//IBS – What Is It?

IBS – What Is It?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is abbreviated as IBS. It is a common disorder that affects the colon or large intestine. While there is no known cure, people deal with it by working with their diet, stress levels, and lifestyle.

Some of the symptoms of IBS include gas, alternating diarrhea and constipation, mucus in stools, bloating, and abdominal cramping or pain. IBS may have seasons where it is more active, and then less active. It is estimated that as much as 20% of the population has IBS, though many do not seek medical counseling for it.

The intestines operate by peristaltic action, a coordinated contracting and relaxing that moves the food through the digestive track. With IBS, normal contractions are disrupted. They may be stronger, which can cause diarrhea, gas, and bloating. They may be weaker, which means slower food passage and which can lead to constipation. These abnormalities can cause pain. While there is no definite cause, it is believed that IBS is the result of a disorder between the brain and digestive tract. The signals to correct peristalsis are disrupted.

Not all people exhibit the same symptoms of IBS from the same causes, but it has been determined that food allergies may be a part of IBS. These vary from person to person. It is possible to keep track of what you eat and your body’s reaction to it to narrow down allergic triggers. Stress can aggravate symptoms, as can hormonal changes. Also, an overgrowth of bad bacterial or abnormal gut flora may trigger IBS. This may occur after an illness, or after taking antibiotics, which tend to kill good bacteria as well as bad. Due to this, taking a good probiotic supplement may be helpful in restoring and maintain normal intestinal flora.

Dietary changes have been found to help IBS patients. This includes increasing soluble fiber. When a person determines that a certain food triggers IBS, they can avoid that food. By keeping a food diary, a person can document which foods trigger reactions. Another way to approach this is to eliminate a number of foods, and then reintroduce the suspect culprits one at a time, one every couple of days or so. Take note of the body’s reactions. If there is an IBS attack, make note of the foods eaten the prior 24 hours. Over time, by careful recording and noticing when attacks happen, it is likely you will see a pattern of which foods you have eaten prior to an attack.

Other ways to deal with IBS are these. Smaller, more frequent meals may help. Thoroughly chewing food is important as well. Drinking plenty of water is important. Carbonated water can amplify IBS symptoms. By understanding and implementing some of these suggestions, it may make IBS more tolerable.