One out of five Americans
suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Women do have a higher incidence
of IBS. Fortunately, IBS is not directly connected to severe problems with
Doctors are not sure what causes this condition.
The most prevalent opinions include sensitivity to certain foods,
reactions to stress, immune system differences, or a person's colon and bowel not working normally in general.
There are different symptoms for each IBS sufferer too. Common symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating and pain. Some people with IBS will have chronic diarrhea though, while others will have chronic constipation instead. Still others will bounce back and forth between those two states.
These symptoms have been labeled with other names over the years, the most common being a spastic colon. The symptoms often increase when eating certain foods, eating big meals, or experiencing heavy amounts of stress or depression. Since nerve endings connect the colon to every part of the body, almost anything can cause problems similar to IBS. Because of this, a variety of treatments are often tried.
Depending on the person, their doctor, and the severity of their IBS symptoms, strong prescription medications may be used to help relieve the constipation or diarrhea. We don't agree with this approach however, and feel the more natural means should be tried first. Many doctors however, will suggest these alternative approaches before suggesting medications.
The first approach to managing IBS is changes in your diet. If your IBS is caused due to intolerance or allergies of certain foods for instance, removing those from your diet can create drastic improvements. Often people have a lactose or gluton intolerance without knowing it.
Some people are also more sensitive to foods which contain heavy amounts of grease, or they're IBS problems flare up more after greasy meals. Another common trigger for IBS symptoms is eating large and heavy meals. Simply by cutting down the amount you eat in one sitting, and eating fewer but smaller meals each day, can help relieve IBS symptoms.
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can help with IBS, particularly when constipation is a chronic problem. Many people try taking extra fiber supplements, but these can actually cause the gas and bloating problems to become worse.
Eating fruits and vegetables which regulate the stools can be quite beneficial however. Bananas for instance, will help relieve both diarrhea and constipation.
Other natural treatments recommended for managing IBS are stress management, exercise, and hypnosis.
Note: Some statements in this
article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational
purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.