Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long term gastrointestinal condition that may cause continual discomfort. However, the majority of people will not experience serious complications. Until recently, specialists were unsure what triggered IBS, but there is increasing evidence that one possible explanations is that microbes present during infectious gastroenteritis may bring about a long-term effect. In this post, we explore symptoms, causes, treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, and how eating habits can affect IBS. I provide treatment for irritable bowel syndrome using hypnotherapy, click here for more information about my session in London.
Treatment for symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
Someone with IBS may experience abdominal pain and cramping. The most typical symptoms of IBS include things like:
- variations in bowel habits
- abdominal pain and cramping, which frequently decrease after passing a stool
- a sensation that the bowels are not clear after passing stools
- passing excess wind
- the passing of mucus from the rectum
- a sudden, immediate need to use the bathroom
- swelling or bloating of the abdomen
Symptoms typically get worse after meals. A flare-up may last for a few days, and then symptoms either improve or resolve entirely.
Signs and symptoms differ between individuals and therefore treatment for irritable bowel syndrome will differ also. They frequently resemble symptoms of other illnesses and ailments and can also affect different parts of the body. These may include:
- frequent urination
- halitosis, or bad breath
- joint or muscle pain
- prolonged fatigue
- in females, painful sex, or dyspareunia
- irregular menses
- Anxiety and depression may also arise, typically due to the discomfort and embarrassment that may go along with the condition.
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and diet
Dietary elements can play a role in causing IBS symptoms. Symptoms tend to be worse after eating certain items, such as chocolate, milk, or alcohol. They might lead to either constipation or diarrhoea. Some fruits, vegetables, and soft drinks can induce bloating and discomfort. It is uncertain whether a food allergy or intolerance has a role.
Prevalent dietary causes of cramping or bloating involve foods that cause flatulence, for example:
- Brussels sprouts
Different foods that can set off flares include:
- dairy products
- sugar free gum
- some candies
- products with caffeine in them, which may be due to sugar, sorbitol, or caffeine intolerance rather than IBS
Nutritional steps that can help someone decrease chance of a flare include:
Controlling fibre intake:
A number of people with IBS should increase their fibre intake, while others should consume less. A balanced level of fibre in the diet can help encourage healthy digestion.
Taking probiotics may help some individuals. These are beneficial bacteria that support gut health. An individual may not experience their effects instantly, so they should take them over a few weeks to evaluate their impact on gut health over a more prolonged period.
Keeping a record of particular foods in the diet and their physical consequences will may help an individual determine primary trigger foods. Changes in eating habits can help manage symptoms. No IBS diet works for every person. Consequently, treatment for irritable bowel syndrome may involve an individual undergoing a process of trial and error to find a reliable and relaxed diet.
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome needs to look at causes
It is uncertain what causes IBS, but experts believe that microbial factors may play a key role. Researchers have connected it to food poisoning. In fact, one in nine people who experience food poisoning develop IBS at a later date. It seems that the microbes involved in infectious gastroenteritis may have an impact on the immune system that leads to long term alterations in the gut.
Other factors that may be involved include:
- eating habits
- environmental variables, such as stress
- genetic factors
- digestive organs with a high sensitivity to pain
- an unusual reaction to infection
- a malfunction in the muscles that shift food through the body
- an inability of the central nervous system (CNS) to manage the digestive system
A person’s mental and psychological state can play a role in IBS development. Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a greater risk of developing IBS. Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome needs to consider these. My hypnotherapy sessions for IBS will look at emotional and psychological factors. A popular myth is that IBS is contagious and has links to cancer.
Hormonal shifts can make symptoms worse. For example, symptoms tend to be more intense in women around the time of menstruation. Infections such as gastroenteritis may trigger post-infectious IBS (PI-IBS).
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome – Is IBS curable?
There is no cure for IBS. Nevertheless, if a person with IBS eliminates triggers, makes nutritional changes, and adheres to their doctor’s advice, they can significantly lessen the probability of flares and discomfort. Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome aims to alleviate symptoms and boost quality of life. Treating IBS usually requires some nutritional and changes in lifestyle, as well as figuring out how to handle stress.
The following steps may help symptoms:
- steering clear of sugar alternatives in some chewing gums, diet foods, and sugar free candy, as they could cause diarrhoea
- eating more oat-based foods to reduce gas or bloating
- not skipping meals
- eating at the same time daily
- eating slowly
- restricting alcohol intake
- keeping away from carbonated, sugary beverages, such as soft drinks
- reducing intake of certain fruits and vegetables
- consuming at least 8 cups of water per day, for most people
- Keeping away from gluten can also decrease the risk of flares. Gluten free food items and alternatives are now widely available.
Anxiety and stress
The following may help lessen or alleviate symptoms:
- relaxation techniques, including workouts or meditation
- activities such as Tai Chi or yoga
- frequent physical exercise
- stress therapy, hypnotherapy or cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome using medications
The following medications may help IBS symptoms*:
Antispasmodic medications: These reduce abdominal cramping and pain by relaxing the muscles in the gut.
Bulk-forming laxatives: These can assist a person alleviate constipation. People should rely on them with extreme care.
Antimotility medications: These can decrease diarrhoea symptoms. Possibilities include loperamide, which slows down the contractions of the intestinal muscles.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): These usually help to decrease abdominal pain and cramping.
Medications specific to IBS treatment include:
alosetron (Lotronex) for severe diarrhoea-predominant IBS in females
lubiprostone (Amitiza) for constipation-predominant IBS in females
rifaximin, an antibiotic that can help reduce diarrhoea in people with IBS
These are usually considered the last line of treatment when other lifestyle or therapeutic interventions have been unsuccessful, and symptoms remain severe.
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome using psychological therapy
Many people may find psychological therapy useful in reducing IBS flares and the effect of symptoms: Approaches include;
Hypnotherapy: This can help change the way the unconscious mind reacts to physical symptoms. I use hypnotherapy to help people with IBS in London.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): This assists people develop strategies for responding differently to the condition through relaxation techniques and a positive attitude. My sessions will also include aspects of CBT.
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome – diagnosis
Until recently, there was no specific imaging or laboratory test to assist an IBS diagnosis. Nevertheless, specialists have now developed a blood test that can accurately disclose whether a person has IBS with diarrhoea (IBS-D) or irritable bowel disease (IBD).
During diagnosis, a doctor will seek to rule out conditions that generate symptoms similar to IBS. They will also adhere to a process to classify the symptoms.
There are three primary types of IBS:
IBS with constipation (IBS-C): A person experiences stomach pain, discomfort, bloating, infrequent or delayed bowel movements, or hard or lumpy stools.
IBS with diarrhoea (IBS-D): There is stomach pain, discomfort, an immediate desire go to the bathroom, very frequent bowel movements, or watery or loose stools.
IBS with alternating stool pattern (IBS-A): A person experiences both constipation and diarrhoea.
Many individuals experience different forms of IBS over time. The doctor can usually diagnose IBS by inquiring about symptoms, for example asking questions such as:
- Have there been any variations in bowel habits, such as diarrhoea or constipation?
- Is there any pain or discomfort in the abdomen?
- How often does a person feel bloated?
A blood test may help rule out other possible problems, including:
- lactose intolerance
- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- celiac disease
If specific signs or symptoms suggest a different problem, additional testing may be necessary. These include:
- localized swelling in the rectum and abdomen
- unexplained weight loss
- abdominal pain at night
- steadily worsening symptoms
- substantial amounts of blood in the stool
- family history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colorectal cancer, or celiac disease
- Individuals with a history of ovarian cancer may require additional testing as might people over the age of 60 years with altering bowel habits. This could suggest a chance of bowel cancer.
This article has used information from Medical News Today.
*This article is for information purposes only. Consult with a medical professional before taking medication or making alternations in diet or medication.