ibs test kit - Irritable bowel syndrome
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Irritable bowel syndrome

If you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you will know how difficult it is to treat. Doctors can be dismissive of IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating, and when treatment is offered it may only help for a short while before the distressing symptoms return.


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 ibs test kitIn 1990, 20% of the U.S. population suffered from acid reflux symptoms at least twice a week. Next to simple occasional heartburn, this may be the most common of all the digestive disorders. A recent study showed that 25% of all Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month. In 2002, 710,000 people were hospitalized due to acid reflux and other related esophageal disorders. There are no figures available on the number of dollars that Americans spend per year treating the digestive system disorders acid reflux and heartburn. This is due largely to the fact that many people treat these digestive disorders with over the counter antacids or other non-prescription medications and some people do not seek treatment at all.

Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience as a healthcare professional and currently writes informational articles for the Digestive Disorders Guide. Read more at http://www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.

Some physicians suggest adding fiber to your irritable bowel syndrome diet to reduce symptoms. Fiber such as apples, peaches, raw broccoli and carrots, cabbage, and peas as well as kidney and lima beans and whole-grain breads and cereals will round out your diet. Eat the fiber first when your stomach is empty to help reduce the symptoms. You may be thinking that there is no way you can follow the irritable bowel syndrome diet but once you learn what you can and cannot eat then you will be able to reduce your symptoms and learn your "triggers."

It can either cause the colon to freeze up causing constipation, or cause it to contract spastically which will cause diarrhoea. Other areas you may want to cut back on are coffee, chocolate, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and caffeine as they are all either stimulants or irritants, and therefore, they cause your GI tract to either be stimulated or irritated which can cause an attack. The irritable bowel syndrome diet concentrates on eating healthy foods to reduce your symptoms as there is no cure for IBS.

Calcium tablets Linda, who suffers from severe diarrhea, says: 'What has helped me for more than two years is calcium carbonate, an over-the-counter supplement. I take three tablets a day, one at each meal. The most success has come from using any formula of calcium supplement that is like Caltrate 600 Plus with vitamin D and minerals. The only side effect is at the beginning of taking the calcium you may have some gas or indigestion, but this usually goes away after taking a regular dose for a few days.'

Omega 3 oils are the components of eicosanoids, hormone-like compounds that regulate blood pressure, clotting, and many other biochemical functions.

Fiber, water and yoga Pam, who struggles with constipation, has developed a combination of things which work for her: 'I drink Metamucil (psyllium fibre) every day and try to relax, pray or meditate, even do a little yoga. The more I make myself relax and take time to de-stress the better I can manage my problem. I know time for yourself is very hard to come by sometimes but I have to if I'm going to manage this. I try to drink at least three bottles of water a day. This is also hard sometimes but I have to take care of me the best I can. I also take a mild anti-depressant. This has helped a bunch in my stress department and in turn has helped my IBS.'

Irritable bowel syndrome is a frequently diagnosed condition in this country. Approximately 10 to 20% of people have this condition. Women account for almost 70% of this group. This condition causes explosive diarrhoea, constipation and abdominal pain as well as other symptoms. There is no cure for irritable bowel syndrome so one of the best and easiest ways to treat this condition is through the irritable bowel syndrome diet.

Stress and IBS Daniel believes that his symptoms are related to his emotions and stress: 'I thought that when I was stuck on the toilet, experiencing the most severe cramps, thinking I was about to pass out from the pain, feeling like I was about to throw up, I was the only one. I'm still trying to work it out but I believe it has a lot to do with my psychological state. I say this because although I don't get too stressed out at any one moment, I do have general worries about money and life. I tend to find when I'm not worrying about these things I don't get the pain as much, if at all. It's easier said than done of course, I can't just stop worrying about money or my future, but being aware of these things seems to help - being optimistic and knowing that everything is only temporary. I have been taking Colpermin (peppermint capsules) as a preventative which often helps and for a while I took painkillers which I think helped.'

Mina also found that dietary change helped control her symptoms, alongside traditional medication: 'I've made a number of changes to my diet. I've eliminated milk and mostly any dairy, fried foods, sugar for the most part, pop, alcohol, potato chips, spicy food, rice, pasta and bread. Most recently I'm eliminating flour. But my best friend for the last couple of years has been Imodium Quick Dissolve tablets. I don't ever leave home without them. I just have to make sure I don't overdo it. If I ever become immune to the wonder drug I am gonna be a real mess!'

Omega-3's are a type of essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce from what you eat. Therefore, you must get them in your daily diet in order to supply the many body functions that need them.

Wild caught cold water fish are an excellent source of omega 3 oils, but now that our industrialized world has contaminated ocean water, and consequently the fish and mammals that live in the oceans, it is recommended generally not to eat these fish more than 3-4 times a week. These recommendations can vary if you are pregnant, so check with your doctor.

Most people have symptoms in the milder range, and fortunately, an improved diet can usually relieve the suffering considerably. Contributing factors to an irritable bowel may be food allergies, altered bowel microflora (of the acidophilus type), intestinal parasites, lack of dietary fiber, and lack of digestive enzymes. Eating sugar, refined carbohydrates, and chemical non-foods (colorings and other additives, and foods made from petroleum products) is probably not going to improve the situation.

The irritable bowel syndrome diet also suggests eating either small, frequent meals, or eating smaller portions of your three meals. Large, fat filled meals only serve to irritate your stomach and cause stomach pain, diarrhoea or constipation. Healthy and conscientious eating should be your main goal. Fruits, vegetables, lean meat and whole grain breads will help your stomach to stay on a balanced plane so that you will not have as many flare-ups.

Currently, the best source of omega 3 fats from fish, is a purified fish oil in a nutritional supplement form. With the contaminants removed (mercury and others), you can have a daily dose and let omega-3's do what they have been reported to do well - balancing the immune system, decreasing inflammation, diminishing depression and anxiety and lowering some of the risk factors for heart disease.

I hope this information stimulates your curiosity for more anti-aging education. If you have any health concerns, be sure to ask your health practitioner.

Figures are available for the number of prescriptions written for some of the digestive system disorders and diseases. 2.2 million Prescriptions were written for irritable bowel syndrome in 1985. And this is somewhat surprising, because currently the only prescription medication available for irritable bowel syndrome has only been proven effective for treating women. A million prescriptions were written in 1985 for constipation relief. Chronic constipation is sometimes a symptom of other digestive system disorders. For example, constipation or diarrhea may be present in irritable bowel syndrome.

If you suffer from constipation rather than diarrhea, you could try magnesium supplements instead, as these can have a slight laxative effect. Digestive enzymes and probiotics





About the author:
Sophie Lee has had IBS for 14 years. She runs the IBS Tales
website at http://www.ibstales.com where you can read hundreds
of stories and tips from IBS sufferers.

Excellent vegetarian sources of omega 3 oils are flax seed oil and walnuts. Black currant seed oil, and evening primrose oil are also very good.

 
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This precious food is also healthy for normal skin, joints,and soft tissues. Omega 3 oils are anti-aging and anti-inflammatory. However, if you do suffer from IBS, you may experience some relief by including more omega 3's in your daily diet.

Kim, who also suffers from bad diarrhea, says: 'I tried taking digestive enzymes with acidophilus and found significant relief within three days. I am not afraid to eat now, but find that I still cannot eat very much refined sugar or high fibre vegetables. I have also added a cup or two per day of peppermint and chamomile tea. When I do have an episode it occurs late in the day and by the next morning I am feeling back to normal.'

If you believe that you suffer from one of the digestive system disorders or diseases, it is important to seek help. If you know that you suffer from one of the digestive disorders, it is important to get treatment. Most of the common digestive system disorders can be controlled and treated. If left untreated some of the fairly common digestive disorders can lead to more serious health problems. For more information about specific digestive system disorders and disease, visit www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.

Most people suffer from some sort of digestive disorders during their lifetime. It might be the common and less serious digestive system disorders like constipation, diarrhea, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome or something more serious like acid reflux (GERD), ulcerative colitis and Chron's disease. Digestive disorders and diseases affected 60 to 70 million Americans in 1996 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2002, 234,000 deaths were attributed to digestive system disorders and diseases. While more than 27,000 of these were due to liver disease or cirrhosis, there were 121 deaths that were caused by constipation, which is typically not one of the serious or life threatening digestive disorders.

This syndrome is associated with emotional stresses like depression, hysteria, obsessive-compulsive traits, anxiety, resentment, marital conflicts, death of a loved one, or prolonged excessive anxiety over everyday matters. IBS occurs predominantly in women, at a ratio of 3:1 to men, and the average age of onset is 20-40.

Looking at your diet Laura describes how a close examination of her diet helped her IBS: 'I was placed on every kind of medication, and sometimes they worked in the short term, sometimes they didn't work at all. The doctor finally suggested trying to alter my diet in cycles, and we discovered that eating meat was my problem. I became a vegetarian and no longer have constant problems. Sometimes I even go years without any pain at all. It's worth all the effort you put into it when you finally feel better.'

Over 1700 deaths were attributed to GERD, which is one of the digestive system disorders that can be effectively treated and controlled with medication, or herbal supplements, dietary and/or lifestyle changes. 825 deaths were due to ulcerative colitis and Chron's, which are digestive disorders called inflammatory bowel diseases and 22 were attributed to irritable bowel syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome is another one of the digestive system disorders that can be treated and controlled by using dietary supplements and making dietary and lifestyle changes, including stress management.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, is more widespread than we might suppose. The main symptom of IBS is abdominal pain and cramps after eating. A sufferer may also experience diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating. Sometimes mucous may be seen in the feces. These symptoms usually are ongoing for at least 90 days before an IBS diagnosis is considered by a medical doctor. For this diagnosis, the symptoms are present in spite of the absence of true structural damage to the intestines.

Flaxseed Watching your diet is sometimes not enough to completely control the symptoms, and natural or herbal supplements can help, as Marion discovered: 'After about six months of a horrendously restrictive diet (ultra low-fat vegan with no raw veggies or fruit except banana) and a lot of Metamucil, I managed to get it sort of under control. But if I deviated from the diet, the chronic diarrhea would come back. Someone I met told me that she had helped her IBS by taking a tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed with a glass of water or juice every morning. I thought it was another crackpot cure, but eventually I decided to try it. She had told me that pre-ground flaxseed didn't work because flax seed starts to oxidize as soon as you grind it and that whole flax seeds are no good either, because they cannot be digested properly. After years of IBS, in about two weeks it just went away. I cannot believe that I now have perfectly normal, regular bowel movements.'

All the self-help tips in this article have come from IBS sufferers who have found a way to control their irritable bowels. Before trying any form of self-help, please make sure that you have your doctor's approval, and do check that anything you try will not interfere with any medication you are taking.

Soluble versus insoluble fiber Some nutritionists believe that IBS sufferers' intestines react differently to soluble and insoluble fiber, and this has been Stu's experience: 'After trying all kinds of drugs and healthy eating, my pains were still there. I found by accident that it wasn't so much what I ate but whether I ate it on a full stomach or not. My failsafe is pasta on an empty stomach, I get no reaction - it is soluble fibre that settles the colon apparently. I quickly searched on the internet for recipes high in soluble fibre and I have improved. Most significantly though I am on no medication and this puts me in control of the IBS, not the other way around. I think this is important as stress certainly can trigger the symptoms off. I don't avoid insoluble fibre as it is essential for the body, but I recommend that you eat it on a full stomach.'

The causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unclear. However, the Western diet full of refined and chemical foods, is implicated. Emotional and stress related factors are also as issue. If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome some of the following information may help you improve your situation.

All in all, the irritable bowel syndrome diet is about eating healthy. If you make the effort to stay away from "trigger foods" and to eat small portioned, healthy, and low fat meals then hopefully there will be a decrease in your symptoms. This does not mean you have to stay away from restaurants or eating what you want to follow the irritable bowel syndrome diet it just means you need to make smarter choices to keep from having as many attacks. It is up to you and your stomach!

A final word Lastly, please do make sure that you have been officially diagnosed with IBS and had your symptoms fully investigated before trying any self-help methods. As Joe found out, bowel symptoms can be due something other than IBS: 'I was diagnosed with IBS, but I went to get a second opinion. They did an ultrasound followed by a barium follow-through which showed major inflammation and blockage of my small intestine. The final diagnosis is Crohn's disease. It's a pity they didn't catch it before I was seriously ill, instead of fobbing me off with excuses of 'It's IBS, there's no cure so live with it!''

The irritable bowel syndrome diet helps to alleviate the symptoms of IBS. It may not completely cure the condition but it will space the attacks out so they are not as frequent. One of the main things that need to be removed from your diet as much as possible is high fat foods. Fat causes a violent reaction in the colon which can cause either constipation or violent diarrhoea.

Sufferers often find that they have to deal with the symptoms themselves, through self-help methods and supplements, rather than by using conventional medicines. However, this does not mean that there is no hope of improvement. By sharing their experiences, sufferers can learn a lot about what really helps to ease IBS.

Dianne M. Buxton is a mother, writer, and a ballet teacher, interested in anti-aging nutrition and lifestyles. If you find this info useful, you can read more here.


Nancy D. Pace

 
 
     
 
 





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