Why do we have to suffer the pain and discomfort of this condition? IBS is a common problem particularly in women when the intestines either squeeze too hard or not hard enough. Our food then moves either too quickly or too slowly through the intestines.
Although this condition is usually triggered by certain foods, it can be worse when something stressful happens. You can handle IBS by eating a healthy diet, avoiding those foods that seem to trigger the condition and of course find ways to handle your stress.
IBS is a recurring condition
Once you develop IBS, it will probably recur throughout your life so you need to get to the bottom of what food it is that you are eating that aggravates the problem in the first place and that is not always easy.
The good news is that while IBS recurs, it won’t get worse and it doesn't cause cancer, requires no surgery and definitely won’t shorten your life. I have had this condition for many years and although I don’t know yet what brings it on, I suspect sugar and wheat could be part of the problem with a sudden stressful situation being the main culprit. Even though I write health articles and blogs, I had never actually researched IBS for my own information which was rather silly.
The symptoms of IBS can include
- Bloating, gas and mucus in the stool
- Feeling like you still need to have a bowel movement even though you have just had one
- Abdominal pain and cramping that may go away after having a bowel movement
Foods don’t actually cause IBS but it is true that some foods may make you feel worse. In some people, fat and/or caffeine can cause your intestines to contract which may cause cramping. Alcohol and chocolate may also make you feel worse while if gas is a problem when you are experience IBS, remember the foods that tend to bring on gas such as beans, cabbage and some fruits.
Many people find the best way is to keep a diary for a few weeks (a) of what you eat and (b) what your symptoms are so that you can put the two together and come to a conclusion. Some women may find more frequent symptoms during their menstrual periods. Others may notice worse symptoms after eating a big meal or eating an unhealthy meal. Another interesting fact is that if you are lactose intolerant, then dairy products could definitely be a factor. Gluten is another possibility.
Help control IBS by
- Finding out what triggers the condition in your particular case
- Eating a varied and healthy diet
- Drinking plenty of water
- Eating 6 small meals a day rather than 3 larger ones
- Learning new and better ways to deal with your stress
- Avoiding the use of laxatives as these may weaken your intestines and cause you to be dependent on them.
In some people, IBS can be regarded as a chronic illness and if severe, can dramatically affect the quality of your life leading to increased medical costs and work absenteeism. Approximately 15% of the general population in the US suffers from irritable bowel syndrome so it is yet another common condition that we are faced with.
Children can also suffer from IBS but that would be a whole new post of its own.