Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very painful, and sometimes embarrassing, disease. If it is bad enough, it can keep you from working or going to college. IBS can really put a kink in your lifestyle, keeping you confined at home so that you miss out on some of the fun things of life.
What Causes IBS to flare-up
Even though there has been a lot of research into what could possibly be the cause of IBS, scientists and doctors are yet to find out the answer. That does not mean they have stopped searching for the cause. They just need to do more research.
Although it is not yet known what actually causes the disease, doctors do know what types of things can cause IBS to flare up. As your bowels move waste through to the rectum, they expand and contract to push the fecal matter down through the bowels and out the rectum.
If you are someone with IBS, your bowels will be irritated, causing them to make those contractions stronger. Of course, this causes a lot of pain and discomfort for you. This can also cause diarrhea is some people, increasing the amount of gas and that horrible bloating feeling,
Your bowels might, however, have the opposite reaction, slowing down on the amount of contraction and expansion as it tries to move the fecal matter out. This will cause blockages, drying the bowel walls. This is what causes you to become constipated pushing out hard lumps of fecal matter. Your gastrointestinal system could also be the culprit causing your IBS.
What are the Symptoms of IBS?
One of the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a change in bowel movement patterns. You may notice that your regular bowel movements have begun to change and you are becoming more and more irregular. Bloating and excess gas can also be symptoms of IBS, and it can be very painful and uncomfortable.
You can also experience unusual pain in your lower belly and you may also see mucous in your stool. If these symptoms have been plaguing you for at least 6 months, experiencing pain in your stomach for 3 days a month for 3 months, you could have IBS. Take inventory of other symptoms that might go along with this. Notice whether or not your belly pain is relieved when you have a bowel movement. Is there a change in the consistency of your stool and what it looks like? This could be an indication that you have IBS. You may want to see your doctor. You can also suffer from some of the following symptoms that you probably wouldn’t dream could be associated with IBS.
• Depression and anxiety
• Very bad taste in your mouth
• Inability to sleep
• Pain in your back
Actually, it’s not surprising that these things could be going on in conjunction with IBS, as the body reacts like this when something is going on. The body works together as a unit, with all components helping each other. When one part of the body is sick, the whole body reacts in some of the ways mentioned above. Of course, these could all be symptoms of other problems, but if they are in conjunction with bowel problems, it could be IBS.
Treatments for IBS
Of course, anyone with IBS wants to know what kind of treatments work for its pain. For mild cases of IBS, such things as relieving stress can help to ease the pain of IBS. You might be amazed at how much your stress, diet and lifestyle can affect your health. Start by taking stock of your daily actions. Are you over-stressing yourself? If so, you can relieve stress by cutting out anything that you don’t really have to do.
Diet and Exercise
Start a regular exercise plan and take stock of what you are eating. Eat foods that are healthy and nutritious and cut out as much junk food and sugary food as possible. Don’t eat foods that can cause a lot of gas, as these foods can make the problem worse. Also, it is important that you drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. Take time for yourself, to do something you really enjoy. Even if it is just a candlelit bubble bath with a favorite book.
Make sure that you get enough sleep each night. There is a reason that we sleep, and that is to allow our bodies to recharge and heal from all of the stress and strain we put on it daily. Take the time to relax and rest, because your body is surely begging for that, and the only way it can tell you is by pain or illness. Intestinal problems and bowel disorders are just two of the maladies that can affect us, bringing about IBS and its pain.
There are some medications you can take that will relieve the symptoms and the pain they cause. Take a high-fiber supplement every day to help to relieve the constipation that can be caused by IBS. If you are suffering from diarrhea, you might want to try taking some medications that prevent diarrhea by drying up the excess liquids in your bowels that cause the diarrhea.
Sometimes, anti-depressants can help you to control the symptoms. This can lead back to having too much stress in your daily life, which can cause pain and depression. Lowering your stress level and seeing a good doctor for an anti-depressant could be a big help in relieving IBS and its pain.
Antibiotics could help if your bowels are experiencing a lot of bacteria growth that has been building up. Bacteria can cause a lot of bowel irritation which, in turn, can cause the pain and discomfort you might be experiencing.
Although some people are as afraid of counseling as they are of dentists, there is no need to be ashamed because you are seeing a counsellor. Talking is a great way to relieve stress and get to the root of what might be causing it. You might only need to see one for a few months, and, combined with an anti-depressant can do you a world of good. It can’t hurt to try.
Actually, there are a few medications that are made specifically for IBS, its pain and symptoms. You will have to see your doctor if you have tried the other treatments listed earlier and they have not worked. Your IBS could be bad enough that you need to seek a doctor’s advice. The doctor can prescribe some medications specifically designed for your IBS and its level of severity.
• Lotronex relaxes the colon, which will help to slow the movement of waste through the lower bowel.
• Amitiza increases the secretions of fluids through the small intestine to help enable the waste products to move down.
Only your doctor can know exactly what needs to be done, so be sure that you go for a complete check- up. Don’t forget to tell your doctor everything. It might be a good idea for you to write down all of the things you want to ask your doctor, along with all of the symptoms you are experiencing. You don’t want to forget some important information that might help with making a diagnoses and deciding on a treatment plan for you.
Keep a Diary
Even though doctors don’t know exactly what causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you can help yourself by keeping a sort of diary about things you have done during the day and what has stressed you. Include foods you have eaten and whether or not you have exercised. By doing this, when you begin to experience IBS symptoms, you can look back at the diary to see if there is anything that could have triggered it.
Next, change your daily habits by beginning to reduce the amount of stress triggers, eating better and beginning an exercise program. Keep your diary as usual and note any changes in bowel habits or IBS and its pain. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but you should see some improvement in a few weeks if you are persistent in making your new lifestyle changes. Don’t give up, because the changes you are making can affect all areas of your body and its health.
Doctors and scientists are still researching on the exact cause or causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, at least, they have found some treatments that can help ease the symptoms and pain caused by the disease. Check into your family history, because there are some indications that IBS can be hereditary. See if any of your family members suffered from IBS so that you can report that to your doctor.
Whatever you do, never give up on your self-help practices and home remedies and medications. You can do a lot to help yourself, and that, along with any prescriptions, may help you more than you realize. Don’t be afraid to try new things and give them a chance to work. After all, change can’t happen overnight.