Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the large intestine. It is most likely to occur in middle-aged females, and it causes symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating, excess gas, constipation, diarrhea, and fatigue.
Although the condition is unpleasant, it is treatable with diet and lifestyle changes. April is IBS Awareness Month, and now it is a great time to think about how to handle your symptoms. Read on to find out more about IBS and how to prevent it.
What Causes IBS?
Nobody is really sure what causes IBS, but here are some factors that may play a role:
Muscle Contractions in the Intestines: The walls of the intestines are lined with muscles that contract as food moves through the digestive tract. Contractions that are too strong may lead to gas and bloating. Contractions that are too weak can make it difficult for food to move through the tract resulting in constipation.
Nervous System Abnormalities: Abnormalities in the nerves in the digestive system may cause you to experience discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or a bowel movement.
Intestinal Inflammation: People with IBS may have an increased number of immune system cells in their intestines which can lead to pain and diarrhea.
Severe Infection: IBS can develop after a severe infection such as diarrhea caused by bacteria or a virus. It can also be associated with a surplus of bacteria in the intestines.
Changes in Bacteria in the Gut: Research shows that microflora, or the “good bacteria” in the gut might differ in people with IBS and people that don’t have IBS.
How Can I Prevent IBS Symptoms?
It is important to raise IBS awareness and provide sufferers with information on how they can manage symptoms. As mentioned before, IBS is treatable with diet and lifestyle changes. Here are some things you can do to keep IBS under control.
Avoid Stress: Doctors are not sure whether IBS is more likely to occur in high stress people, but they do know stress can aggravate symptoms. To keep symptoms of IBS under control, do your best to avoid stress by engaging in deep breathing and meditative exercises and maintaining a positive attitude.
Diet: There are several foods that can trigger IBS. These include foods that contain gluten, certain fruits, vegetables, and beverages that contribute to gas and FODMAPs, which are carbohydrates that can irritate the large intestine. Following a diet that does not include these foods can minimize IBS symptoms.
Supplements: There are several supplements that can help control IBS. Here are some natural supplements that are recommended.
Ultraflora IB by Metagenics: The Metagenics company works closely with healthcare providers to come up with the leading products in lifestyle and healthcare. Their Ultraflora IB is a high potency probiotic formula that balances intestinal microflora while providing relief for intestinal discomfort. It is gluten free, vegetarian, and non-GMO.
Douglas Laboratories IB Comfort Intestinal Balance: Douglas Laboratories is known for providing science-based supplements that support healthy aging. Their IB Comfort Intestinal Balance supports gastrointestinal comfort, balanced bowel function, and healthy intestinal flora. The supplement is all-natural and free of soy, gluten, wheat, protein, sugar, starch, and dairy.
IBS is never pleasant. Taking steps to raise IBS awareness will provide sufferers with information on how they can manage symptoms. What steps will you be taking to increase abdominal comfort and improve your quality of life?