How To Manage & Help IBS Symptoms
Bowel movements vary from person to person. If you pass stool that is not hard, contains no blood, and is passed without pain or cramps, then you are good. People with IBS however may experience painful constipation or diarrhea, gas & cramps. Even though there is no cure for IBS, you can manage symptoms & improve your quality of life. Read more below on how to manage & help IBS symptoms today.
What is IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a common disorder of the intestines that leads to abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. Researchers have found that the colon muscle of a person with IBS seems to be more sensitive which is why certain foods and drinks can cause a quick reaction.
Even though the cause of IBS is still not known, here are some factors that have been recognized:
- The contractions or movement of the muscles in the intestine can either be fast or slow, hence why some people may suffer from both diarrhea and constipation.
- Your nervous system may not be coordinating with the signals in your brain that well, which can result in discomfort.
- There are good and bad bacteria that live in the intestines. When there is more bad than good bacteria, it can cause abdominal discomfort.
- Inflammation can also be recognized if you eat foods or liquids that don’t work well for you. Think of individuals who suffer from gluten or lactose allergy.
How To Help IBS Symptoms
Certain food & drink products such as chocolate, milk products, alcohol, and caffeine can affect a person with IBS more frequently. Keeping a food log can help you identify what may be causing common flare-ups. Here are some questions to consider if you think you have IBS.
- What did you eat/drink today?
- How many calories were in the meal?
- How much fat & what kind? Meat, vegetable, oil, butter, cheese, or milk?
- How many grams of fiber did you consume?
According to Arizona Digestive Health, “Fat seems to be a major offender in exacerbating IBS, because in any form it is a strong stimulus of colonic contractions.” Between 30-60 minutes after eating a meal, a person can have a bowel movement. However, certain foods such as fats can cause a person with IBS to have a quicker bowel movement.
Consuming more fibrous foods (found in whole grains, fruits & vegetables) can help to keep you regulated & keep the stool soft which can help relieve pain from constipation. Increasing your fiber has never been easier, however. Check out Clear2Go® or Liquid Fiber Flow® Fiber Supplements that you can easily incorporate into your favorite foods or beverages to get 15 grams of fiber. Both fiber supplements contain prebiotics which can help to add healthy bacteria into the digestive tract & help to strengthen the immune system.
Emotional Stress Concerns
According to Health Harvard, “stress not only can trigger symptoms but often make them worse and longer-lasting.” Exercises such as yoga and meditation can help to relieve stress, tension, and anxiety related to IBS. Another practice you can try is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that can help to show you how to change your reactions to stressful situations.