufferers feel like prisoners in their own home. IBS affects 35 million Americans, 4 of 5 are women, and it is more prevalent than asthma, diabetes, acid reflux and depression combined. There are likely millions who never pursue treatment due to embarrassment. 10% of all primary care physician visits are IBS related. It is the 2nd leading cause for employee absenteeism and costs the US 8 billion dollars/year. Diagnosing IBS is a process of exclusion which means a physician needs to rule out conditions such as lactose intolerance, Chron's disease, bacterial infections, parasites, dumping syndrome, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac and gallbladder disease before a diagnosis of IBS can be determined. The onset of symptoms ranges between the ages of 20-29 in adults and 9-11 in children. Onset of symptoms can sometimes be traced back to a traumatic event, illness, injury or accident. Some clients just begin having symptoms early in life for no apparent reason at all. IBS is also known to be familial. Many IBS sufferers go through life with no idea of what normal gastro-intestinal function is like. IBS symptoms can be aggravated by stress, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, foods high in animal or vegetable fat, beverages containing dyes, artificial sweeteners, food or medication sensitivities or hormone fluctuation but none are the cause. Some research indicates that IBS sufferers may have an abundance of specialized cells in the intestinal tract making them more reactive and sensitive. Irregular GI motility is responsible for the discomfort and inconsistent bowel movements. If the GI tract moves too quickly the body doesn't get enough time to absorb what it needs resulting in diarrhea. If it moves too slowly the body absorbs too much resulting in constipation. This erratic pattern can dramatically affects how nutrients are absorbed and how effective the colon absorbs waste out of the blood stream. (1) Traditional medical intervention includes high fiber diets, antispasmodics to relieve cramping and spasms; antidepressants to relieve the emotional burden and antidiarrhea medication. Research indicates that this approach offers symptom relief to only 25%. Because IBS is not life threatening, is not a precursor to acute illness and is undetectable with diagnostic equipment, sufferers are usually told they have to live with it. Hypnosis is the process of accessing subconscious thought which is the control center. The reason hypnosis is so effective for weight loss and smoking cessation is because the subconscious is where all of our habits, patterns, values and beliefs reside. Clients can be empowered to reframe their view of nutrition, exercise and to release unhealthy patterns in favor more positive ones. The subconscious mind also regulates our body's inner network of complicated mechanisms. It regulates our heart and respiratory rate, co-ordinates every step we take and controls the thousands of metabolic functions everyday of our lives. With unique access to this immensely powerful place hypnosis can positively redirect specific areas of GI function. Hypnosis as a treatment for IBS has been researched for 20 years and although it does not offer a cure it stands alone as the most significant long term symptom relief solution. The success rate of hypnosis relieving IBS symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation is consistently high ranging from 70-95%. Symptom relief usually lasts at least two years. Clients who do not respond as well to hypnosis treatment for IBS relief are those over 50 years of age, who are less open to process of hypnosis, those with psychiatric disorders, and one study indicates males with diarrhea as their major symptom. (2) For decades hypnosis has been one of the most misunderstood and overlooked holistic sciences but that is changing quickly. The best way to gain acceptance by the mainstream medical community is with the empirical evidence from scientific research. For 20 years researchers like Olafur S. Palsson, Peter Whorwell, William Gonsalkorale and L.A. Houghton have been studying the benefits of hypnosis for symptoms of IBS. The following are brief descriptions of some of their findings. One study compared 25 severe IBS clients treated with hypnosis to 25 patients with similar symptom severity treated with other methods. The hypnosis group showed that in addition to significant IBS symptom improvement they had fewer MD visits, lost less work time and rated an improved quality of life. Hypnosis clients unable to work before treatment went back to work afterwards. The study shows the economic benefits and improved health-related quality of life. (3) Another study which is the largest to date followed 250 IBS clients who were treated with 12 hypnosis sessions over a 3-month period and they also listened to recorded sessions at home. The conclusions showed dramatic improvement in all IBS symptoms. The average reduction in symptoms was more than 50% as well as increased quality of life and relief from anxiety and depression. (4) Lastly, the longest study to date treated and followed 204 IBS clients for up to 6 years. 71% showed immediate improvement, and 81% of this group was still improved years later. Quality of life scores were also still significantly improved at follow-up. Patients had less MD visits and required less medication long-term after hypnotherapy. Results indicate that most hypnosis clients benefit for at least five years. (5) (1) Melissa J. Roth C.Ht., Ph.D.; Hypnosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (2) Olafur S. Palsson, Psy.D. Hypnosis Treatment of IBS, Participate, fall 2002 (3) Houghton LA; Heyman DJ; Whorwell PJ.Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 1996 Feb. (4) Gonsalkorale WM, Houghton LA, Whorwell PJ. Am J Gastroenterol 2002 (5) Gonsalkorale WM, Miller V, Afzal A, Whorwell PJ. Gut. 2003 Nov.

 
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About the author:
Dr. Maia Dodds fucusses on the treatment of IBS. She has
compiled international clinical research and personal experience
in her new book 'Irritable Bowel Syndrome Improvement Program'.

It is not a commonly understood condition, with the medical community unable to clarify the exact cause. IBS appears to occur due to the body's inability to regulate the bowel functions correctly. This leads to a number of unpleasant symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, excessive wind and irregular bowel movements including constipation and/or diarrhoea. However, there are treatments available to allow sufferers to manage their symptoms.

About the author:
Kirsten Whittaker has an interest in IBS. You can find further
articles at HREF=http://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ibs-articles/ target="_blank">ht
tp://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ibs-articles/ and
additional IBS information at HREF=http://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ target="_blank">http://www.irri
tablebowelsyndromeguide.info/

Study confirms IBS improvement Dr. Maia Dodds Irritable bowel syndrome is a debilitating and distressing condition, which affects 10-20% of the population. IBS is characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel function such as constipation, diarrhea or alternating diarrhea and constipation. Some people have occasional symptoms, which can be aggravated by stress or food intolerances. Others experience crippling symptoms, and struggle to maintain their quality of life in the absence of any targeted, effective pharmaceutical treatments. This disorder affects people of all ages and backgrounds, including children, although women are predominantly affected. Severe IBS can dramatically restrict mobility, through loss of control of bowel function and severe abdominal pain. These symptoms contribute to IBS being second only to the common cold as the most frequent cause of absenteeism from work and school. Despite the significant impact on individuals and the population at large, there is no clear established cause for IBS. Whilst medical investigations are important to eliminate the possibility of an over-lapping pathology such as parasites, candida, inflammatory bowel disease, cealiacs or Crohn's disease, there is no specific investigation which patients can test positive for in order to confirm a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A diagnosis of IBS is more often a diagnosis of exclusion - if its not another gastrointestinal condition, and it fits the symptom picture of IBS, then it is IBS. The current accepted criteria for diagnosing IBS is the Rome criteria (adopted in medical texts and by the American Gastroenterological Association). Their definition of IBS consists of: At least 12 weeks, which need not be consecutive, in the preceding 12 months of abdominal discomfort or pain that has two of three features: -Relieved with defecation and/or -Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool and/or -Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool. The following symptoms support the diagnosis of IBS: -Abnormal bowel movement frequency (more than three per day or less than three per week), -Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/water), -Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation), -Mucous passed with stools, -Abdominal bloating or distension. There are few effective treatments for IBS. Pharmaceutical medications include anti-diarrheal agents and laxatives, some of which can be harmful if used repeatedly. Significant improvements can be made through dietary changes which can therefore reducing some trigger factors for IBS. It is also important to practice some stress reduction techniques such as breathing techniques, and positive psychology, as there is a direct link between stress and an aggravation of IBS symptoms. The most promising, long-lasting and side-effect free results in the treatment of IBS were based on a large clinical trial conducted at an Australian university, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998. These results demonstrated a 64-76% improvement rate on all measures of IBS such as abdominal pain, distention and bowel habits. These results were achieved in a double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial conducted by gastroenterologists and doctors. The remarkable positive results were achieved in the treatment group that received Chinese herbal treatments. This same formula can be purchased as pre-made capsules from select retailers, and it offers great hope for those struggling with IBS.

Any foods high in fat or highly processed and caffeinated, carbonated or alcoholic beverages must be avoided to avoid irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. These types of food can cause the waste material to compact due to its generally low fiber content slowing down the pace of bowel movement resulting in constipation.

The colon contains gel and liquids to adequately balance the composition of stool but if there is dysfunction in the gastrocolic reflex, too much or too little liquid will be provided in forming and moving the bowel which will then result in diarrhea or constipation. The changes in the reflex may be intermittent which explains the alternating episodes on some occasions.

Continue reading to discover natural methods to alleviate IBS symptoms and sign up for our Free relieving IBS newsletter. The gastrocolic reflex normally activates when food enters into the stomach. If there are disturbances in the digestive tract due to gas, or trigger foods, the gastrocolic reflex will be impaired which will result in abnormal formation of stools and its either hasty or very slow movement.

The gut functions can be significantly affected by changes in diet. The gut flora (the million of micro-organisms that live in the gut, both friendly and not) must be well-maintained in order to properly digest and absorb the nutrients from food. Imbalances in the gut flora can cause proliferation of harmful microorganisms that can hamper the entire process and produce untoward results, which can give rise to IBS symptoms.

Eating little and often has also been proven to relieve symptoms in some IBS sufferers. Try spreading your food intake over 5 meals a day. Eating too much in one sitting can bring on cramping and diarrhea for people at risk from IBS.

Some foods can conversely be helpful in easing the symptoms of IBS, namely foods high in fiber. For example, bran, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Try introducing these foods into your diet, in small quantities first to allow your digestive system time to adjust. They will be particularly helpful if you suffer from constipation as they make stools soft and bulky and easier to pass.

Dietary changes are an indispensable type of treatment that can greatly prevent development of the condition or reduce the symptoms. Since the disorder involves the digestive system, food and drink are usually linked with symptoms. There is no universal diet that can best treat irritable bowel syndrome but there are useful dietary guidelines to follow to avoid triggers.


Irritable bowel treatment using changes in diet is an approach that has helped millions and allowed them to understand and control the triggers that cause many of the symptoms of their condition.


Nancy D. Pace

 
 
     
 
 





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