What Is Irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a group of symptoms characterized by abdominal discomfort along with troubled bowel habits. It is not the as inflammatory bowel disease but a more serious condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract and can result in severe complications. It is a chronic condition and seeks a long-term management. Unlike Inflammatory Bowel Disease, this does not cause changes in bowel tissue. It is classified based on the predominance of diarrhea or constipation or both such as:
- IBS-D: Diarrhoea-Predominant.
- IBS-C: Constipation- Predominant.
- IBS-A: Alternating stool pattern (also IBS-M).
- IBS-U: For those who don’t fit under any of the above categories.
What Are The Symptoms Of Irritable bowel syndrome?
The common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are listed as:
- Diarrhea: - People affected with symptoms such as diarrhea are prone to get irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. It is characterized by a sudden disturbance in the bowel movement, accompanied with loose stools and frequent stools. Control over bowel is lost in extreme IBS-D cases.
- Constipation: - People who usually suffer from constipation are considered to have irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (known as IBS-C); it is characterized by the passing of lumpy, hard and infrequent stools.
- Bloating or presence of a lot of gas.
- Abnormal stool consistency.
- Sticking out belly.
- Feeling of an early fullness of abdomen.
- Incomplete emptying of the bowel is experienced most of the times.
- Feeling of urgency to rush to a restroom.
- Fatigue, Pain in muscles.
- Pain in lower back, Headache.
- Weight loss, Rectal bleeding.
- Disturbed and improper sleep.
- Sexual de-functioning.
- Heart burn.
- An appearance of white or clear mucus in the stools.
- Abdominal Pain that grows with time and mostly occurs at night.
What Are The Causes Of Irritable bowel syndrome?
The following are cited as the possible causes for irritable bowel syndrome:
- Abnormal movements of the digestive tract.
- Certain foods: People with irritable bowel syndrome experience worsening of the symptoms due to food sensitivity or allergy from certain foods like spices, fruits, fats, beans, milk, cauliflower, chocolates, broccoli, carbonated and alcoholic drinks, etc.
- Stress: People dealing with stress face more severe or aggravated symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Hormones: Women are more prone to Irritable bowel syndrome. During menstrual cycle symptoms of IBS get worsened.
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
- Overuse of antibiotics.
- Bowel muscle spasm.
- Deficient enzyme where the pancreas doesn’t release required enzymes, and it results in a breakdown of food or improper digestion.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Irritable bowel syndrome?
The most effective tips for patients with irritable bowel syndrome are:
- As meals can trigger symptoms, it is recommended to take 5-6 smaller meals instead of 3 large meals.
- Follow regular workout regime to maintain a normal bowel movement.
- Aim to consume at least 6 to 8 glasses of water daily as it will keep things moving in your body and helps you cope with constipation. Also, intake plenty of fluids to reduce constipation.
- Stress is one of the major causes of irritable bowel syndrome hence; consultation is must with a psychiatrist as they can help one to overcome stress by examining how the patient reacts to day to day events that occur in his/her life.
- Do yoga: Yoga and deep breathing help to beat stress and one should breathe from diaphragm rather than chest as it helps in relaxing abdominal muscles. Subsequently, it leads to regular bowel activity.
- Try Biofeedback Therapy as this therapy slows down one’s heart rate and helps in overcoming muscle tension further helping in the improvement of bowel movement.
- One can involve in leisure activities like listening to music, the sport of one’s choice, reading, shopping, etc. as this can help in distressing.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Irritable bowel syndrome?
The following are the things to avoid in the management of irritable bowel syndrome:
- Avoid rush while eating as it can trigger stress.
- Don’t skip breakfast as it is important to stimulate the colon.
- Since anxiety and stress can worsen the situation in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, one should avoid taking any stress.
- Do not drink water while eating the food. Always consume water an hour after or before taking the meals.
- Do not take medication that worsens IBS symptoms. Few such medications are certain antidepressants, antibiotic and medicines containing sorbitol, such as cough syrups.
What Are The Best Foods For Irritable bowel syndrome?
Here are a few best foods recommended for irritable bowel syndrome:
- Lactose-Free Milk: Lactose-free cow’s milk or almond milk is an ideal food for patients suffering from the Irritable Down syndrome.
- Low FODMAP vegetables and fruits: These help in easy digestion of the ingested food. These mainly include spinach, pepper, radish, pumpkin, tomato, turnip, carrots and others.
- Soluble Fibre: Soluble fiber forms a gel in the gut and moves easily through the gut in contrast with insoluble fibers. Few soluble fibers containing foods are seeds, barley, nuts, peas, oat bran, lentils, and some vegetables and fruits.
- Tea: Peppermint tea, Ginger tea and Chamolie tea help in relieving the symptoms of digestive distress.
- Whole Food: Whole foods like quinoa, millet, squash, rice, and oats are digested easily.
What Are The Worst Foods For Irritable bowel syndrome?
These are the important foods to combat Irritable bowel syndrome:
- Soda and fizzy drinks: This increase acid-reflux in the stomach and can trigger the symptoms.
- Sulfurous Vegetables: Sulphurous vegetables like onions, garlic, Brussels, cauliflower can produce gas and cause flatulence, distension and bloating.
- Wheat: It contains compounds like gluten and fructans which may be poorly digested in the patients with Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Spicy food: These are found to be triggering factors in the syndrome and can worsen the symptoms.
- Coffee: Caffeine present in coffee is said to stimulate the increase in the movement of intestinal muscles.
- Gas-producing foods: These include beans, cabbage, broccoli, peas, etc which worsen the bloating in the belly.
- Lactose: Reduce the amount of lactose as it increases the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Some lactose containing foods are milkshakes, ice creams, butter, milk, cream sauces, whipping cream, custards, and puddings.
- Artificial sweeteners: These interfere in the normal process of digestion and can severe the symptoms. Few foods containing artificial sweeteners are soft drinks labeled as diet, sugar-free biscuits, sugar-free ice creams, etc.
- Sweet fruits and vegetables: The sugar found in these contains fructose, which may not be digested well. Some such fruits are grapes, bananas, and berries.
What Are The Medicines For Irritable bowel syndrome?
What Are The Tips To Manage Irritable bowel syndrome?
- Make time to eat amid any busy schedule and follow a proper routine.
- Practice meditation to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Have enough sleep to avoid stress.