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Living With IBS

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Living With IBS & Treatment Options

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition with severe symptoms and affects mainly but not exclusively women. The cause of this condition is unknown but the symptoms can include constipation, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea. Until recently, the symptoms were thought to be psychosomatic; this has been debunked.

It is a real problem, which affects millions of people in the UK. Some patients can suffer for decades from this condition without getting any real relief. In some cases, it has even led to an addiction to pain medication as sufferers try to cope.

However, medication is not the answer. The reason why most treatments fail is that they fail to address the underlying cause and iBS symptoms. Modern researchers have been able to identify some of the underlying causes of the condition.
Today, many people are now getting the right IBS treatment that allows them to lead normal, healthy lives. Most treatments entail the use of functional medicine, which identifies and removes the underlying cause of the condition. The result is that normal digestive function is restored.
While for some the symptoms will never go away completely, managing IBS is still possible. Treating IBS varies from person to person and it is important to seek professional help. A good example of this is Tracey Randell, who runs IBS Clinics.
The team uses various methods that have been shown to be effective in treating IBS. All their methods are based on tried and tested methods recommended by various professional bodies. One such professional body is the American College of Gastroenterology.

Types of IBS

To get proper irritable bowle syndrome treatment, it can be divided into three types. This designation is based on the symptoms that you have:

• Diarrhoea-predominant
• Constipation-predominant
• A mix of both

The doctor will also check for other IBS symptoms that might indicate you have a more serious issue. These symptoms can include:

• Sudden weight loss
• Bleeding
• Nausea and recurrent vomiting
• Fever
• Abdominal pain that is not relieved by bowel movements
• Persistent diarrhoea that affects your sleep pattern
• Anaemia due to low iron

If you have these symptoms and current irritable bowel treatment methods do not appear to work, you will likely have to undergo more tests. You might undergo imaging tests and some laboratory tests.

Determining if You Have IBS

Before you begin any IBS treatment, it is recommended that you be diagnosed first. The US Department of Health and Human Services has an insightful guide on the diagnosis process. Self-diagnosis is not recommended since you might be dealing with other issues that have similar symptoms to IBS.
The diagnosis includes an analysis of your medical history. For instance, if you have diarrhoea, you will be tested for intolerance to gluten.
Once other conditions are ruled out, the doctor will use this criterion to determine the type of IBS you have:

Rome Criteria

This is when you experience abdominal discomfort, which can even lead to pain that lasts one day, a week, or for about three months. This pain may occur when your frequency of defecation changes or the consistency of stool changes.

Manning Criteria

The area of focus will be on the pain that is relieved once you pass stool and when you experience incomplete bowel movement, there is mucus and changes in the consistency of the stool. The more of these symptoms you have, the more likely it is you have IBS.

The Imaging Tests Include:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy

The doctor examines the lower colon using a flexible, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope.

  • Colonoscopy

The doctor uses a small and flexible tube to examine the colon.

  • X-ray or CT scan

These scans will produce images of the pelvis and abdomen, which allow the doctor to rule out other causes of the pain. The colon might be filled with barium, which makes any other issues visible.

Laboratory Tests Will Include:

  • Lactose intolerance test

Lactase is an enzyme used to digest the sugar found in dairy. If your stomach does not produce lactase, you might not be able to digest dairy, which produces symptoms similar to IBS. You might be asked to get rid of dairy from your diet for a few weeks to see if the problem goes away.

  • Breath test for bacterial examination

This test can determine if you have too much bacteria in your small intestine. This condition is common in people that have undergone bowel surgery or those with diabetes or other conditions, which slows down digestion.

This is one of the tests, which Tracey Randell uses to test for bacterial overgrowth. With this knowledge, she can decide which is the best treatment option for you. She details it in this video interview on YouTube.

  • Upper endoscopy

A flexible tube is inserted down the throat into your oesophagus. It allows the doctor to examine it and take samples of the small intestine to look for bacterial overgrowth.

  • Stool test

Your stool is checked for parasites or excessive bile production when you experience chronic diarrhoea.

While medical intervention is important in irritable bowel syndrome treatment, certain diets can help you manage the symptoms. Here are some of the great options you have to manage your IBS.

  • Manage Your IBS by Increasing Your Fibre Intake

We at IBS Clinics often recommend a high-fibre diet depending on your symptoms. It is recommended that you eat at least 30 grams of fibre daily. Despite this recommendation, most people only eat about 14 grams of fibre daily.

Some of the sources of fibre include fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. These provide you with essential minerals while at the same time helping you deal with constipation. However, if fibre intake causes bloating, focus on soluble fibre that you find in vegetables and fruits instead of whole grain.

  • Tone Down on the Fibre to Deal with IBS

While fibre can help some people deal with IBS, we have also found that it can make the condition worse in others. Before you eliminate the fibre from your diet, focus on soluble fibre found in apples, berries, oatmeal, and carrots.
If you have a problem with fibre, you can also take some anti-diarrhoea medication about half an hour before you take fibre. It is especially when you have to eat food on the go such as at restaurants or a party.

  • Keeping Gluten at Bay to Handle your IBS

Gluten is a protein in grain such as wheat. This protein can damage the intestines if you are intolerant to gluten. In such a case, the only option is to eliminate gluten from your diet. If you have a gluten allergy, you will have to avoid any product made of rye, barley, and wheat. However, there are gluten-free alternatives if you love pasta and bread.

  • Treating IBS By Elimination

An elimination diet, as explained in this Healthline guide, will entail avoiding certain foods that you eat often for a given period. This time will be used to tell if the symptoms of IBS disappear. Some of the components you target with this diet are chocolate, insoluble fibre, coffee, and nuts.

However, if you suspect any other food is causing your IBS, you will eliminate it too. The length of elimination should be 12 weeks or longer. You should then carefully note any changes to your symptoms during this time.

  • Get Rid of High-Fat Foods to Improve Your IBS

If you are a chronic consumer of high-fat foods, it might be the cause of your IBS. It can also make the symptoms of IBS worse. High-fat foods are usually low in fibre, which can worsen constipation. Cleveland Clinic has a detailed explanation of how fatty foods affect people with IBS.
Besides that, a low-fat diet has great benefits for your heart and general health. Instead of eating fried foods and foods reach in animal fats, switch to lean meat, grain, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products.

  • Use a Low FODMAP Diet to Deal With IBS Symptoms

FODMAPS are carbohydrates that the gut has a hard time digesting. Since carbs draw out more water into your gut, people with IBS can get bloated and diarrhoea when they eat FODMAPS. The word is an acronym that describes fermented monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polyols.

Consider eliminating these fermented foods for about eight weeks to see if there is any improvement to your diet. The foods you should focus on are dairy, certain fruits like pears, mangoes, peaches, plums, apples and nectarines, legumes, corn syrup, wheat-based products, pistachios, and cashews.

It is important to note that not all carbohydrates are FODMAPS. For the best outcome, you have to remove the right kinds of foods.

While this diet will entail getting rid of some fruits, nuts, vegetables, and dairy, it does not eliminate all of them. We at IBS Clinics will help you determine the right kinds of food to avoid. For instance, you can choose to drink soy or rice milk as an alternative.

Picking Your Best Diet is a Personal Issue

Certain foods can help with IBS but it is different for everyone. That is why speaking to a nutritionist is so important. He or she will study how certain foods affect your gut and make the necessary adjustments. It is also a good idea to exercise, drink enough water, and reduce lifestyle excesses.

Other Methods to Deal with IBS Symptoms

Besides your diet, there are many other ways to deal with IBS. Some of these are:

  • Check Your Stress levels

By practising certain relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation, it can help to ease your symptoms. This is especially so if you often experience pain or discomfort in your gut. Always seek the services of a trained expert for this.

Another relaxation method is a massage, which helps to relax your body. Regular visits to the day spa can be good for you. Besides that, working out should be part of your regular routine. It has been shown that those who exercise often have fewer symptoms.

Dealing with IBS on your own can be challenging. However, you do not have to. When you seek the services of experts like IBS Clinics, you get professional and sound advice on how to cope. IBS is something that is manageable and does not have to affect your daily routine.

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