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Posted on 04-25-2017

Irritated With Your Bowels?

          Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder that affects the large intestine. It causes abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, cramping, gas, and diarrhea. IBS does not cause cancer in bowel tissue, nor does it increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Some people can control their symptoms by managing their diet, lifestyle, and stress. Other people might need medication and/or counseling from a professional.

             The World Health Organization has reported that irritable bowel syndrome is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder along with this month’s national awareness topic. They found 40% of people have mild IBS, 35% moderate IBS, and 25% severe IBS. 1 in 5 American adults have signs and symptoms of IBS, however, fewer than 1 in 5 who have symptoms seek medical help. About 2/3 of IBS sufferers are female. Approximately 2/3 of people with IBS have a reduced activity level compared to healthy individuals.

To understand what has gone wrong we need to explain the normal process of “Peristalsis” which is responsible for pushing the food throughout the gastrointestinal tract with a wavelike movement, similar to a muscle contraction. With IBS, you could either have too strong or too weak of a contraction. With strong contractions, bloating, diarrhea, and gas are common. With weak contractions, constipation and hard, dry stools are common. If your gastrointestinal nervous system is not working properly, it can cause you to experience discomfort when your stomach stretches due to buildup of gas or stool. When connections between the brain and intestines are poor, it can make your body overreact to the changes that normally occur in the digestive process. Common triggers that vary from person to person include food, stress, hormones, and other illnesses. Many people have the occasional signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but it’s more likely to be actual IBS if you are: young, female, have a family history of IBS, or if you have a mental health problem. Common other symptoms include: change in the stool frequency or consistency, gassiness (flatulence), passing mucus from the rectum, bloating, abdominal distension, loss of appetite…

Most of the time, simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can help improve symptoms of IBS. This includes experimenting with fiber to see if it helps regulate the poop flow. In addition, avoiding “problem” foods that are inflammatory, such as: alcohol, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carbonated beverages, cauliflower, chocolate, fats, fruits, milk, and spices might help because they can increase symptoms of IBS. Also, eating at regular times will help with digestion because it helps regulate bowel function. Your body likes to be on a schedule, not just for waking and sleeping but food intake as well.

If you often experience diarrhea, eating small and frequent meals is recommended whereas if you often experience constipation, eating larger amounts of high-fiber foods would be advised. Drinking plenty of water/tea and exercising regularly will help IBS. Alternative medicines to help manage symptoms and flare ups include: chiropractic, acupuncture, herbs (peppermint is common for relaxing the smooth muscles of the intestines), hypnosis, probiotics (yogurt, miso soup, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha tea), regular exercise, yoga (try Kundalini Yoga for Digestion and Elimination on YouTube), Abdominal Massage (ask the doc if you are interested), or meditation.

IBS can affect every aspect of your life, from good sleep to making you edgy and moody with you friends, family, and loved ones. This is not something you have to suffer with. Get your spine adjusted, eat well, drink water and ask for help! There is no need to suffer any longer. Spread the word, this is common and yet, it has very simple steps to make monumental changes for your bowels!

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