Understanding IBS - Longevity and Supplements (Live healthy naturally)


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Sunday, March 19, 2023

Understanding IBS

Understanding IBS

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), IBS affects an estimated 10-15% of adults in the US.

Other statistics related to IBS include:

  • IBS is more common in women than in men.
  • Most people with IBS are diagnosed before the age of 50.
  • IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder, accounting for up to 40% of all referrals to gastroenterologists.
  • IBS is a leading cause of missed work and reduced productivity.

It's important to note that IBS can be difficult to diagnose and many people with the condition may not seek medical care for their symptoms. Additionally, there is a wide range of symptoms and severity of symptoms among individuals with IBS, so the impact of the condition on daily life can vary greatly.

What is IBS?

IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). People with IBS often experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both.

The exact cause of IBS is not known, but it is believed to involve a combination of factors, including abnormal muscle contractions in the colon, changes in gut bacteria, and increased sensitivity to certain foods or stress. There is no cure for IBS, but symptoms can often be managed through lifestyle changes, such as dietary modifications, stress reduction, and medication.

If you think you may have IBS, it is important to see a doctor to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms and to discuss appropriate treatment options.

Can IBS be cured? 

Currently, there is no cure for IBS. However, there are several treatment options that can help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life for people with IBS.

Treatment for IBS typically includes a combination of lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, medication, and stress management. Some lifestyle changes that may help include regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Dietary modifications may include avoiding certain trigger foods, such as fatty or spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, and increasing fiber intake.

There are several types of medications that may be used to treat IBS, including antispasmodics, laxatives, and antidepressants. Antidepressants can be particularly helpful for people with IBS who experience abdominal pain, as they can help reduce pain perception in the brain.

It's important to work with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized treatment plan for IBS that takes into account the specific symptoms and needs of the individual. With proper management, many people with IBS are able to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

What are natural supplements that can help with IBS?

There are several natural supplements that have been suggested to help with IBS symptoms, although more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness. It's always important to talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements, especially if you have any health conditions or take medications. Here are some natural supplements that may help with IBS:

  • Probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for gut health. Several studies have shown that certain strains of probiotics can help improve IBS symptoms, particularly bloating and gas. Some strains that have been shown to be helpful for IBS include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
  • Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil has antispasmodic properties that can help relieve abdominal pain and cramping associated with IBS. It may also help reduce bloating and gas. Peppermint oil can be taken in capsule form or added to hot water to make a tea.
  • Fiber supplements: Fiber supplements can help regulate bowel movements and reduce constipation or diarrhea. Psyllium husk and methylcellulose are two types of fiber supplements that have been shown to be effective for IBS.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium can help regulate muscle contractions in the digestive tract, which can improve IBS symptoms. Magnesium supplements are available in different forms, including magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile is an herb that has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, which can help relieve abdominal pain and cramping associated with IBS. Chamomile can be taken as a tea or in supplement form.

What are medical treatements for IBS?

There are several medical treatments that may be used to manage the symptoms of IBS, although it's important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and treatment may vary depending on the individual's symptoms and needs. Here are some examples of medical treatments for IBS:

  • Antispasmodic medications: These medications work by relaxing the muscles in the intestine, which can help reduce abdominal pain and cramping associated with IBS. Examples of antispasmodic medications include dicyclomine (Bentyl) and hyoscyamine (Levsin).
  • Laxatives: Laxatives may be used to treat constipation associated with IBS. Examples include osmotic laxatives like polyethylene glycol (Miralax) and lubiprostone (Amitiza), which can help increase fluid in the colon and soften stool, and stimulant laxatives like bisacodyl (Dulcolax) and senna (Senokot), which can help stimulate bowel movements.
  • Antidiarrheal medications: Antidiarrheal medications like loperamide (Imodium) may be used to help reduce diarrhea associated with IBS.
  • Prokinetics: Prokinetic medications like metoclopramide (Reglan) can help improve motility in the digestive tract, which can help reduce symptoms like nausea and bloating.
  • Low-dose tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): TCAs like amitriptyline may be used to help reduce abdominal pain associated with IBS, as they can help reduce pain perception in the brain.

What are foods to avoid for people suffering from IBS? 

There is no single diet that works for everyone with IBS, as triggers and symptoms can vary from person to person. However, some people with IBS find that certain foods can trigger symptoms, and it may be helpful to avoid or limit these foods. Here are some common foods that may be problematic for people with IBS:

  1. Fatty or fried foods: High-fat foods can be difficult to digest and may trigger symptoms like diarrhea or abdominal pain.
  2. Spicy foods: Spicy foods can be irritating to the digestive tract and may trigger symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, or bloating.
  3. Caffeine: Caffeine can stimulate the digestive tract and may trigger symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, or bloating.
  4. Alcohol: Alcohol can be irritating to the digestive tract and may trigger symptoms like diarrhea or abdominal pain.
  5. Dairy products: Some people with IBS may be lactose intolerant, which means they have difficulty digesting lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, or bloating.
  6. High FODMAP foods: FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) are types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can ferment in the large intestine, leading to symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Examples of high FODMAP foods include wheat, onion, garlic, beans, lentils, and certain fruits like apples and pears.

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