Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long-term issue that affects the large intestine. IBS is a very common condition of the digestive system. This unpleasant problem can cause abdominal cramping, constipation or/and diarrhea, and bloat. Though it can cause a great discomfort, IBS doesn’t harm the intestines.
IBS has a tendency to come and go in periods lasting several days to several months at a time, usually after consuming certain foods and during times of stress.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatments
In general, the symptom of IBS can be managed by understanding the nature of the problem and changing your lifestyle and diet. In some cases, psychological treatment and medications may also be truly helpful.
Here are the most effective treatments for irritable bowel syndrome:
- Friendly diet
Making changes in your diet is the really important part that will help you control the IBS symptoms. However, there is no any particular diet for people with this disorder. You can consult with a nutritionist who will prepare a dietary plan for you depending on your condition, symptoms and how you respond to different foods.
It is important to point out that these foods won’t necessarily need to be avoided for the rest of your life, but for a certain period of time.
People with this condition are usually advised to modify the quantity of fiber in their regimen. There are 2 basic types of fiber:
- Soluble fiber, which our body can digest, and
- Insoluble fiber, which our body can’t digest.
Foods with soluble fiber are:
- Oats (as cooked oatmeal, oat flakes, cooked oat bran)
- Golden linseeds
- Root vegetables, as sweet potatoes, potatoes, and carrots
- Fruits, as figs, apples, and bananas
Foods with insoluble fiber are:
- Whole grain bread
- Seeds (except the golden linseeds)
If you suffer from diarrhea, you should try to consume less food with insoluble fiber. Also, if you have constipation, you should increase the amount of water you consume and the amounts of soluble fiber in your diet.
If you experience frequent or persistent bloating, a specific diet known as “a low FODMAP diet” can be really effective.
- Main Eating Tips
You can reduce the IBS symptoms and improve your health condition by:
- Regular eating
- Not making long gaps between eating
- Drinking at least 8 cups of liquid per day (especially water and non-caffeinated beverages, as herbal teas)
- Restricting your coffee intake to a maximum of 3 cups per day
- Reducing the number of fizzy drinks and alcohol
- Reducing the intake of processed and re-cooked food
- Limiting the intake of fresh fruit to 3 portions per day (a proper portion is ½ a grapefruit or 1 apple)
- In case of diarrhea, you need to avoid white sugar, chewing gums and sugary drinks (and every other food that contains an artificial sweetener called sorbitol)
- If you have bloating and wind, consuming oats for breakfast (as porridge and oat-based breakfast cereal) and linseeds (about 1 tablespoon per day)
Your Health Tubers suggest exercise (as jogging, cycling, walking, or aerobic) as one of the most effective treatments for irritable bowel syndrome. Your personal doctor will give you an advice which type of exercise is suitable for you.
Try to do a minimum of 145 minutes of some exercise activities, as fast walking, cycling or jogging, every week. You should choose an exercise that will be strenuous enough for you to increase the breathing rates and the heart.
- Reducing Stress
Reducing your levels of stress can also reduce the severity and frequency of the symptoms of IBS. Here are some ways that will help you reduce stress:
- Physical activities, as pilates, tai chi, or yoga;
- Relaxation methods, as breathing exercises or meditation, and
- Regular exercise, as running, swimming, or walking.
If you feel extremely stressed, you can try talking to some therapist. That will truly improve your health condition.
Probiotics can help improve your digestive health. They contain a “friendly bacteria”, which can restore the natural balance of the gut bacteria when it has been disturbed.
Taking probiotics regularly will help you release the IBS symptoms. If you want to include a probiotic product in your diet, you should take it for at least 3-4 weeks to see if your condition improves.
Various medications can be used to aid treat irritable bowel syndrome, including:
- Antispasmodics that help reduce cramping and stomach pain
- Antimotility medicines that help relieve diarrhea
- Laxatives that can help relieve constipation
- Low-dose antidepressants that will help you treat depression
Your doctor will prescribe the right medication that is good for your condition.
- Psychological treatments
If you still have the IBS symptoms after one year of treatments, your GP might refer you for psychological intervention.
There are a few types of this therapy. However, they all include teaching you techniques to aid you to control your disease better. Here are some of the most common psychological treatments for IBS:
- Psychotherapy (involves talking to a therapist)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, or simply CBT (involves examining your thoughts, feelings and beliefs in order to cope connect them with your situation and help you)
- Hypnotherapy (involves changing the unconscious attitude of your mind towards your condition)
- Complementary therapies
Many people often turn to therapies such as reflexology and acupuncture. Nevertheless, these are no firm medical evidence to suggest their effectiveness.
There is no cure for irritable bowel syndrome, but the condition can often be treated by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. You should identify and avoid some foods and drinks that trigger your symptoms, alter the amounts of fiber in the diet, exercise regularly, and reduce the stress levels.
In some cases, medications are prescribed for people with IBS to treat their individual symptoms.
With appropriate psychological and medical treatment, you will be able to live a normal and active life with irritable bowel syndrome.
IBS doesn’t pose a serious threat to the physical health and doesn’t increase the chances of developing cancer or some other bowel-related condition.
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