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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

[12 Jun 2010 | No Comments | 2 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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Are you having problems with your digestion? If it involves the lower half of the digestive tract it could be irritable bowel syndrome. Here are some facts to help you decide.

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a condition involving the intestines. There are no clear-cut causes of the condition but it can lead to very painful situations for those affected.

In the intestinal tract, different triggers cause bowels to move differently than they did before. There are usually no visible signs such as inflammation, polyps or tumors that signal that irritable bowel is going on. Those who suffer from IBS often experience abdominal cramping, diarrhea, pain in the abdomen and constipation.

Those who have this condition also deal with bloating and gas. The symptoms may swing from diarrhea to constipation at different times. Doctors can help diagnose it from your description of your symptoms and a physical exam.

Who is at risk for irritable bowel syndrome? Those who have a family history won’t necessarily develop the condition but the odds are not in their favor. It usually occurs in women more than men and young people more so than older adults.

People with certain mental disorders (like depression and psychological trauma) are at risk. Also, those who have experienced abuse in their past, have a greater risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome than others. Fibromyalgia is also a risk factor because it affects the muscles throughout the body.

Once you develop irritable bowel syndrome, you will always have it. Managing the pain involves knowing your triggers and treating the symptoms. Your doctor may perform an endoscopic procedure to look at your intestine and see if something else is going on there that could be causing similar symptoms.

How can you treat the symptoms of IBS? First examine your lifestyle. While there is no direct correlation between food and irritable bowel syndrome, people often experience attacks after they eat. Learning food triggers is one step.

Stress can cause all types of reactions in the body. When it is unmanaged, it can cause gastrointestinal problems. Learning to handle situations in your life that are leading to stress, can reduce its part in the problem.

Exercise helps to bring the body back into optimal health. When the body is receiving proper nutrition and maintains a healthy weight, it is easier for the immune system to fight against illness. Regular physical activity may alleviate some of the symptoms of IBS.

Do you have gastrointestinal problems? See your doctor because you may be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. While it affects the colon, your symptoms can be controlled through lifestyle changes and medication.

Your doctor may also prescribe medication if diet and exercise don’t make any significant change.

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