Anyone who suffers from Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) knows how it can put limits on our lives and cause us to lose confidence in ourselves. You have trouble focusing in class or at work with the pain/discomfort. You avoid traveling, especially if you don’t have easy access to the bathroom. You may not be able to attend social events due to dehydration, fatigue and you feel as though anything you eat could trigger another bowel movement.
I’ve suffered IBS since around I was 14. According the NCBI IBS doesn’t cause permanent harm to the intestines, and wont lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. In my case, it was the worst two three years ago like sleeping 4 hours a night for nearly three years, barely no exercise, often sitting in front of the computer for 12 hours a day for school and work, having no breakfast, eating poor nutritional foods, lunch was always eating by the computer to get work done, taking a quick nap right after eating to catch up on some sleep, and no ‘resting’ or peaceful time.
IBS is a common functional disorder that involves abdominal pain, fullness, gas, and bloating and cramping, with either constipation or diarrhea or alternating constipation and diarrhea.Symptoms vary from person to person, but is diagnosed if the symptoms have been present for at least 6 months. There is no test to diagnose IBS, but make sure you talk to your doctor and do some tests to rule out other problems, such as an infection.
Since there are no ‘magic’ pill to cure IBS, treatments goals involve relieving the symptoms and knowing your own body. Things to help treat IBS are:
- regular exercise
- better sleep habits
- reduce your stress levels
- dietary changes that are appropriate for you such as avoiding drinks that stimulate the intestines (ie. cofee, tea, or soda)
- avoiding large or heavy meals
- avoid wheat, rye, barley, chocolate, milk products, and alcohol
- increase dietary fiber
After doing most of these I’ve found improvements and find that stress is a big factor in how my digestive system functions!
There are medicines that help relieve the symptoms of IBS, however they are temporary, and do not solve the actual problem. Taking medication for prolong periods may cause other problems. I was taking Imodium almost daily and could tell it was doing harm to my stomach as I developed sores in my mouth. It’s best to talk with your doctor about IBS and medications. You may be interested in seeking help from a Chinese Herbal Medicine specialist if you’re not wanting to take any ‘drugs’. I tried the herbal medicines plus moxibustion and it has worked in the past. Homeopathy and naturopathy is another option.
Remember to take plenty of fluids and reduce your stress levels!!!
References from Canadian Health & Lifestyle Magazine and