What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a very common condition that accounts for over half of bowel problems and gut problems in adults. It generally starts in adolescence and is twice as likely to occur in women as it is in men.
What are the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
- Abdominal Bloating
- Abdominal Pain and/or Cramps
- Bouts of Diarrhoea and Constipation
- Gas and Nausea
- Pain after eating certain foods
What are the Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
One of the possible causes of IBS is thought to be stress. If a person experiences stress it releases the hormone epinephrine in their body which has an impact on glucose and fat levels and can therefore reduce gut activity. If this continues over a long period of time, without the stress being relieved, normal gut activity can be completely disrupted meaning that the bowel is unable to contract and move normally.
Traditional Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Some traditional treatments include taking enteric-coated peppermint capsules to reduce bowel spasms. Bowel relaxants can also slow down gut motility and laxatives can be taken as a way of encouraging a bowel movement to ease the pain.
Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Roberts Complex is a good herbal remedy that has been found to help as well as the herbs valerian, rosemary, chamomile and melissa. It is also important to stay hydrated and it is recommended that you drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. An IBS diet can help to prevent the painful irritable bowel symptoms from occurring. However, an Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diet is a highly individual thing and therefore can be difficult to pinpoint. The foods that cause IBS in one person can be completely different for another person. However, there is a general consensus that foods high in fat, fried food, spicy food and alcohol can be some of the main contributors. Avoid things like insoluble fibre and refined sugars which can over bulk the bowel and aggravate the problem. Some foods which only cause minor discomfort in most people can bring on the symptoms of IBS in others. These include foods such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, peas and onions. A good way to identify the foods causing your symptoms is to keep a food diary and take note of when the symptoms occur and how severe they are. This can help you to identify the triggers.