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An upset stomach is normal from time to time, but persistent stomach problems can indicate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional bowel disorder that involves pain in the abdomen, discomfort and altered bowel habit (diarrhoea or constipation) or both. It is a condition that affects the digestive system.
You can develop IBS at any age, but you usually have your first symptoms between the age of 20-30. Women are twice as likely as men to report having symptoms of IBS and it is unusual to get them for the first time after the age of 50.
What leads to IBS?
Reasons, why some people develop the disease while others don’t, is still not understood. But it’s thought that IBS may be caused by a combination of several factors like genes, past medical history (any sort of infection, etc). Others include cramping, pain in the muscles, or any bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract. Motility and bowel movements are too common.
What are some of the common IBS symptoms?
The symptoms could range from being mild to severe, affecting work and daily life. Although treatment methods available for IBS are yet unknown, changes in lifestyle and other alternatives can help.
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen. You may feel this low down or in the middle of your tummy.
- Changes in bowel habits, like feeling the need to go more or less often than usual. You could go fewer than three times within a week or more than three times a day. The consistency and appearance of your poop may vary, ranging from hard and lumpy to loose and watery. Your symptoms may switch between constipation and diarrhoea- IBS may feature one or the other, or a combination of two.
- Your abdomen may look and feel bloated. This can get worse during the day, and maybe eased by breaking wind.
The symptoms of IBS differ from one individual to the other. And so does the treatment plans. Therefore, it is important to keep a close eye on dietary and lifestyle changes to keep the situation under control.
Dietary approaches to IBS:
The condition usually requires a long-term diet management along with the treatment suggested by your doctor. There are various approaches to manage symptoms experienced with IBS such as diet and lifestyle changes.
High-fiber: Fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are not only nutritious but also aids in movement.
However, people suffering from gas and diarrhoea should concentrate more on soluble fiber like berries, carrot, and oatmeal.
Gluten-free diet: Gluten is present in bread and pasta. And if consumed in large amount, it leads to a damaged intestine in people who are gluten-resistant. So, it is important to follow a gluten-free diet.
Low-fat diet: High fat intake contributes to a lot of diseases in the long run. However, it could be worse for those with IBS. A low-fat diet may improve bowel symptoms.
In addition to the ones mentioned above, it is advisable to drink lot of water with daily exercises to minimize the effects of IBS.
Let’s face it. IBS is not just as SIMPLE as having an unhappy gut. It’s not all in our heads either. For some of us, IBS came out of nowhere and turned our lives upside down. Whereas for many others, we’ve been having gut issues since we were a child. The concept of having a satisfying bowel movement is foreign and not a day will go by without feeling bloated and yuck.
Not only does IBS manifest as irritating and painful gut symptom but also it affects an individual’s confidence , body appearance and mental health. Friends, you have 2 choices:
You can either continue putting up with gut issues or jump in the driver seat and start taking control of your gut. If you are ready to turn things around, I urge you to keep a check on your lifestyle and eating habits. Remember, IBS is unforgiving. It doesn’t allow room for mistakes, even on a special occasion. If you make a mistake, it will haunt you. So, be careful.
Has your life changed since having IBS? Share with me below.