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IBS Seriously Impacts Daily Life

IBS Seriously Impacts Daily Life Dr. Maia Dodds Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a crippling condition for 43% of IBS sufferers who report severe symptoms.


Second, exercise is a good way to relieve stress. Many doctors believe that IBS has psychological origins. When a mind is under unusual amounts of stress, it is more prone to mental problems. Mental problems, in turn, lead to physical problems. The symptoms of IBS often begin when a person is exposed to too much stress. Stress has not been proven to cause IBS; but it certainly makes it worse. Because of this, anyone with the syndrome should do his utmost to reduce his stress levels. Exercising, of course, is one of the finest ways to accomplish this.


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 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!'

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.





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.

If you have had IBS for years, you would be familiar with its daily effects. As a primary health care provider, I am all too familiar with the disappointments and limitations that IBS brings to my patients lives.

High rates of success in resolving IBS symptoms have been reported when treatment is specifically tailored to the underlying causes revealed through proper testing for the range of known causes of IBS symptoms. The multi-herbal extract Iberogast was found to be significantly superior to placebo via both an abdominal pain scale and an IBS symptom score after four weeks of treatment. Gut-directed or gut-specific hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis is one of the most promising areas of IBS treatment, also Traditional Chinese Medicine approaches IBS on an individual symptom-by-symptom basis, rather than recognizing a standard "IBS" diagnosis, which then warrants a blanket "IBS" treatment.

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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.'

IBS symptoms include stomach cramping and pain, abdominal bloating and distention and either diarrhea, constipation, or any of these symptoms combined at different stages of the day or week.

If you are unhappy with your current IBS treatment approach, again, you are not alone, with less than one-third of IBS sufferers reporting satisfaction with the drugs and remedies they use to treat their ISB. 62% of those taking prescription drugs experienced side effects, and 45% of prescription drug takers reported moderate to severe side effects.

People who exercise regularly report a feeling of well-being after their sessions. What happens is this: the brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are natural painkillers and antidepressants, so anyone in physical or mental pain will benefit from their release. Exercise isn't only good for you; it makes you feel good as well!

Treatment options are available to manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome - whether symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe. These treatments for IBS can include dietary adjustments, medication and psychological interventions, and as for any physiological condition, works best when it successfully addresses the cause of the condition.

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.'

These patients were treated using Chinese medical herbs (available in capsules). Not only were the positive results dramatic, they were also long-lasting, with patients reporting significantly improved IBS symptoms 14 weeks after treatment.

In people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, symptoms result from what appears to be a disturbance in the interaction between the gut or intestines, the brain, and the autonomic nervous system that alters regulation of bowel motility (motor function) or sensory function. Several conditions may present itself as IBS including celiac disease, mild infections, several inflammatory bowel diseases, functional chronic constipation and chronic functional abdominal pain. Some other causes of IBS are unknown.

A study titled ‘IBS in the Real World' - IBS Research Findings by IFFGD, August 2002, found that the effects of IBS can seriously effects sufferers quality of life and functionality.

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.'

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!''

Fully a third (34%) of IBS sufferers report loss of bowel control which has impacted significantly on daily life, causing frequent absences at work or school as well as missed leisure activities.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 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 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - .

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.





About the author:
Dr. Maia Dodds has compiled international clinical research and
professional experience in her new book 'Irritable Bowel
Syndrome Improvement Program', demonstrating 76% IBS improvement
rates, with side-effect free and long-lasting results.

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.'

 
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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.'

Evidence that food allergies (other than celiac disease) and other immune system challenges can cause IBS symptoms are reported in various published research. People with IBS more commonly than others have gastroesophageal reflux, symptoms relating to the genitourinary system, psychological symptoms, fibromyalgia, headache and backache. In some individuals, IBS may have an acute onset and develop after an infectious illness characterised by two or more of the following: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or positive stool culture. Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome involves excluding conditions which produce IBS-like symptoms, and then following a procedure to categorize the patient's symptoms.

Nearly half (47%) of IBS sufferers reported daily symptoms, with 43% experiencing severe symptoms. If you suffer from IBS, the good news is that you are not alone, with between 10-22% of the population being affected. The bad news is that IBS can be a seriously unpleasant and persistent condition.

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

A change in diet is often necessary for IBS sufferers. By eating more fiber-rich foods such as apples, peaches, cabbage, and broccoli, an IBS sufferer can reduce the impact of both constipation and diarrhea. Food items such as carrots, peas, whole-wheat bread, and pineapples are good choices as well. On the other hand, alcohol and caffeine-rich beverages should be avoided.

Enough of the bad news - there must be some good news, right? Correct. There is some great, although little-publicised news for IBS sufferers. A clinical study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998, reported long-lasting, side-effect free results, with a 64-76% improvement rate for the IBS patients in the treatment group.

Aside from changes in diet, one of the most important things an IBS sufferer can do is to get some regular exercise. Exercise is vital to the IBS sufferer for two specific reasons. First, exercise makes your body stronger. Exercise strengthens the immune system, making it less likely that other illnesses or disorders will occur.

If you have lived with IBS for a while, you may also be aware that there is no targeted medical treatment for IBS, only management approaches such as dietary changes and end-agents, such as laxatives and anti-diarrheal agents.

As IBS is a chronic condition, with an ongoing fluctuating course, these treatments may help the individual to develop skills for managing the condition over the long haul. Irritable Bowel Syndrome does not lead to more serious conditions in most patients. Most individuals are surprised to learn they are not alone with the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

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.'

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder which causes the bowels or the gut to be oversensitive. This increase in sensitivity causes a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, which includes excessive gas, stomach cramps and pains, bloating of the abdomen, constipation, and diarrhea. Obviously, these symptoms do not exactly make for the ideal life.

Irritable Bowel syndrome is the most common disease diagnosed by gastroenterologists (doctors who specialize in medical treatment of disorders of the stomach and intestines) and one of the most common disorders seen by primary care physicians. In gastroenterology, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder characterized by abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating relieved by defecation and alteration of bowel habits. Irritable Bowel Syndrome may begin after an infection (post-infectious, IBS-PI) or a stressful life event. IBS can be classified as either diarrhea-predominant (IBS-D), constipation-predominant (IBS-C) or IBS with alternating stool pattern (IBS-A or pain-predominant[6]). Other functional or pain disorders and certain psychological conditions are more common in those with IBS. In fact, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects approximately 10-20%??of the general population.

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.

My personal clinical experience has supported these findings. Chinese herbs can now be dispensed in capsules, or brought pre-made, and the benefits for IBS patients is often life-changing

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.'

Because there are many causes of diarrhea and IBS-like symptoms, the American Gastroenterological Association has published a set of guidelines for tests to be performed to diagnose other conditions which may have symptoms similar to IBS. Once other causes have been excluded, the diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is performed using a diagnostic algorithm. The algorithm may include additional tests to guard against mis-diagnosis of other diseases like IBS. However, researchers have noted that red flag conditions may not always contribute to accuracy in diagnosis ??? for instance, as many as 31% of IBS patients have blood in their stool. Published research has demonstrated that some poor patient outcomes are due to treatable causes of diarrhea being mis-diagnosed as IBS. As mentioned earlier Coeliac disease in particular is often misdiagnosed as IBS.

Unfortunately however, a large portion of IBS sufferers find that their condition cannot be fully cured. The medical profession has been unable to pinpoint exactly the causes of the syndrome. Thus, a cure has not been developed. In the absence of such a cure, however, the best thing and IBS sufferer can do is to get the best medical help available, as well as make relevant lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes may not be able to make IBS go away completely, but they will make the symptoms easier to cope with.

Jacob Mabille writes for Free Health Articles where you can find more health tips and related articles. You may republish this article only if you retain resource box and active hyperlinks.


Nancy D. Pace

 
 
     
 
 





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