5 Causes And 5 Treatments Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome, often referred to as IBS, affects as many as 55 million people in the United States. While not life-threatening, IBS can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Many individuals with IBS find it difficult to attend school, work or participate in other activities. The following looks common causes of IBS and treatments than can help you manage the condition.
Symptoms of IBS:
IBS is most often seen in individuals in their late teens to 40s. The condition is characterized by the following symptoms:
• Abdominal pain and discomfort
• Frequent changes in bowel habits, ranging from diarrhea to constipation
• Alterations in stool quality, ranging from hard to liquid
• Excess gas or bloating
Five Causes of IBS:
The exact cause of IBS is unknown. In fact, a number of different factors may cause an individual to develop IBS. Experts believe that the following may contribute to IBS:
—Foods containing gluten or stimulants such as caffeine may trigger IBS symptoms.
—Long-term exposure to stress can lower levels of antibodies that protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
—In some cases, certain bacteria that are normally present in the GI tract can over-proliferate, causing an imbalance in the intestinal flora.
—Some steroids and anti-inflammatories can affect the way the GI tract absorbs nutrients and can interfere with the portion of the nervous system that regulates the intestines.
Parasite and Yeast Overgrowth
—Poor diet, contaminated food, and antibiotics can all cause an imbalance in the flora of the GI tract and trigger IBS symptoms.
Treatments for IBS:
The proper treatment for IBS depends on the exact cause; however, the most common treatments include:
• Antibiotics or probiotics may be prescribed to restore the proper bacterial balance in the GI tract.
• If a food sensitivity is the suspected cause, your doctor may place you on a food elimination diet designed to identify and eliminate the foods causing the symptoms.
• Antifungal or antiparasitic medications may be prescribed if parasites or yeast are believed to be the cause of your IBS.
• Limiting stress and a balanced lifestyle can help limit IBS flares.
• Ask your doctor about alternatives to steroid and anti-inflammatory medications that can irritate the lining of the stomach.
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Nontraditional remedies have helped some conquer IBS symptoms. Some of the more popular remedies include:
• Acupuncture that can trigger the release of pain-relieving chemicals and stimulate the body’s healing mechanisms.
• Antispasmodic herbs such as peppermint.
• Hypnosis to help relax stomach muscles.
• Stress-relieving techniques such as yoga and meditation.
If you have conquered IBS, leave a comment to tell us about your story.