Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder
of the intestines marked by the following symptoms:
Gas and bloating
Diarrhea and loose stools
IBS may be caused by a combination of stress and a high-fat diet.
Fatty foods worsen symptoms by increasing the intensity of the contractions in the colon,
thereby worsening symptoms. Dairy, caffeine and chocolate in particular seem to have the most
negative effect on IBS sufferers.
IBS is not the same as colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, and spastic bowel.
Unlike colitis, IBS does not involve any inflammation and is actually called a
“functional disorder” because it presents no obvious, outward signs of disease.
Although all IBS sufferers have symptoms of abdominal pain and disordered defecation,
treatment needs to be individualized and should focus on the predominant symptom.
Americans spend $8 billion each year on medical costs related to IBS
Absenteeism resulting from IBS significantly affects the work force
Most people with IBS do not seek medical care.
40% percent of people develop symptoms between 35 and 50 years of age
IBS is recognized in children, many adults can trace symptoms to childhood
70% with IBS are women
Women who have had a hysterectomy for chronic pelvic pain are twice as likely to have IBS
Onset by elderly individuals is rare.
What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Many factors go into play here. Primarily food sems to be the biggest cause.
People with sensitive digestive systems tend to be challenged with IBS the most.
Poor diet can cause many of the problems.
As noted above - Dairy, caffeine, alcohol, fatty (especially fried) and chocolate in seem to have the most
negative effect on IBS sufferers.
Stress The colon has many nerves that connect it to the brain. These nerves control the normal
contractions of the colon and cause abdominal discomfort at stressful times. Individuals with IBS, stress
can stimulate colon spasms. Stress makes the mind more aware of the sensations that arise in the colon.
Medications Many medications are full of chemicals that our bodies do not recognize. Hence the gut
cannot process the chemistry and it can cause a disruption in the digestion system.
What Helps Minimize/Eliminate IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Track your food with a food diary. By tracking what is causing the problem, you may find a prompt and inexpensive way to minimze your problems.
This ia an easy way to "Test Yourself". Use my food diary chart -
or try an online option: FitDay.com Eliminate the foods that trigger symptoms for 6 weeks.
The most common food sensitivites come from these foods: grains, eggs, soy, dairy, and peanuts.
Then add them back to your diet one at a time and see how you respond.
Food Testing Get tested for IgG food allergies and eliminate the foods that test positive for 6 weeks.
My favorite testing option: EnteroLab.com
Probiotics Repopulate your digestive tract with good bacteria, known to help normalize gut function. Lactobacillus acidophilus,
found in yogurt with live cultures, is the best known.
Pre-biotic Foods Prebiotic foods stimulate the growth of healthy microflora that re-populate the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Some favorite and well known live cuture pre-biotic foods are: Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage). Kim-chee (an asian version of fermented cabbage).
Unsweetened yogurt or kefir also contain active bacterial cultures.
Adding these foods to your daily meals help your gut re-populate flora naturally.