In a time where there is so much written everywhere about what is healthy, what you should or shouldn’t eat, how, when or what you should do for exercise and blah, blah, blah. It’s in our faces everywhere.
But there are a lot of us who suffer silently with abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation or both. Who wants to talk about THAT stuff? Not me! But I have to. I’ve dealt with this every day just thinking it was what I ate or didn’t eat. Or if it had dairy or gluten or something else my body no longer could process.
I just thought it was “normal” until I came across an article describing the above and calling it IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’ll say my bowel is irritable and downright cranky. And as I read I found out IBS is a chronic condition that needs to be managed long term.
Here is what else I learned. Only a small number of people have severe IBS signs and symptoms. Most can control IBS with diet, lifestyle and reducing stress. Those with more severe symptoms can be treated with medication and counseling.
One good bit of news, IBS does not affect or change bowel tissue or increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
The most common signs and symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Excess gas
- Diarrhea or constipation (sometimes alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation
- Mucus in the stool
What is truly confusing and can throw you off is, there are times when these signs and symptoms are worse and times when they get better or completely disappear. I think this is why IBS is so hard to diagnose. At least for me, it was.
WHEN DO YOU SEE A DOCTOR?
So, when should you go see a professional? When you experience a persistent change in your bowel habits or OTHER signs of IBS. These may indicate a more serious condition, such as colon cancer. These “other” more serious signs and symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Diarrhea at night
- Rectal bleeding
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Unexplained vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent pain that isn't relieved by passing gas or a bowel movement
WHAT CAUSES IBS?
The actual cause of IBS is unknown. But there are several factors that appear to play a role in the conditions for IBS to occur:
- Muscle contractions in the intestine. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract as food is moved through your digestive tract. When contractions are stronger and last longer than normal, this can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea. Weak intestinal contractions can slow food passage and lead to hard, dry bowel movements.
- Nervous system. If you have abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system, you may experience discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or stool. When your brain and intestines don’t communicate properly, your body can overreact to changes that normally occur in the digestive process, resulting in pain, diarrhea or constipation.
- Inflammation in the intestines. Some with IBS have an increased number of immune-system cells in their intestines. This immune-system response is associated with pain and diarrhea.
- Severe infection. IBS can develop after a severe bout of diarrhea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus. IBS might also be associated with a surplus of bacteria in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth).
- Changes in bacteria in the gut (microflora). Microflora is the "good" bacteria that reside in the intestines and play a key role in good health. A number of research studies indicate microflora in people with IBS may be different from microflora in healthy people.
Did you know IBS symptoms can be triggered by certain things? Yes! IBS can be triggered by:
- Food. Food allergies or intolerances and their relationship to IBS isn't fully understood. A true food allergy rarely causes IBS. But many people have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink certain foods or beverages, including wheat (gluten), dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk, and carbonated drinks.
- Stress. Well, this isn’t shocking since stress can cause a lot of different issues. Most people with IBS experience worse or more frequent signs and symptoms during periods of increased stress. But stress is just an aggravator, stress doesn’t cause the symptoms.
- Hormones. Since women are more likely to have IBS, hormonal changes may play a role. A lot of women complain about the signs and symptoms of IBS are worse during or around menstrual periods.
IBS RISK FACTORS
A lot of people have occasional signs and symptoms of IBS. But here is what makes you more likely to have IBS:
- Are young. IBS occurs more frequently in people under age 50.
- Are female. IBS is more common among women in the U.S. (I wonder if this has more to do with diet since other countries don’t seem to have this issue?) Estrogen therapy before or after menopause also is a risk factor for IBS.
- Have a family history of IBS. Genes may play a role.
- Have a mental health problem. Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are associated with IBS. A history of sexual, physical or emotional abuse also might be a risk factor.
PREVENTION AND REMEDIES
Luckily there are several things you can do to help eliminate or ease the symptoms IBS. Here are a few things I found to try:
- Active lifestyle. Those who are active reported less severe symptoms. The results from research suggest physical activity may produce symptom improvements, especially in women.
- Eating smaller meals. When you eat, it stimulates the digestive tract, which can over-respond because of IBS. Try eating smaller meals, more often, spread out during your day. Instead of 3 meals, try 5 or 6 regularly scheduled small meals. Avoid meals that over-stimulate your gut, like large meals or high-fat foods.
- Low FODMAP dieting. The Low FODMAP DietTM limits foods that have been shown to aggravate the gut and cause IBS symptoms. These foods are high in a group of sugars called FODMAPs.
- Taking garlic supplement with 100% Standardized Pure Allicin. Garlic is used as a natural antibiotic. One supplement, in particular, Allimed, is the only kind that contains stabilized allicin which has been proven effective in SIBO and IBS treatment as well as various other infections and ailments.
- Peppermint oil supplements. Peppermint helps relieve abdominal pain, spasms, and urgency from IBS. Menthol and methyl salicylate, the main active ingredients of peppermint, have calming effects on the stomach and intestinal tract.
- Consuming probiotics. Many people take probiotics hoping that balancing out their gut bacteria will improve their symptoms. Some studies suggest that probiotic supplements, especially those with a predominance of Bifidobacterium infantis, alleviate IBS symptoms.
- Drinking calming teas. Drinking peppermint tea soothes the intestines, relieves abdominal pain, and reduces bloating.
- Reduce Stress. Try relaxation techniques such as:
Counseling. A counselor can help you learn to modify or change your responses to stress. Studies have shown that counseling can provide a significant and long-lasting reduction of symptoms.
Progressive relaxation exercises. Use these types of exercises to help you relax muscles in your body, one by one. Start by tightening the muscles in your feet, then concentrate on slowly
letting go of all the tension. Next, tighten and relax your calves. Continue until all the muscles in your body, including those in your eyes and scalp, are relaxed.
Mindfulness training. Learn to stay in the very moment you are in and letting go of worries and distractions.
IBS can be awful. What I learned is taking care of myself and listening to my body can alleviate and make IBS a thing of the past. But you have to truly pay attention to what you eat, how you react to stress, staying active and loving the only body you have. You do that, and it will love you back in return.
ADDED NOTES FROM ALLIMAX.US and owner Bobbi Walton:
Allimed is 450 mg of pure 100% Allicin
Using Allimed Liquid? 8 drops to the corresponding capsule are the same as 1 pill.
If using for IBS or SIBO, please start slow, 1 pill to begin with and work up so you don’t experience any Herx. In the liquid form, 8 drops are the same as 1 capsule.
Get to 3-6 pills per day for 2-3 months is a good plan. You can take with or without food. We suggest spreading throughout the day when taking multiple. Sometimes doctors do not say this and people get pretty sick pretty fast. Or go by your doctor’s suggestion but just start slow.
Many people take the Allimed daily for maintenance for overall health and protection of the immune system. I have been doing this myself as long as I have been selling it for over 10 years. You can take it with or without food. If you plan to take multiple per day, please, I recommend separating them.
We have studies on MRSA, Lyme disease, Cold/Flu, Hay fever, Strep B in the vaginal canal, etc…. Please let me know if you have ANY questions.