Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a distressing and embarrassing condition and the precise cause and treatment is a subject that has been centre of much debate.
Doctors are not really sure what causes IBS. It would appear that in people who suffer, the nerves and the muscles in the bowel are more sensitive causing the muscles to contract too much when eating. The effects of this can include cramping, bloating, diarrhoea, or constipation. Sufferers of this condition can become distraught when told that they have to “learn to live with it”. It is important to consult your doctor and have other health problems discounted, rather than assume that you suffer from IBS.
Once diagnosed, there are several things that can be done to help relieve the symptoms.
Firstly the severity of symptoms is acknowledged to be highly reactive to stress. The known and accepted antidote to stress is deep and regular relaxation, as can be experienced in hypnosis.
Secondly, diet changes – experimenting with foods that you tolerate better. Fatty food, dairy products such as cheese, alcohol, drinks containing caffeine, etc can cause the symptoms to be more acute.
It is a good idea to keep a diary to track what you eat and the effects of different foods. If you find certain goods set off an attack, eat less of them, or if possible, avoid.
Good foods to introduce include fruit, vegetables, breads and cereals. If your diet is low in fibre, only add it to your diet a little at a time, in order for your body to get used to it. Too much fibre can trigger an attack in a person with IBS. It is possible that your doctor may prescribe antispasmodics or even a very low dose of antidepressant to help with symptoms. Whilst stress does not cause IBS, it is a major factor in making the symptoms worse. It is very important to learn how to reduce stress and in turn make it easier to manage the symptoms.