Overcoming Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Woman sitting in bed holding her stomach in pain.

Millions of people suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) each year, with the majority of patients being predominantly female. IBS develops when the colon muscle contracts more easily than in people who don’t have the condition, causing waves of constipation and diarrhea. This condition is painful, embarrassing and difficult to live with because it can occur anywhere at any time. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be triggered by certain foods, medications and infection, and it can last for very long periods of time. Find out how you can overcome Irritable Bowel Syndrome and what treatment options are available to you with this guide!


What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

There are a variety of different gastrointestinal disturbances that patients experience each year, but one of the most common (and painful) conditions is Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is also referred to as leaky gut, irritable colon and nervous stomach, and it’s characterized by waves of diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation and excessive gas. Currently, 45 million people are suffering from IBS, with 2 out of 3 sufferers being female. IBS is a chronic condition that typically is managed over a long period of time. One of the main causes behind Irritable Bowel Syndrome is when the colon muscle contracts easier than it should, creating contractions that last longer and are significantly stronger. This process leads to excessive gas buildup and diarrhea, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, it can cause slower food passage when the contractions are too weak. IBS can also develop after a severe infection, like gastroenteritis, due to the virus or bacteria that caused the infection in the first place. Some even have an abnormal nervous system that affects how the digestive system functions when there is gas or stool present. This can lead to pain, constipation and diarrhea when the signal between the brain and the intestines don’t coordinate as they should. Whatever the cause behind your IBS symptoms, there are also triggers that increase your sensitivity and should be avoided, if possible. As you continue to make changes in your diet and lifestyle, these triggers should dissipate and your symptoms disappear.


Triggers That Affect IBS Symptoms

Just like there are many types of gastrointestinal disturbances, there are also many triggers that affect your IBS symptoms. Some of the most prominent triggers include certain types of food and medications that treat blood pressure, reduce acid and prevent incontinence. However, food sensitivities, stress and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO) are also common triggers of IBS. While people tend to associate their IBS symptoms with the foods they eat, there isn’t conclusive evidence that certain foods cause IBS. But, in many cases, foods like wheat, dairy products, beans and citrus foods increase the volatility of symptoms like pain and cramping. Just like food, while stress can increase symptoms of IBS, it doesn’t cause it to occur. Feeling high levels of stress will definitely impact your body’s digestive system, but it won’t cause your body to develop IBS. Lastly, the hormones that your body produces can impact how severe your IBS symptoms are, particularly if you’re a female. IBS symptoms tend to be triggered in women during their menstrual periods but typically subside after a few days.


How To Help Your Body Feel BetterFruits, vegetables and meats sitting on a plate.

While the cause and triggers behind Irritable Bowel Syndrome are different for everyone, most would agree that the pain and discomfort that IBS causes them is enough to receive medical help over. One of the best ways to treat your IBS is by receiving a blood test called IBScheck. This test looks for CdtB, which is an antibody to a toxin found in gastroenteritis, and viculin, which is a protein often found in the gut lining. Both of these are biomarkers for diagnosing IBS in patients, and the test is recommended before treatment begins so that an accurate diagnosis can be made. From there, your doctor will make special recommendations for you to implement into your diet and overall lifestyle to decrease the severity of your symptoms. Many patients are encouraged to eat more fiber, try a gluten diet, increase physical activity, get more rest and reduce stress in their lives. Depending on whether you’re experiencing diarrhea or constipation, your doctor may recommend certain medications to ease your discomfort. Laxatives and fiber supplements are often prescribed to those suffering from constipation while specific antibiotics are given to those with excessive diarrhea. However, always consult with your doctor before taking medications for IBS, even if they’re available at your local pharmacy or recommended by friends.


Get Tested For IBS At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare!

At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare, Dr. Alessi and her staff take great care in treating their patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. We encourage patients to take the IBSchek test to diagnose their symptoms and begin a treatment plan. If you’re ready to overcome IBS and regulate your system again, call our office at (970) 631-8286 to schedule a consultation. Don’t let IBS control your life; call today to begin your journey towards a healthier, happier you!